Location: The crag is situated on the Marlbank Scenic Loop, south-east of Blacklion/Belcoo.
Approach: The loop is signposted from the Blacklion-Florencecourt road, and approximately half way around the loop (6.5 km) there is a small layby at the top of the crag. (Grid Ref. 119336, Sheet 26, Lough Allen) Reach the foot of the crag by descending a small path on the right of the layby, looking south.. Climbs finish on the road. The cliff is at the end of the blank valley at the bottom of this path, with a stream, the Owenbream River, sinking at the base.
Follow the sign posts for Marble Arch Caves, continue past the entrance of the Marble Arch Caves and take the next left into a carpark 300m along the road which is sign posted Cuilcagh Mountian Park. The cliff is just 50m to the right hand-side side of the carpark as you come in.
Description: Monastir is a limestone cliff giving excellent steep climbing. It dries quickly and is very sheltered - so much so that carnivorous midges are often a problem in summer. The crag is split into two walls of rock, the stream sinking at the foot of the right wall.
1. REVIVAL 15m E2 5c J.Walsh, R.Hassard June 1993 Start about 2 metres in from the left edge of the crag. Climb clean rock on the left edge of the wall through a niche and then a thin finger crack to the bushes above.
2. PADDY'S SWING 15m HS 4a Rogers, Orr 1967 This route starts up the wide crack and ramp on the left hand side of the cliff. From the top of the crack make an awkward move right to a ledge. Climb directly to the top.
3.(1) MORIARTY 15m S 4a Rogers, Orr 1966 One metre right of Paddy's Swing.Climb the corner formed by the block. From the top of the block move left using a large pocket to the ledge on Paddy's Swing. Finish as for that route.
3.(2) KEVIN'S ROUTE 20m VS 4c R.Finlay, P.Hall May 1981 Start on the right side of the huge flake between Moriarty and Mike's Route. Gain the top of the flake. Step out right on steep wall and gain crack then ledge above. Follow a deep crack on the left to the top of the pinnacle. Step across and climb a short wall behind. Belay in trees.
4. MIKE'S ROUTE 20m VS 4c Rogers, Orr 1966 Start in the corner to the right of the huge flake at the foot of the Left Wall. Surmount the overhang and gain the stump. Continue up to the top of the pinnacle on the left. Move out right on to the wall and climb the wide crack to the tree.
5. ELIMINATION 20m VS 4b Rogers, Fulton 1968 Start to the right of Mike's Route below a small cave at 3m. Move up into the cave (difficult). Traverse rightwards from the cave to reach a ledge. From here climb diagonally leftwards across the face to the top of the block on Mike's Route. Move right and climb the wide crack as for Mike's Route.
PERCENTAGE 8m E2 6a Baxter, Dixon 1967Peter Douglas, John Codling (FFA) 9th April 1980 Start to the right of Elimination. Move up the crack (6 pegs and a bong were originally used) to a large ledge, then finish Elizabethan, Elimination or Spider. It may be much more difficult now as the ground beneath it was washed away by flood water.
8. SPIDER 20m HVS 5a Rogers 1967M.Smith (Direct Finish) Start below the cave 2 metres right of Mike's Route. Gain the cave by a thin move. Traverse right to a sapling and up left to a good ledge. Move up and right to below the small overhang. Semi layback to gain a horizontal crack and traverse right with difficulty to the arête. Up this to finish. Alternatively, climb directly to the top, which is harder.
SCORPION 22m VS 4c R.Finlay, S.Hall September 1988 Climbs the arête right of Spider. Start as for Elizabethan.Climb the Short Wall to gain a grass ledge. Step up right to a small corner and crack. Climb this and move steeply right into a deep crack/chimney. Climb this to two old trees, one above the other. Struggle through these to a small niche below the final steep crack (the sting in the tail). Layaway up the crack and pull across right to arête. Climb this steeply to the top.
ELIZABETHAN 18m HS 4b Rogers, Orr 1966 Start near the right hand edge of the face near the gully. Avoiding the earth and ivy roots move up and to the left (nut runner) until it is possible to gain the large ledge in the middle of the face. From the ledge move up and then left to join the final part of Mike's Route.
HANGING TREE WALL 30m A2 D. Hayes, F. Winckes 1975 Start right of Elizabethan. A direct line to the tree, 24 pegs. Increasing difficulty above the tree on loose rock.
11. ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS 25m VD A vague route up the gully.
12. ILLOGICAL OOZE 25m HS 4a P.Hall This was a cleaned version of Zoological Gardens but has since reverted to it's original condition. (Cleaned again - 2009)
APPAULING 23m E1 5b Rogers, P.McDermot, P.McHugh 1969 This route follows the fluted arête formed by the gully of Illogical Ooze and the large bulging wall to the right. Steep moves lead to a finger crack from where a long reach gains better holds on the right. Continue up more easily to finish through the jungle above.
HOWARD'S ROUTE 23m E3/4 6a H.Hebblethwaite 1992 Start just right of the gully at a short hand crack. Climb the steep crack to reach flake holds. Climb steeply rightwards to reach jugs in the large pocket/hole (crux). Climb directly up the wall above past an old in-situ thread and a short white groove. Finish through the vegetation above.
HOWARD'S OTHER ROUTE 23m E5 6a H.Hebblethwaite 1994 Just to the right of Howard's Route, up a groove past an in-situ peg. Joins The Bounder and finishes as for this route.
HOWARD'S THIRD ROUTE 25m E5 6a H.Hebblethwaite 1994 In the middle of the wall below the long slot on The Bounder traverse.Climb steeply up the wall and finish as for The Bounder.
THE BOUNDER 40m E4 6a J.Codling, M.Manson (3 rest points) 9th April 1980; M.Smith, D.Smith, A.Devlin (1 rest point) 12th December 1984E.Cooper(first free ascent) 21 May 1988 1) Follow Monastir Direct to the cave belay at 14 metres. 2) from the belay traverse left for 5m past a good thread to a hard move into a niche with a knee jam rest. Straight up past layaway flake (good nuts) to good jug. Up on finger pocket (crux) to finger jam on the right. Move left to good jug under peg. Make hard move up and left to reach peg. Make a hard move past the peg and right. Make a hard move up the groove and continue more easily to the top.
MONASTIR DIRECT 33m HVS 5a McDermott, Cousting (one aid point) 1967Cowan, Wray (first free ascent) 1975 Start at the base of the corner rising from the river bed. 1) 14m Bridge up the cave mouth to gain the crack. Strenuous climbing leads to a ledge on the left. Good thread belay just inside the cave (for those with night vision the cave provides an interesting escape!) 2) 19m Follow the wide crack above by bridging to the top of the flake (sparse protection). Continue up the crack above. Belay a long way back.
EXPOSE 30m HVS 5a, 4c Rogers, Fulton July 1968 1) Climb the first pitch of Monastir Direct to the cave belay. 2) Step down and traverse right on good holds to the bottom of the flake crack. Climb the crack to where the corner steepens. Reach a hidden crack on the right and pull on to a good ledge on the right wall of the corner. Follow the crack and regain the corner near the top.
EXPOSE DIRECT START 30m E3 6a A.Currans July 1984 This route takes the steep shallow groove and crack just right of the first pitch of Monastir Direct.Climb direct to join the traverse line of Expose level with the cave belay.
RIGHTS OF PASSAGE 30m E3 6a E.Cooper 1993 Climb Expose Direct Start to where it joins Expose. Climb diagonally rightwards with difficult moves through the overhang. Climb directly up the wall above to finish.
ME 36m E2 5b Martin Smith, Ricky Cole 2nd August 1980 Start in the middle of the wall 10m right of Monastir Direct.Climb the hand jam crack to an arm thread, Hand traverse right to the arête. Up the thin wall to a stance under an overhang. Climb the overhang directly to big jugs and a ledge. Step left and climb the wall to the top.
BLACK BASTARD 27m VS 4c R.Cole, M.Smith 2nd August 1980 Start 20 metres right of Monastir Direct, and 10m right of Me up the river bank, below a cave.Traverse left and up into the cave. Move out left of cave and surmount overhang moving right. Climb the obvious corner above.
THE FILTH 30m E1 5b A.Currans 3rd April 1984 Start at the cave and old tree stump as for Black Bastard.Traverse diagonally right, passing a small overhang on it's right side, to gain a small ledge. From the ledge move straight up then right to a second ledge with an old tree stump. Move a few feet right along the ledge and climb up using a good pocket hold to a thin crack (micro-rocks). From this point move out left on delicate holds and then straight up to tree stump (crux). Pass the small curving overhang above on it's left side using a series of ledges. Trend right towards the top. Passing a small bush on it's right side.
THE FEDS 22m E2 5b A.Currans, P.Nolan 10th April 1984 Start - about 12m right of the cave mentioned in Black Bastard description there is a large triangular-shaped overhang protruding from the rock face. The Feds follows the steep wall and leftward-trending crack just right of the overhang. Start climbing on the steep wall directly below the bottom of the leftward-trending crack. Use a small right-facing corner to gain a ledge on the left. Climb up trending slightly right to a sloping ledge. From the ledge move left to the diagonal crack leading through overhangs. Continue up the crack until it is possible to step left onto a ledge. From here climb straight up and right to finish. A strenuous route. Protection just adequate.
JUNGLE BUNNY 10m HVS 5b M. Manson (solo) 15th July 1982 Route takes the wall 1m left of Keyhole Crack. Climb the wall until possible to reach obvious crack. Move up to a good rest. Continue more easily to the top.
KEYHOLE CRACK 9m S 4a Gavins, Rogers 1964 Start at the left hand end (upstream end) of the cliff. Move up the obvious wide crack at the left side of the compact wall. Awkward to start.
WET DREAM 9m E1 5b Martin Smith, Ricky Cole, Kevin Quinn 11th April 1980 Start below the bulge between Keyhole Crack and Brothers In Arms.Straight up to a small spike and sapling (tape runner). Diagonally left to a corner. Up to the top.
BROTHERS IN ARMS 12m E3 6a Rogers, Price (DALMATIAN, HS+A1) 1967Tim Horne, Dave Smith 5 June 1985 Start 1m right of Wet Dream.Climb up a shallow overhanging groove to reach a finger slot (crux- no protection). Pull up and right on to a block. Continue diagonally right to a small tree stump. Finish up a groove.
STRUGG 12m S 4a R.Dean, T.Barbour, R.Shackleton June 1972 Start 12m right of Brothers In Arms on the upstream cliff at a well trodden down tree.Follow the line of holds diagonally right, then a difficult move on to the big ledge. Layback up the flake to a tree, then step onto the wall behind this and up a series of jugs to the top. A bit obscure!
GOOD SPORT 12m Fr6c+ P.Nolan October 1993 The line of three bolts in the centre of the compact wall.Fingery and technical to the first bolt. Hard moves past bolt to good holds. Easier above.
VIRGIN RURP 12m E2 5b Graham, Rogers (8 pegs used) 1968M.Manson, E.Cooper, M.Mills 2nd May 1982 Start in the middle of the upstream cliff (but on the right hand edge of the cleaner half of the cliff) about 6m left of a large ivy growth and 1 m left of a bulging overhang.Move up a thin crack until possible to step left beneath the brown overhang. Pull over overhang and continue to the top.
WHITE OUT 20m HVS 5b E.Cooper, M.Manson, M.Mills 3rd May 1982 Start just left of the arête immediately left of Paddy's Route. Climb the wall to a short crack, gain a good hold and move onto the wall right of the arête. Climb this until possible to traverse left to a ledge and climb overhanging arête to the top.
PADDY'S ROUTE 20m S 3c M.Smith, A.Devlin, R.Cole 17th March 1982 Further right - obvious line at south end of crag.Start on the right and swing left to join right slanting crack. Climb this to strange tube in overhang. Step onto right wall, pull up and continue easily to the top.
BLUE MOON 12m D R.Cole, M.Mills 18th Aprll 1982 Start in groove below small cave 2m left of Paddy's Route. Climb groove to large platform below overhang. Move left across chimney and finish via yew tree.
JUST JUICE 20m VS 4c A.Devlin, M.Smith 2nd May 1982 Start 7m left of Blue Moon where twin grooves form a pillar. Climb left groove for 2m, then move around pillar to right groove and continue up this to top.
SNAKE JUICE 23m HVS 5b M.Smith, A.Devlin, M.Mills 3rd May 1982 Start at a large bowl forming overhang 17 m left of Just Juice. Climb corner to a large thread. Awkward move past thread to top of crack. Climb wall above using holds on the left (crux). Belay at tree and walk right along the ledge to the top.
CAVERNS ABOVE 24m VD R.Cole, M.Mills 18th April 1982 At the downstream end of the lower gorge there is a stream issuing from a large hole. Climb the chimney above to a large ledge. Cross this to a small hole in the wall above. Go through and bridge easily up the chasm beyond. Very unusual route.
SLIDE SHOW 10m E1 5b M.Manson, E.Cooper, M.Mills 3rd May 1982 At the right-hand end of the crag there is an overhanging white wall. Start at a line of pockets 1m in from the right edge. Climb the pockets and make a difficult reach to a good hold. Continue to a large spike on the left. Step right and continue to the top.
REVIVAL & PADDY'S SWING
PADDY'S SWING - MIKE'S ROUTE
MIKE'S ROUTE - ILLOGICAL OOZE
ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS/ILLOGICAL OOZE Gully
MONASTIR DIRECT - Left-handside of the large flake in the middle of the picture.