Rocky Valley

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Printed Wicklow guidebook available here



A series of outcrops on the Roundwood road about 1km from the village of Kilmacanogue,(serviced by Dublin Bus route 145 from D'Olier Street).

HOLLY TREE CRAG (the original crag)

These climbs are on a craglet situated above and left of a house which was once a shop on the left side of the road (note: the crag is the righthand one of two when viewed from the road).
Approach. Park at Healy Pottery and walk up the road for 150m to a green metal telecoms box against a low wall on the righthand side of the road (limited parking for 1 or 2 cars here). The path to the crag starts just left of the largest tree directly opposite this parking spot. Hop over the ditch and follow the track up to the foot of the crag (5 minutes from the road).


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See photo taken from the road for identification Rocky Valley

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A; Giltspur HS 4b. B: Kawasaki HS 4b. C: Hen's Race V.D. D: Glencap VS 4c. E: Mean Wall S.

The climbs are described from left to right.

GILTSPUR * 16m HS(4b)
Start at the foot of the clean arête which forms the left edge of the crag. Climb the arête until a bulge forces a move out left to a ledge beneath an obvious crack. Move up and back right to a small ledge on the arête Climb directly to the top.
G. Moss, D. Doyle, 4/8/1984.

KILMAC CRACK ** 17m VS(4c)
Start below the first corner, just left of the central crack. Climb up diagonally right to a good ledge below the start of the crack. Follow this to the top.
G. Moss, D. Doyle, 4/8/1984.

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Kilmac Crack.

KAWASAKI** 17m HS(4b)
A good exercise in bridging and jamming. Start at the foot of the next corner, directly below the holly tree. Climb the crack, large hexes or friends useful
L. Convery, J. Lynam, September 1978.

CARRIGOONA* 17m VS(4c)
Start below the arête which forms the right-hand side of the second corner. Move up right until directly below a narrow crack running up the corner above, to the left of the holly tree. Climb the crack to a good ledge and up more easily to the top.
G. Moss, D. Doyle, 4/8/1984.

HEN'S RACE* 17m VD
Start 1 - 2 metres right of Carrigoona. Climb the crack, moving right at the holly tree, step back left and follow the crack to the top.
D. Doyle, J. Butler, 29/9/1984.

CILL CAIS 16m HS(4b)
Start 2m right of Hen's Race below a small overhang. Climb up to below the overhang, traverse right and mantelshelf onto a small ledge beneath an obvious thin crack. Follow the crack over a bulge and gain a ledge on the right. Up on good holds to the top.
G. Moss, L. Convery, 29/9/1984.

Jackdaw Chimney
This is the short chimney running up left from the back of the grassy bay to the right of Cill Cais. It provides a quick and convenient scramble down from the top. It is home to a pair of jackdaws during the nesting season.

TRIUMPH 12m S/HS
Start at the foot of Jackdaw Chimney.This climb follows the shallow groove between Jackdaw Chimney and Glencap. Sparse protection.
J. Reville, E. O'Neill, 30/6/2012.

GLENCAP* 13m VS(4c)
Start at the back of the grassy bay, one meter right of Jackdaw Chimney, below a crack which runs up the centre of the wall. Climb the crack which is difficult to start. Holds improve with height.
G. Moss, L. Convery, 29/9/1984.

HONDA 50* 13m VD
Start 1 - 2 metres right of Glencap in the corner. Climb the chimney, passing a chockstone to top of pillar, then step around left and climb crack to top.
L. Convery, G. Moss, 29/9/1984.

The following climbs are on the wall around to the right from Honda 50.

Ducati 15m S.
Start on a ledge below the left edge of the face, 1m left of Mean Wall (see below). Move up and follow the left edge of the wall to the top of the pillar. Step up and follow the edge to a ledge, finish straight up, as for Honda 50**.
J. Reville, G.Moss, 20/6/2012.

MEAN WALL ** 15m. S(4a)
Start at the foot of the wall which forms the face of the detached pillar. Climb centre of steep wall to top of pillar. From the top step delicately onto the upper wall and follow left-trending line of weakness to the top.
D. Doyle, G. Moss, 4/8/1984.

Rocky ll 15m. VS (4c)
Start as for Mean Wall. Move up and across right and follow the edge to the top of the pillar. Move up diagonally right to the foot of a short thin crack (runner). Make a difficult move across right to a foot hold (crux) and follow the edge, with interest, to the top.
G.Moss, J. Reville,20/6/2012

Silver Spring Crag

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This small, south facing, sheltered crag lies about 50m left of the of the original crag (Holly Tree Crag) and just right of a small stream (the Silver Spring). It catches the sun from early morning, is sheltered from most winds and is a very pleasant and relaxing spot. A good spot for beginners learning to lead or for warming up before tackling the climbs on the main crag.
Approach. As for Holly Tree Crag, then traverse left from the bottom of that crag. The climbs are described from L to R.

1. Briars. Diff.
Start at the left edge of the crag, at the foot of a block. Step up onto the block and climb directly to a short diagonal crack. Pull up on to a good ledge, move around left and step back right onto the face, which is followed to the top. Sling belay on a block in front of the small holly tree.
E. O'Neill, G. Moss. 14/05/13.

2. Fissure Grianmhar. V.Diff.
Start near the left edge of the crag, below the wide crack to the left of the holly tree. Climb the crack, passing a rocking block, and surmount the small overhang (crux) on good holds.
G. M. 18/4/13.

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3. Branch Out. Severe 4a
Start immediately right of the holly tree, below a corner that narrows at the top. Climb the left edge until it is possible to bridge across right, move up and back left and climb to a heather ledge. Finish up the crack directly above the ledge.
E. O'Neill, G.M. 14/5/13.

4.Ga Gréine HS 4b.
Start immediately R of 3 and directly below a short see-through crack in the small overhang at the top of the face. Steeply up into a short groove, then climb directly to the overhang which is taken on good holds. Climb the blunt rib directly above the heather ledge.
G.M. E.O'N. 14/5/13.

5. Nutcracker. VS 5a.
Start 3m right of 4, directly below the short arete. A bouldering start is followed by steep moves up the arete. Finish up the blocky corner on the right.
B. Burke, H.Herzmann, G.M. 15/4/13.

6. Little Pelstein. Severe 4a.
Start 2m right of 5 and just right of the wide, shallow corner. Move up and across L to a ledge below the corner. Climb the corner to a heather patch, finishing up the wide diagonal crack on the right.
H.Herzmann. B.B. G.M. 15/4/13.

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7. Rambling Rose. HS 4a.
Start just right of the little spindle tree, below the R-hand of two short grooves. Climb the groove, step up L and climb left of the holly tree, moving L into a short blocky corner to finish.
B.B. G.M. 6/5/13.

8. BeeLine. VS4b.
Start 1m R of Rambling Rose, below a short corner running up to the holly tree. Bridge up the corner and climb just R of the holly tree, finishing steeply on the R.
B.B. G.M. 13/07/13.

9. Silver Apple. M.S.
Start as for Beeline. Bridge up until it is possible to move R to the edge of the slab sloping up R. Gain height and pull up onto the face, which is followed to the top.
G.M. 29/7/13.

10. May Moon. V. Diff
Start as for Silver Apple. Move across R and climb the wide ramp sloping up R to where it ends, after about 6m, at a small overhang. Step across L onto the face and follow it to the highest point of the buttress.
G.M. M.Casey. 25/5/13

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Carrigoona Buttress

is located in the Carrigoona Commons and sits above the turn off to Enniskerry on the R755 from Kilmacanogue. The routes provide delicate, mostly well protected climbing but it's never serious, so it's ideal for beginners. The rock, being quartzite is very slippery when wet.

Approach: 5 minutes. Parking is tight. Room for one car on the road directly below the buttress. Wear wellies for the approach.

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1. Peace Lily V.Diff 11m
This route is steep to start and makes its way to the break at half height. Continue up easier ground and belay beside Gar Wall.

Aodhnait Carroll, Terrance Glancy 04/9/12.

2. Gar Wall V.Diff 11m
Start at the steep rib to the left side of the wide chimney. Ascend the rib precariously to the halfway break and continue straight up, topping out over some loose rock. Poor protection.

Terrance Glancy, Aodhnait Carroll 04/9/12.

3. Alex Gets A New Gaf V.Diff 12m
Takes the obvious broad rib to the right of the large chimney.

Aodhnait Carroll, Terrance Glancy 02/9/12.

4. Do Ya Like Dags V.Diff 14m
Start up the narrow rib and break out right onto the steep slab at halfway point. Continue on up with interest. Enjoyable climbing throughout.

Terrance Glancy, Aodhnait Carroll 02/9/12.

5. Censored V.Diff 14m
Make your way up the open face to beneath the overhang. Turn it on the right. Nice climbing with good protection.

Terrance Glancy, Aodhnait Carroll 04/9/12.

6. Social Mobility V.Diff 15m
Slabby, delicate and well protected. Nice climb.

Terrance Glancy, Aodhnait Carroll 02/9/12.

7. Life's A Pitch V.Diff 15m
Start two meters right of SM. Tricky move over the small roof. Good climbing with poor protection.

Aodhnait Carroll, Terrance Glancy 02/9/12.

8. Fight Ye For It V.Diff 14m
Start up on broken ledges and ascend the crescent shaped feature to finish.

Aodhnait Carroll, Terrance Glancy 04/9/12.


Cnoch na nGabhar (Knocknagower)

A small quartzite crag on the north side of Rocky Valley. Okay, like it says on the tin, the climbs are short, but so is the walk-in. Two minutes – and most of that is downhill! Plus, this little crag faces into the morning sun and is sheltered from most winds – a real suntrap in the mornings and a place to climb all year round. The climbs are all in the lowest grades and protection is variable. This little crag might suit if you are tied for time, or the weather is too dodgy to venture further afield, or if you have been driven off the mountain crags by bad weather. Approach. Take the R755 road from the village of Kilmacanoge in the direction of Roundwood. After a little over one and a half kilometres go right at the fork (signposted Enniskerry/Powerscourt Waterfall). After less than 200m turn sharp right onto the narrow L1033 and follow this to the crest of the short, steep hill, where there is car parking on the left. Directly across from the car park a narrow path enters the furze bushes. Follow this as it goes left through the furze for about 20m to a grassy clearing. Leave the path and go down sharp right along the foot of the crag, the main face of which looks out over the road below. The climbs are described from R to L as one approaches them along the path.

EASTERN SLAB. The gentle angle of the slab compensates for the scarcity of protection (micro wires useful). The four routes are in the lowest grade, making this a good spot for beginners wishing to learn slab technique. Anchors at the top can be found in the rock someway back from the edge. All four routes start from the top of a grassy slope at the foot of an area of cleaned rock, below the L side of the slab.

1. Eastern Slab A Diff.
Start on a grassy slope above the ferns, below the L side of the slab. Climb up easily over cleaned rock to the base of the slab. Traverse horizontally R for 3m, until directly below a notch in the skyline. Climb direct to the notch. H.Herzmann. B.Lawless. 19/4/16

2. Eastern Slab B Diff.
Start as for 1. Move up to the base of the slab, and move R until directly below the lowest point of the v-shaped overlap. Straight up to the base of overlap, surmount this (runner) and continue to the top. H.H. B.L. 19/4/16

3. Eastern Slab C Severe
Start as for 1. Up to the base of the slab and a stance directly below the highest point of the L side of the v-shaped overlap. Straight up on sketchy holds to a ledge. Finish direct on improving holds. B.L. G.Moss. 7/7/16

4. Eastern Slab D V. Diff
Start as for 1. Move up to the bottom L of the slab and climb straight up, following a line just R of the L edge. B.L. G.M. 7/7/16

Moving down and around left (facing in) a broad, easy angled, blocky arete runs up into the gorse. An old top-rope setup was discovered in-situ on a boulder among the gorse bushes directly above the arete. This would have facilitated top-roping the arete which goes at Moderate.

MAIN FACE All of the routes on the face finish on a wide, grassy platform, below a short easy-angled rock step. The best belay anchors are provided by stout furze bushes above either end of the rock step. Protection is spaced on some of these routes and small wires or cams may prove useful.

5. Nanny State. S 4a
Start just R of the obvious L-sloping ramp and L of the broad, blocky arete. Climb steeply to a small overhang and surmount this on its L side. Continue up the edge on good holds. Poorly protected. G.M. B.L. 10/10/16

6. Ramp and Crack. V. Diff.
On the R edge of the main face a narrow ramp slopes up from R to L, with a wide crack on its R-hand side. Climb the ramp, with good protection (large hex or friend useful) and the crux at the top. B.L. G.M. 23/3/16

6a. Groove and Slab VS4b.
Start 1m. L of 6, below a shallow groove. Climb the groove, cross the wide crack on the ramp (large cam here) and move straight up the face on small holds. C. Russell, P. Tolarova 5/11/16

7. Short Groove and crack S 4a.
Start 2m L of 6, below a shallow groove and crack. Climb steeply to a nut or cam placement at 3m. Continue on sharp holds to finish as for rte. 6. H.H. B.L. 19/4/16

8. Wicklow Goat Sucker. VS 4b
Start 1m L of 7, below a shallow groove. Climb steeply to a small nut or cam placement just below half height and make a difficult move out L to better holds. Finish straight up. G.M. M.Casey. B.L. 9/4/16

9. Judas Goat. VS 4a
Start 3m L of 8, at the undercut base of the crag and directly below a a pointed block at the top. Straight up on sharp holds to a nut placement two thirds of the way up. Delicate moves up the R-ward slanting groove to finish. G.M. B.L 1/6/16

10. Poc ar Buile. HS 4a
Start 3m L of 9, below a short slab topped by a shallow R-slanting groove. Climb the slab and groove, exiting L. Protection moderate. G.M. B.L. 23/3/16

11. Skin the Goat. S.
Start just R of 12, below a short polished slab and steep corner. Follow the corner to the top, holds and gear improving with height. G.M. B.L. 6/4/16

12. Kid Stuff M.
A shallow corner running up the full height of the crag demarks the L edge of the steep section and provides an easy way, up or down, with good protection if desired. G.M. 28/3/16

Moving further L there is a block sitting 1m out from the base of the crag. The next two routes climb the slab above the block. Small wires are useful here.

13. Slab and short crack. V.D.
On the R-hand side of the slab. B.L. G.M. 6/4/16

14. Slab and shallow corner. D.
On the L-hand side of the slab. B.L. G.M. 30/5/16

Further L again there are two blocks separated from the bottom of the crag.

15. Three Block Arete. Diff.
Start at the smaller of the two blocks. Climb up over large blocks to the base of the blunt arete. Up this to the top. B.L. G.M. 4/6/16

Moving further L again, scramble over a block to reach a pale-coloured block below the foot of a short slab, which is capped by steeper rock.


16. Right Arete Diff.
Start at the pale block. Climb a long, narrow block and step across R to below a small triangular overhang near the R edge. Climb straight up from here. B.L. G.M. 7/7/16

17. Central Corner V.D.
Climb the short corner above the centre of the slab. B.L. G.M. 7/7/16

18. Left Arete V.S. 4b
Climb the short wall above the L edge of the slab, with poor finishing holds and poor protection. B.L. G.M. 7/7/16