Carrick Mountain

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Carrick Mountain is situated between Ashford and Glenealy. There are a number of small single pitch crags. There is extensive Coilte forestry and a number of possible access points.

Carrick Mountain

Carrick Mountain - Ballymacsimon (1)

This little crag at grid reference T236940 lies on the eastern slopes of Carrick Mountain above an area of closely-planted forest. It has a sheltered sunny aspect and it can offer a day's climbing when Glendalough and Luggala are too wet or too cold for consideration. It does, however, suffer from seepage, and takes some time to dry after heavy rain, so bear this in mind. For a small crag it offers a good variety of routes: delicate slabs, airy chimneys, steep faces and overhanging cracks.

Head south from Dublin on the M11 (the main Dublin/Wexford road) and exit at Junction 16 (Rathnew/Wicklow), and at the roundabout in Rathnew take the road towards Rathdrum. Follow this direction to the village of Glenealy, and park in the village. Take the side-road opposite the pub and cross the bridge. A narrow road leads off left next to a small church, before the community hall. Follow this to where it ends, after one kilometre, at a forest entrance (marked Private Road). There is no parking space at the end of this road

After crossing the barriers at the forest entrance, go straight ahead and follow the road through the eucalyptus trees as it curves up and back left to another junction. Turn right here and, after about 50m, take the narrow MTB trail striking up left. Follow this uphill, crossing another forest road en route, on reaching a second forest road turn left and pick up another MTB trail on your right, follow this to emerge at a complex junction of roads and tracks. Take the road slanting up right and after about ten minutes the crag is up on the left, hidden by trees. Watch out for a mountainbike track going up a narrow overgrown fire break on your left. There is a mature pine and a mature holly on the other side of the forest road but these are hard to pick out from all the other trees on that side. Another overgrown firebreak runs downhill between these two trees. The rising mountainbike track/fire break leads to the foot of crag within five minutes. The walk-up from Glenealy takes at least forty-five minutes.

Alternatively, park at the forest entrance at Aghowle and contour around the hill to the complex junction mentioned above. This route may be a bit longer but involves less height gain so the effort may be equal.

Another shorter and very pleasant approach option is from the Ballylusk parking. Follow the forest road from the parking until the T junction and take a right. At the next forest road junction take a left and follow this turning off onto a smaller trail at 243951. Stay on this trail until it ends at a fire road switchback. Go left (downhill) on the fire road and proceed to the crag access trail at 238942.

The routes are short, varying from 8 to 20m in length. They are described from left to right and descent is easiest at the extreme left of the crag.

Carrick Mountain topo by Gerry Moss


WARMING UP     8m     VD
Start at the left-hand end of the left-facing wall. Climb a short ramp and move left to finish.
G. Moss, 2/6/1992

SUN LOUNGING    9m    HS(4b)
Start 3m right of Warming Up at a short groove. Climb this past a pocket to a ledge left of furze; directly up the short wall behind to finish.
J. Lyons, D. Wall. 14/9/2003

Start just right of the previous route, at a shallow groove. Climb the groove on small holds to the ledge right of the furze. Finish up the short cracked wall above the tree. The difficulties are short but poorly protected.
G.Moss, B.Hannon, 23/11/1992

Moving around to the right, there is a crack and groove above a spike at the left-hand edge of the overhanging face.

KNUCKLEBALL***     13m    E2(5c).
Start directly below the crack splitting the roof at it's widest point. Stepping off the boulder, make a move to gain the cosy nook shared by NRG. From the perch find excellent gear and then commit to the roof crack, topping out onto good holds where the crack continues.
T. Charnecki, B. Crampton 17/6/2021

NRG*     13m    E2(5b/5c).
Start to the left of the deep, wide chimney, at a shallow groove. Climb the groove and the right-hand crack in the overhang above; strenuous but well protected.
T. O'Neill, G. Moss 5/10/1996

Knuckleball nrg.jpg

SORCHAS.     15m    VS(4b).
Bridge up the chimney between its right-hand edge and the left wall, passing outside the chockstone. Overcoming the narrows provides an airy crux.
G.Moss, B.Norton. 19/9/1992.


Sorchas VS4b

DORCHAS     15m    D
Start as for Sorchas. Move up the floor of the chimney to a step halfway along. Bridge up to finish behind the chockstone.
G.Moss. 2/6/1992.

CARRICK CRACK*     11m    VS(4c).
Start at the right-hand edge of the steep, narrow wall, just left of another broad chimney, below a crack. Make a difficult move to gain a sloping ledge. Climb the crack above which is strenuous, but well protected.
B.Norton, G.Moss. 19/9/1992.

DOUBLE DECKER     15m    HS(4b)
Bridge up the flared walls of the chimney
J. Lyons, D. Wall. 14/9/2003

Start just right of the chimney, at the foot of a short, right trending ramp. Climb the ramp and finish up the cracked wall and the ledges above.
B.Norton, G.Moss. 19/9/1992.

GENTLE AIRS    18m    HS(4b)
Climb the front edge of the large spike with a delicate finish. Continue up the easy broad arête.
J. Lyons, D. Wall. 14/9/2003


ON THE RUN    18m    HS(4b)
Start at a deep recess to the right of the spike. Climb the flake crack on the left with a strenuous pull onto the ledge. Move right onto a short slab and up this past a break to upper slab, working slightly right to finishing bulge.
J. Lyons, D. Wall. 14/9/2003

The corner between On The Run and Garvaghy Road.
Climb the corner moving left around the overhang with some deft footwork (crux). Move right to gain the arete and climb the wall above on good holds.
B. Walker, W. Blanchfield 2/5/2020

GARVAGHY ROAD.     18m     VS(4c)
Start behind the holly tree, below a narrow jammed flake at 2m. Move up to a ledge and gain the top of the flake. Difficult moves off the flake provide the crux.
G.Moss, T.O'Neill. 13/7/1996


Garvaghy Road VS4c

QUEEN'S HIGHWAY.     20m     E1(5b)
Start 2m right of Garvaghy Road, below the left edge of the 20m slab. Climb a bulge to the foot of the slab and follow an incipient crack line 1m left of the grass-filled crack. Thin moves, poorly protected, lead to a good finish.
T. O'Neill, G. Moss. 13/7/1996

GLORIOUS TWELFTH.     20m     VS(4c)
Start 2m right of Queens Highway. Climb a bulge moving right to a ledge and good nut placement below the centre of the slab. Climb straight up, at first with difficulty and then more easily, to the top.
G. Moss, L. Convery. 12/8/1995

APPRENTICE BOYS     20m     S(4a)
Start at a block, a few metres right of Glorious Twelfth. Good in-cut holds lead to a small bracket. Gain this (crux) and continue pleasantly to the top.
L. Convery, G. Moss 12/8/1995

Carrick Mountain - Aghowle Upper (2)

This crag (grid ref. T22759380) is a possible alternative to Barnbawn, should plans to climb on that crag during the winter months be foiled by the activity of deer hunters. It is in the same general area as Barnbawn, in the forest on the SW slope of Carrick mountain where, thankfully, no shooting is allowed. It is a very pleasant spot, south-facing, and sheltered, but it should be noted that it is not as extensive as Barnbawn.

The climbs are all in the lower grades, on sound rock, with good protection (small to medium nuts and/or cams useful) and, with one exception, the anchors on top are rigged using nuts and/or cams. All of which might make this a good spot for introducing beginners to the craft of trad climbing: leading, placing protection and setting up anchors on top for belays.

As an added bonus, the view of the Wicklow mountains from the top of the crag is the finest, from Croghan Kinsella on the Wicklow/Wexford border, to Lug and its satellites, to Tonlagee and Kippure and around to Djouce and the Sugarloaf. So hillwalkers could spend a pleasant interlude identifying the many summits on view.

APPROACH. The crag is best approached from the forest entrance near Aghgowle, grid ref. T21909360. Travelling from Dublin, take junction 16 on the M11, signposted Wicklow/Rathnew. At the roundabout in the village of Rathnew turn right onto the R752 and follow this road through the village of Glenealy. Turn right just before the railway overbridge, onto L2116 and follow this to take a signposted minor road on the right, which leads to a forest entrance on the right. This is the main entrance/exit for large lorries drawing timber from the forest, so leave plenty of room for them to do so when parking.

Go left at the T junction on the forest road and continue uphill to a complex junction (ca. 10 mins.) Continue straight ahead, with areas cleared of trees on both sides of the rising road. The crag can be seen to your left on a rocky boss (Carrigmurrely) west of the main ridge line of Carrick Mountain. Eventually growing trees will hide it; nothing is permanent in a forest. A radio mast comes into view ahead and a crossroads is reached shortly after. Turn left and follow this road to a turning circle at the road head. From the top left of the turning circle go down a short firebreak and follow a line of small cairns to the foot of the crag, which can seen behind a belt of mature trees. A half-hour’s pleasant walk from the car park.

The climbs are described from right to left (east to west) as the crag is approached from this direction and I have used small crag ethics, squeezing in as many routes as possible. Descent is via a one minute walk off, down through the trees. All gradings should be regarded as rough estimates and subject to change. Gerry Moss March 2020.

Carrick 2 1.png

1. Isolation Nation. Diff.
Start at the foot of a pointed block at the bottom right of the crag. From the top of the block step across onto a short sloping ramp. From the top of the ramp move up and follow the right edge to the top. Belay well back at a jammed block.
Gerry Moss, March 2020

2. Virus direst. Severe (mild).
Start as for 1. From the top of the block step across onto the bottom of a short sloping ramp. Climb up diagonally left to the foot of a shallow corner. Gain the corner (crux) and continue straight up. Belay well back at a jammed block.
Gerry Moss, March 2020

3. Polemic Pandemic. VD.
Start at the bottom left of the pointed block. Climb up bearing left for about 4m then move right into short left facing corner and straight up.
Gerry Moss, March 2020

Carrick 2 2.png

4. Be wise, sanitise. Diff.
Start 1m left of 3. Climb up for 3m then step left onto arête and climb this to top.
Gerry Moss, March 2020

5. Cocooners and Zoomers. Diff.
Start 1m left of 4 below a niche. Step up and pull out left and follow cracks up to just right of tree stump.
Gerry Moss, March 2020

6. Trump the Chump. HS(4a).
Start 2m left of 5 at the foot of a shallow right-facing cracked corner. Climb the corner, moving out left near its top, then move up to below a right-slanting crack and narrow ramp. Step up right onto the ramp then move straight up, to finish left of the tree stump.
Gerry Moss, March 2020

Carrick 2.3.png

7. Dettol no cure-all. S.
Start 2m left of 6, at foot of short right-slanting crack below a bulge. Climb the bulge and move up to a ledge. Finish direct.
Gerry Moss, March 2020

8. 2 meters, 6 feeters. Severe (mild).
2m left of 7 below cracked corner. Climb the corner to below ledge with small dead tree on the left. Step across right, climb up over 2 ledges and pull up to easier ground (crux).
Gerry Moss, March 2020

9. 5k – don’t stray. S.
Start 2m left of 8, below short corner. Climb the corner until level with small dead tree on the right. Move straight up from here (crux).
Gerry Moss, March 2020

10. Health Carers – brunt bearers. VS4b.
Start 3m right of, and down from, a small pine tree, below crack in short wall. Climb the crack and move up to a ledge below another crack in a short, impending wall. Up over this to the top.
Gerry Moss, March 2020

Carrick 2 4.png

11. Stuck at Home ÓChón. VS(4c).
Start about 12m left of 10 at the foot of a large rowan tree growing close to the face of an undercut buttress. Climb the face, on large jugs at first, the holds growing smaller with height. Belay at the pine tree.
Gerry Moss, March 2020

12. Hold firm, don’t squirm. HS(4a).
Start 1m left of the large rowan tree. Climb the left edge, a steep start leading to easier climbing. Belay at the pine tree.
Gerry Moss, March 2020

To the left of 'Hold firm, don't squirm' is a break, followed by an adjoining pear-shaped buttress.

13. Herd Immunity. VS (4c).
Starts at the right-hand end of the pear-shaped buttress, next to the break. Climb the undercut with strenuous moves to a short niche. Move up to a groove and climb the groove to finish.
Gerry Galligan, Cearbhall Daly, 10 October 2020.

Carrick Mountain - Aghowle Lower (3)

A steep quarztite slab on the western slope of Carrick Mountain. Grid ref: T2315 9415. The slab is peppered with little pockets and small, flat holds and we have taken advantage of this to cram the routes in, so the topos should prove useful in identifying what’s what. The climbing is delightful but it should be noted that protection, particularly on the steeper routes, is sparse and, sometimes, difficult to place. Micro wires, small cams and offsets may prove useful. The slab faces northwest and can be chilly during spells of westerly winds, so it should not be regarded as a winter venue.

Approach. The shortest approach is from the forest entrance at Aghgowle, grid ref. T2190 9360. This is the main entrance/exit for large vehicles drawing timber from the forest, so take care not to block the gate when parking. On the forest road keep left at the first junction and left also at the crossroads. Go right, uphill, at the next junction and follow this undulating road until you top a rise and the Irish Sea comes into view straight ahead. The road dips and rises again and on the crest of this rise you come to a wide turning circle used by the lorries. Ca. 30 mins on foot to this point, less than half that if you cycle. A few metres beyond the circle take to the steep, wide vehicle track running up the hillside on the right. The steep section is short: turn left after 50m onto a deeply rutted track that traverses the hillside. When the track runs clear of the trees on the right the slab comes into view above and the track begins to descend toward the forest road. At this point watch out for a small cairn on the right, marking the start of a narrow motorcycle track running up to the right of the slab. A little below the level of the slab a small cairn on the left marks the start of a line of cairns leading to its foot, ca. 40 mins in total on foot.

The routes are described from left to right and all grades are provisional. Several tree stumps above the slab provide convenient anchor points for routes 1 to 10, while routes 11 to 14 use the small, sturdy conifer. Descent is a walk-off to the left, facing in.

1. Aghgowle Addict. VD.
Start near the left end of the slab, below a narrow ledge at knee height. Climb, trending left to a break at left end of sloping ramp.Step up right onto ramp and move straight up from there.
G.Moss. 10/9/20.

2. Deireadh na Choillte. VD.
Start 1m right of knee height ledge, below left trending shallow cracks. From top of these step up to pocket below sloping ramp. Gain the ramp and finish direct.
G.Moss. 10/9/20.

3. Feasta gan Adhmad. S3c
Start 2m right of 2, in front of large tree stump. Climb straight up to break in the upper section and finish direct.
C. Daly, G. Galligan, 6/9/20.

4. Bealach Glas. HS4b.
Start just right of 3, below a thin fault line trending slightly right. From the top of this climb straight up to a small niche and finish direct from here.
G. Galligan, C. Daly, 6//9/20.

5. Nerve Agent. VS4b.
Start 2m right of 4 and just L of small boulder at foot of the slab. Move up and gain thin crack running up to an overlap. Straight up from here.
G. Galligan, C. Daly, 6/9/20.

6. Éminence Grise. HS4b.
Start just right of small boulder at foot of slab. A delicate start gains the thin, continuous crack line running directly up the slab. Step across left to good holds when the crack fades just below the top.
J. Duignan, G.M. 6/9/20.


7. Ttryst. HS4b
.Start just left of a large tree stump, below a short, left trending crack at half height. Gain this and and follow a line directly up the slab.
C. Daly, G. Galligan 6/9/20.


8. Slab Happy. VS4b. Start 1m R of 7 and just right of the large tree stump, directly below a short, wide, broken crackline in the upper section of the slab. Climb straight up, the crux being the delicate section in the middle of the climb. Finish on good holds.
G.Moss. 23/8/20.

9. Season of Mists. VS4b. Start 1m right of 8, below a short vertical crack at the top of the slab. The crux is the delicate section in the middle of the climb.
G.Moss. 23/8/20.

10. Great Craic. VD.
This climb take the obvious, fistwide crackline running the full height of the slab.
G.Moss. 23/8/20.

11. An Ghaoth Aniar. VS4b. Start just right of rte.10. Follow a line directly up to gain a short, right trending, thin crack in the upper section of the slab.
G.Moss. 4/9/2020.

12. Stumped. VS4b.
Start 1m right of 11, in front of small tree stump. This climb takes a straight line up the slab, on small holds, finishing up via the pale upper section, with the crux at half height.
G.Moss. 4/9/2020.

13. Flying Doctor. S4a.
Start 1m right of 12, below a short, shallow, left facing corner halfway up the slab. Move up, gain a good ledge above the corner, crux, and finish more easily.
G.Moss. 23/8/20.

14. Nobrainer. VD.
Start at the right end of the slab, to the right of Flying Doctor, below a crack leading up to a ledge on its left. Climb the crack, move L to the ledge and finish up the short wall above.
G.Moss. 10/9/20.



Carrick Mountain - Ballylusk (4)

A quartzite crag on the NE edge of the Coillte woods on Carrick Mountain. Grid ref. T24299 94625. With a choice of easy slab or steep overhanging climbing there are at present routes from Difficult to V.S grades and the possibility of new routes to be added. Though the crag faces south the trees in front deprives it of some of the sunlight but it is often in condition when the high mountain crags are not.

Approach: Driving south on the N11/M11 take the turn off for Ashford at junction 15. At the fork at the southern end of the village go right (uphill) and continue on this road, passing the Belair Hotel, to take the first signposted road on the right (signpost for Ballylusk quarries also at this junction).
Continue past the quarry entrance and at a signpost showing a road on the right turn left (it’s actually a crossroads). After aprox 50m turn left and park at the forest entrance making sure not to block access.
Follow the forest road uphill, ignoring a turn on the right, to turn left at the T junction. Stay with this road, passing two small, clean buttresses in on the right. When the road enters the trees the crag is just in on the right. 30 minutes walking from the car park, all on forest roads.
Climbers have the option of abbing off or, preferably, back-climbing down along the fallen trees above the right edge of the crag, before stepping down and walking off.

The climbs are described from left to right and all grades should be taken as provisional.

The first three routes are on a narrow buttress separated from the main crag by a shallow, earth-filled chimney and I have packed them in to maximise the number of climbs at this grade.

1. Walking by Woods. Diff.
Start below the left edge of the narrow buttress. Climb up on good holds, moving right just below the top for an easy exit. Tree belay.
Gerry Moss 1/8/2020

2. Whose woods these are. Diff.
Follow a line up the centre of the buttress. Moving right at the top for an easy exit. Tree Belay.
Gerry Moss 1/8/2020

3. The woods are lovely. Diff.
Climb the left edge of the narrow chimney. Tree belay.
Gerry Moss 1/8/2020

4. Cillian’s Route1. V.Diff
Start below the right edge of the shallow chimney. Follow the edge to the top. Tree belay.
C. Russell, H. Herzmann, Gerry Moss 11/7/2020.

5. Dark and Deep. S.
Start 1m right of the chimney and follow an obvious line of weakness to the top. tree belay.
Gerry Moss, C. Russell, H. Herzmann 11/7/2020.

6. Promises to Keep. S.
Start 1m right of above, below a small overhang at 2m. Up steeply, trending left through the overhang and follow a line of weakness to the top. Tree belay.
Gerry Moss, H. Herzmann, C. Russell 11/7/2020.

7. Miles to Go.
Start as for above. Straight up through the overhang and continue up a shallow, left facing, slabby corner. Tree belay.
Gerry Moss 17/10/2020.

8. Cillian’s Route2. VS 4c**.
Start 3m right of above, below a left trending ramp. Climb the ramp and continue up to the overhanging corner. Steeply up through this on good holds. Tree belay.
C. Russell, H. Herzmann, Gerry Moss, 11/7/2020

9. Before I sleep. V. Diff.
Start at the extreme right of the crag, around to the right of the face. Climb a flake, trending right to below a tree. Up steeply by the tree. Tree belay.
Gerry Moss 25/7/2020.