Carrick Mountain 2
grid ref. T22759380. During the early days of March 2020, and the early days of the pandemic, when we were all self-isolating prior to the introduction of the lockdown, I spent some days developing this small crag, as 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. Shortly after a radio mast comes into view a crossroads is reached. 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.
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.
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.
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.
4. Be wise, sanitise. Diff. Start 1m left of 3. Climb up for 3m then step left onto arête and climb this to top.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
4m left again there is another undercut, pear-shaped buttress. Nothing has been done here as yet.