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Carraig an tSeabhaic as Gaeilge The hawks rock. This new, developing climbing venue is on the eastern flank of Carrigshouk Mountain at O098052. It directly overlooks the Military Road about 10km south of Sally Gap and 3km north of Glenmacnass waterfall. It comes into view on the right traveling south on emerging from a zone of Coillte plantations.

Directly below the cliffs there is a small parking area cut into the hillside on the right just past a bend and opposite a grove of old conifers planted around a long-gone hunting lodge, popularly known as "The Oasis". This is a handy place for thieves to work on your car. It might be better to park at the exposed forest entrance 100m back on the same side of the road. The Military Road is very prone to car theft.

To reach the climbs walk up the hill from the parking spot to an obvious gable-shaped slab a few hundred metres away. Pass the slab on the left through boulder-strewn and bracken-infested ground heading diagonally left to pass over a slabby rib of rock to reach the main slabs on the upper left of the face. Climbs to the right are reached by swinging uphill to the right after passing the slabby rib. Takes about 15 - 20 minutes. (see map below)

The climbs, which are mainly on slabs, are scattered over a distance of about 400 - 500m. On the far left and out of view beyond a large area of slabs there is a steep face (Far South Buttress). To the right of this and some broken ground there is a well-defined area of slabs with horizontal overlaps and ledge systems (Main Slabs). A huge deep crack splits the slabs on the upper left. To the right of these again over a spread of about 200m there is a more indeterminate area of ribs and slabs emerging from the largely heather-clad hillside (Intermediate Slabs). Finally on the right or north side and adjoining a deep-cut gully there is the small but distinct Far North Buttress.

The slab climbs at Carrigshouk require confidence with quite a lot of protectionless run-outs. This is mitigated somewhat by the generally clean coarse-textured nature of the rock which offers excellent friction.


The routes here are mainly short but steep. Descent from them and also from the Main Slabs is by the adjoining shallow gully but watch out for cunningly hidden holes at several points on the track.

G page 223 Carraigshouk.jpg

1 MIND'S EYE     10m    VS(4b)
Start beneath a diagonal crack. Climb past this to a sloping ledge. Climb the leaning pillar directly past upper bulge to finish.
J. Lyons, 8/6/2005
Variation: HS(4b) Take the short crack to the right of the pillar. J. Lyons, 10/6/2005

2 HIGHER CALLING*    10m    HVS(5b)
Start 3-4m right of Mind's Eye. Make thin moves up the short wall to gain a sloping ledge. Continue up into the steepening scoop to the teasingly distant jug above on the right.
J. Lyons, 17/6/2005.

3 NEW FACES     10m    VS(4c)
Takes the rib to the left of the slanting crack. Move out right on the diagonal edge to the crack and using this move up, grappling past the pillar, to reach good jugs and an easy exit up the gully.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 27/6/2005

4 CLOSE ENCOUNTER     14m    E4(6a)
Start 8m right of New Faces below the leftward-leaning flared crack-line; tenuously up past this to a stance at the base of the upper crack. Engage the holdless, friendless crack with guile and grit to the final outcome.
H. Hebblethwaite, P. Keane, 17/6/2005

5 RANDOM EVENTS'    17m    HVS(5a)
Layback up the steep leftward-slanting crack to ledges. Move right to short cracks breaching the overhang. Awkward moves past the bulge give access to a groove on the left. Continue up the slabby rib to finish.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 20/6/2005
VARIATION START    From the base of the slanting crack scramble right to a ledge and climb the whitish slab directly to the breach.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 20/6/2005


These steep largely featureless slabs start about 50m right of South Buttress just beyond a shallow basin. The most obvious feature is a large whitish upper slab split by a deep crack and overlapping onto other slabs both on its left and directly below. The first route here starts up the subsidiary slab to the left of the upper slab.

6 COUNTRY ROAD*    50m    HVS(5a)
Move up to a ledge at the base of the long greyish slab which runs up at a lower level to the large upper slab on the right. Follow the quartz vein past a bulge before trending up diagonally left along an edge-line to a position near the arete just below a slight bulge. Move up slightly right to surmount this (crux) and then up left to a prow. Climb this onto a higher and narrower slab which leads past steps to large blocks and an easy finish to a thread belay.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 13/6/2005

7 TRAVELLER'S JOY*    33m    VS(4c)
Takes the slanting corner chimney to a short steep corner, which gives access rightwards onto the upper slab. Start as for Country Road but move right on the ledge below the chimney. On gaining the upper slab climb up directly just right of a shallow crack.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 13/6/2005

8 FLIGHT OF FANCY**    33m    VS(4c)
A rather bold exposed line up a clean sweep of rock. Climb the short slab just right of the start of Travellers Joy to a break near the bottom left of the main upper slab. Step up onto this slab and move up slightly left to a short, slanting crack. Above this follow a whitish seam going up the centre of the slab to a direct finish. Difficulties increase near the top.
J. Lyons, 13/8/2006 **

G page 226 Carraigshouk.jpg

9 THE HILLS HAVE EYES**    33m    VS(4c)
Start a few metres left of a short crack leading up to the major crack splitting the upper slab. Climb the broad arete slightly right into a cracked corner at the base of the upper crack. Move out left onto the upper slab and up slightly left past crescent-shaped features to a faint horizontal crack offering some dubious protection. Straight up on perfect rock to finish.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 13/6/2005

10 JOY ZIPPER*    33m    HS(4b)
Follow the short crack* to** the corner before moving out left and up to the edge to gain the large crack above. Follow this pleasantly to finish.
J. Lyons, P. O Leary, J. Aitken, 7/8/2005

11 TIME'S ARROW*    33m    HVS(5a)
Start just right of the crack of Joy Zipper, climbing the centre of the slab to the base of the upper slab beneath a short flake-line. Move up onto a foot-ledge and then climb past a bulge with the help of the flake to finish directly up the slab.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 19/6/2005

12 LIGHT FANTASTIC*     33m    HVS(5a)
Follow Time's Arrow to the upper slab. Move up and out right with some difficulty to gain a narrow ledge and move up past the bulge on crimps with more difficulty to an easier position. Continue up to the flake crack and past this to finish.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 27/6/2005

13 ARABY**    33m    E2(5b)
Start at the base of a broad arete which leads directly in a sustained and unprotected run-out to the overlap 2m left of a crack. Move left to gain an edge on the upper slab. Make hard moves past a bulge and trend left to a diagonal seam and up to a broad ledge. Finish up to the right.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 27/6/2005

14 WINGS OF DESIRE*    18m    E1(5b)
An eliminate line which climbs the slab directly to the short upper crack. Start at a low scoopy foothold. Continue straight up the slab above past the overlap to finish
J. Lyons, 13/8/2005

15 DIVIDED FEARS*    8m    E1(5b)
An eliminate line, climbing the vertical quartz seam between Wings of Desire and Passover, finishing at the blocky quartz hold where the seam joins the crack. Resist the temptation to reach out into the crackline of passover, and tricky at the top. Finish up or down Passover.
Z. Wang, R. Duggan, 27/2/2011

16 PASSOVER     35m    S(4a)
Takes the obvious dogleg crack to the overlap. From here move right for 1m and up the short steep slab. Continue up over heather and slabs to finish.
J. Lyons, 22/6/2005

The following routes are found on a rather short but steep slab immediately to the right.

17 IN TRANSIT    9m    VD
Climb the cracked quartzy corner on good holds.
J. Lyons 26/6/2005

G page 228 carraigshouk.jpg

OUTTA CONTROL     10m    HVS(5a)
Start just right of the quartzy corner. Move up to the base of an inset flake and using this traverse left with difficulty to gain a good stance. Climb the slab directly above and gain another stance with even more difficulty. Finish easily.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 11/7/2005

Warning - topo is incorrect for Lucky for Some and Snatch, use the descriptions to guide yourself to the hairline crack of Lucky for Some, rather than the two larger flared cracks that the topo leads to you

18 LUCKY FOR SOME*    14m    E2(5c)
Start just 10m right of Outta Control at the lowest point of the main steep slab beneath a hairline crack. Follow the crack until it peters out and continue up directly on diminishing holds to the break.
J. Lyons, 30/7/2006

19 SNATCH     13m    E1(5b)
Starts 2m left of the starting crack of Milky Way Lake. Climb steeply and directly past bulges to a narrow ledge. From here continue up on thin holds to a reassuring edge about 1m below the break which gives access to the finish.
J. Lyons, D. Wall, 8/9/2006**

20 MILKY WAY LAKE*    13m    HVS(5a)
Start about 20m right of Outta Control the right-hand end of the steep slab. Climb the short flared crack to a small ledge. Finish up the white quartzy wall above with the help of a small edge.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 11/7/2005

21 LATE DEPARTURE*    23m    VS(4c)
Start below a crack marking the right-hand end of the steep slab. Climb up past a bulge just left of the crack. Continue up the crack past a ledge to a rightward-trending flake crack. Climb this and move left a little before exiting directly above.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 3/10/2005

22 GREEN LINNET*    16m        HVS(4c)
Starts to the right of Late Departure just right of the crack at a short gully. Up just right of the gully to a hanging flake. Gain height to gain a good handhold above the lip of the bulge. Use this to traverse out right to gain a sloping ledge above. Finish up directly, 2-3m right of the crack.
J.Lyons, 7/8/2006**

The next three routes start off a grassy ledge below an undercut slab.

23 SHAPE SHIFTER     13m    VS(4c)
Start about 13m along the ledge to the left of a crack leading up to a large flake. Move out left and gain a flake hold above the bulge. Straight up to finish, passing the large flake with care.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 14/8/2005

24 JOUST     12m    HS(4b)
Start just right of Shape Shifter at a shallow crack. Follow this with an awkward high step up to finish.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 14/8/2005

Start 2 - 3m right of the Joust crack at a flake hold. Climb the slab to the short finishing crack above.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 17/8/2005 The next two climbs are found on a stepped rock rib on the right side of the Main Slabs.

26 THE LADY OF THE LAKE     30m    VS(4c)
Takes the stepped rib of rock. The last step is the crux. Start below a small bulge at the head of a narrow slab. Follow the rib to the final step where committing though short-lived moves overcome the steepness near the left edge.
P. O Leary, S. O Hanlon, J. Aitken 7/8/2005

27 ESPLANADE     40m    HS(4b)
Start 10m right of The Lady of the Lake beneath a slab of knobbly rock. Climb this directly to a ledge. Continue up near the right-hand edge of the slab to a stance below a pedestal; up this and bridge across a gap before trending rightwards along the right-hand rock edge to belay.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 17/8/2005


To the right of the fairly contiguous outcrops of the Main Slabs the hillside becomes more vegetated but there is a scatter of slabs, a few of which have interesting routes.

28 COMMON PURSUITS     40m    HVS(5a)/b
This route follows a long narrow slab about 40m down and right of the routes on the stepped rock rib flanking the right side of Main Slabs.
Start at the lowest point of the slab 2m to the right of a crack. Up directly to thin flakes (protection) and move past these and the bulge above with difficulty. Further up the angle eases. Climb past heather and up another steep but short slab to the right of a crack-line.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 14/8/2005

The next three routes follow parallel lines on an obvious long bulging slab with an overlap near its base.

29 SIDELINE*    33m    HVS(5b)
Start below the overlap about 2m from its left end. Up t the overlap and climb the bulge on thin holds to easier ground. Straight up to finish.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 5/9/2005

30 THE FEELING OF TIME*    33m    E1(5b)
Start below a heel in the overlap and move up and out left past a bulge on thin holds. Continue directly up the slab just left of the crack.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 14/8/2005

31 FRINGE BENEFIT*    33m    HS(4b)
Follows the ribbed line of rock directly above the overlap. Smear up the short slab to the overlap and gain the upper slab via flakes on the right. Enjoyable moves along the ribbed crack-line lead directly to the top.
J. Lyons, 13/8/2005

About 100m to the right of the previous route and below a large overhang there are two slabs separated by a heathery basin. The leftward one is narrow and edged by a long diagonal wall, the slab to the right is roughly triangular and whitish in colour.

32 STRUNG UP     18m    VS(4c)
This takes a diagonal line from the bottom right to the top left on the knobbly grey wall forming the left flank of the narrow slab. Follow a high line close to the arete and exit right onto the top of the narrow slab to finish.
J. Lyons, 2/9/2005

33 ALIEN CALL     18m    HS(4b)
Takes the narrow slab, following a line to the right of the arete.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 5/9/2005

34 A WHITER SHADE OF PALE*    35m    HVS(4c)
Takes a central line up the steep triangular slab. Move up over the quartzy breaks to the base of the slab. Follow a diagonal line to the recess (dubious friend protection). From here step left to the centre of the slab and follow a steepening central line to the its apex.    
J. Lyons, S. O Hanlon, P. O Leary, J. Aitken 7/8/2005

35 SHINY SHINY BRIGHT*    35m    HVS(4c)
Start as for A Whiter Shade of Pale. Climb the main slab for 1m and traverse right till directly below the niche. Straight up this in the direction of the arete a few metres above; up the right side of the slab to finish.
J.Lyons, 19/7/2006

Some what up the hill and 20m to the right of the last two climbs there is a single climb on an undercut slab.

36 SUDDEN TWITCH     35m    VS(4c)
Start beneath the undercut slab about 3m right of its left side at a blind V-shaped crack.
Gain the slab with difficulty, using an incut hold above on the left. Move directly up to gain the left side of a large scoop. Move right and exit the scoop and continue up the long slab above, finishing to the left.
J. Lyons, D. Wall, 7/8/2006


This is the last noteworthy outcrop towards the right of the hillside. To the right of it there is a deep-cut gully. The buttress consists of steeply angled narrow ramps leading up to generally less steep slabby rock above. There are three routes on the buttress.

37 CLEAN SWEEP     18m    VS(4c)
Start below a runnel at the bottom left of the buttress. Climb this to the slab above. Continue up near the left edge before a steep exit moving right.
J. Lyons, D. Wall 17/8/2005

38 ARMIDGEDDON*    10m    HVS(5a)
Starts about 10m uo the right side of the buttress below a narrow ramp just left of the second block. Step onto a foot-ledge at the base of the ramp and gain a small quartz ledge dierectly above. Move up and grapple with the large block above, surmounting it on the right.
J.Lyons, D. Wall, 16/8/2006

39 SECLUSION     10m    HS(4b)
Takes the last clean ramp to the right of the buttress. Climb the ramp past an overlap to a steep exit on the left.
J. Lyons 2/9/2005