Coum Tay

From Irish Climbing Wiki

The next coum south west from Mahon Falls. It is a large coum facing south-east. Easily reached from the road via a forestry path. It will take about an hour to get there.


Main Cliff and Route One Buttress.


The right hand [Easternmost] section as far as the Dark Cleft.

This is the deep dark split that divides Route One Buttress from the Main Face.
Approach: From the terrace across base of Route One or directly up talus. If the latter, then an initial 3m wet step is by-passed by grass-scrambling on the left.
Climb the narrow ramp on the left until ready to enter the narrowing chimney. Pass behind the wedged boulder, stay in chimney and continue to belay at terrace.
From here, a scramble up the open gully will gain the top or, for a more adventurous alternative, take the stunningly exposed Stegosaurus arete.
G Fogg H Fogg 7/6/2013 Onsight.

2. STEGOSAURUS 45m E1 5b
The bare jagged jutting arete that defines the eastern edge of the open gully above The Dark Cleft.
Tremendous exposure, occasional suspect rock and a technical finish on gritty sandstone. Brilliant.

And yes! it is left at the top, up the bare blunt undercut arete made of gritstonesque rock flecked with white quartz pebbles.
H Fogg G Fogg 7/6/2013 Onsight.

This has, at 55m, the longest single pitch in the Comeraghs.
1. 30m 4b Climb pitch 1 of Crystal-Clear.
2. 55m 5a Climb the sunlit corner which gives continuously interesting and varied climbing that goes on and on all the way to the top. Boulder belay.
[H Fogg 1] G Fogg 2 14/9/2013 Onsight.

4. CRYSTAL-CLEAR 60m E4 4b 5c/6a
Looking up at the Dark Cleft, the arete of Stegosaurus rises up behind and above, defining the left hand edge of a huge diedre. Crystal-clear climbs the right hand face of this feature.
The climbing is reminiscent of face-climbs on Atom Ant wall or Birdman wall in Coumshingaun but topped off with a challenging overhang and headwall.
1 30m 4b To reach the start of the route proper, start from the terrace, well to the right and climb the rocky A-shaped buttress, fixing good protection before making the comfortable traverse left on vegetation. Go around the arete and up the corner to a good stance at the base of the wall.
2 30m 5c/6a Start 2m left of the arete at the mossy crack. Climb the face, go through the centre of the overhang and finish up the headwall.
Easier rock does continue above but this may be avoided by traversing off to the right.
[G Fogg 1] H Fogg 2 31/8/2013 Onsight.

5. ROUTE ONE 55m E2 5a 5c
Looking into the coum,the right-hand [eastern] buttress stands highest. A terrace slants down at 20 degrees to the horizontal below the vertical cliffs. The longest and most continuous section of clean rock rises from the lower [western] end of the terrace. The route follows a right-leaning fault-line that runs straight from bottom to top of this section. Access to the terrace is from the right (East) or else by heading up to the start of The Dark Cleft and gaining the ledge from there.
1. 5a 30m. Follow the vegetated line to the quartz-backed terrace above.
Adequate protection lower down, improves with height.
2. 5c 25m. The large right-facing corner. The anticipated crack for gear at the back of the corner is absent. The blank left wall impends and holds are poor on the back wall which bulges. Short but testing. Above is an easy open-book corner.
It may be advisable to belay at the top of the first corner if you think your second might have some difficulty --- as perhaps, for example, if they are wearing a wellington boot!
Boulder belay at top. Return by traversing right (East).
G Fogg, H Fogg [one rock shoe, one wellie] Onsight. 20/4/2013

6. NUNC DIMITTIS 60m E2 5a 5b/c
5m right of and parallel to Route One. Start 2 or 3m left of Green Gully.
1. 30m 5a. A scruffy start past bonsai furze leads to a clean sound knobbly face with a thin grassy crack providing some protection. Thence by easy but awkward steps to quartzy ledge.
2. 30m 5b/c. Interesting and technical climbing up the vee-grooves. Boulder belay.
G Fogg[1], H Fogg[2] 9/6/2013 Onsight.


Route One Buttress right of The Dark Cleft.


From the Main Central Gully on the left [west] to the Dark Cleft on the right.

At the left hand side of the Main Cliff, is a relatively clean flat face. The first pitch goes up the middle of this.
1. 50m 5b Follow the deceptively innocuous-looking vegetated line up to a thin grassy ledge at two thirds height. Traverse this left around the arete and up the groove to the terrace.
2. 45m 5a Cross the terrace up and right to the obvious chimney/groove with the jenga-like broken blocks at the back. Do not attempt these. Instead, climb the solid right-hand arete, with good protection to the top. Boulder belay. Magnificent belay seat.
H Fogg [1], G Fogg [2] 5/5/2013 Onsight.

A note on the grading All of the routes are quite adventurous. None will have seen any traffic. This is not a bad thing because it means that the routes are in the same condition as at the time of their first ascent. Further cleaning, except for the occasional nut placement, is neither desirable nor necessary.

8. The MIDDLE WAY 45m HVS 5a
Halfway between Urbs Fortitudinis and Solidago.
Easy climbing up to the overhang that spans the broad shallow groove. At this point, take the right hand side. The climbing is immediatly both much harder and less secure.
The obvious continuation would be the top pitch of either Solidago or Urbs F.
H Fogg, G Fogg 28/9/2013 Onsight.

9. SOLIDAGO 80m E2 5b 5a
To the right of the flat section carrying Urbs Fortidudinis, the face is distinguished by three overhangs: the largest and lowest at about 3m. The route starts at the centre of this overhang and goes straight up.
As seems to be the norm for Coum Tay, the first pitch is a lot steeper, harder and longer than it appears from below.
1 30m 5b Summon the resolve to surmount the overhang, being prepared for limited welcome above although rock is reassuringly sound. Comfort and enjoyment increase with height. Wonderful Comeragh climbing.
2 50m 5a Climb the centre of the square jutting buttress the left edge of which is defined by Urbs Fortitudinis. Easy ground gives way to thick pointy sandstone flakes and then to steeper but sounder knobbly rock. Follow the corner formed by the detached pillar/flake and short corner above.
G Fogg [1], H Fogg [2] 21/8/2013 Onsight.

This is on the upper tier, 50m to the right of Solidago.
50m right of Solidago, before the cliff face recedes back, there are two parallel lines. This is the left hand one: a sharp vee groove guarded by a diamond-shaped overhanging block.
Start at a narrow rock ledge. Ascend steep vegetation to start of crack. The first awkward bulge is tackled straight-on. At the overhang [crux],take the direct approach [i.e. on right side] to gain the secure comfort of the groove above.
On the first ascent,loose blocks on the obvious holds above the overhang, as well as a 'death' block sitting on top of the diamond, added considerably to the difficulty and gave not a little anxiety. These are now gone, reducing the grade to probable 5b.
At the top, a small boulder, like an almost-buried tombstone gives a convenient [indeed the only] belay. This is perfectly good so long as the direction of pull is kept low.
G Fogg, H Fogg 28/9/2013 Onsight.

Location: Below the Main Cliff, mid-way between the scree cone of Main Central Gully and that of The Dark Cleft, is the scree cone of Chock Stone Gully. Start up this. Lenticular Clouds is the cleft that goes a good way up through the solid rock band to the left before closing. From a distance,the cleft could be mistaken for a jamming crack; from closer, it can be seen to be off-width. In wet weather only, the line boasts a waterfall but is normally quite dry.
1. 45m 4c. Climb to the left of the cleft with protection to the right. Continue after split closes to a bay and through the overhang to a second bay. Belay here.
Walk left around arete to below second pitch which is the split above, 4m from arete, 5m right of The Eye of the Needle.
2. 45m 4c. Climb up past large flakes and some grass to the pebbly crack. Three small spike boulders provide belay.
G Fogg[1], H Fogg[2] 15/3/2014 Onsight.

Chock Stone Gully provides a very convenient descent back to the starting point but route-finding is tricky and comfortableness with the situation is required.


A scruffier cliff bounded by the Main Central Gully on the right and the clean line of ‘NED’S LEGACY’ on the left. It is split by another dark gully in the centre.

12. NED’S LEGACY 130m HS
Follow a line of scree to a clean water washed corner with crack.
1. 48m 4b. Start up a clean rightward facing corner which eases after the first bulge. Continue left and up to a belay.
2. 50m+ 4a. Continue easily up the rock road until it steepens, then up a short corner, step left and finish on the Comeragh plateau.
C Ennis[1], P Britton[2] 21/7/2013 Onsight.




WET GULLY 100m Grade 3 scramble (1).
This is the first distinct gully in the coum starting from the right side. It follows a small stream all the way up.

This is the gully that splits Route One Buttress. Dangerous at top. For the enthusiast/collector only. Not recommended.
G & H Fogg 9/6/2013

140m XS (1), S.Bender & T. McSweeney Oct 29 2012
This starts after the rock face to the left of "Wet Gully" going diagonally to the right (towards the face). There is a prominant rock pinnacle jutting out just up from the start of the gully. I graded it this way because of the added wet, loose and slippery rock, its scary climbing!
The 2 first pitches cover some easy rocky steps. As it is squite steep and slippy i would recommend belaying your partner.there is good protection to be found for hexes, cams and large nuts. you will need long slings to reduce rope drag.
Pitch 3: Here it starts to get interesting. There are 3 options to choose from. the left one is really steep and slimey (best left for winter), the right one is just a steep grassy slope, but the middle one is great fun. its a steep crag 10m high. Climb this untill small ledge underneath some overhanging rocks, watch out for loose stuff here.traverse to left along small wet ledge to large stance, Belay here.
Pitch 4: Climb rocky step and continue to large boulder, belay here.
Pitch 5: Now you are looking at the reason for the name of this gully. Climb step and go in behind the chock stone, continue to large boulders on left and belay here.
After this just scramble to the top with easy exit.

As per the name. A moist clamber to enter and a rocky step to get past a boulder further up.
First ascent: Ned Curran's granny, Neolithic Period.
First Winter ascent: C Ennis, R Noone 5/12/2010 (the sharp right trending fork in the gully at mid height was taken to give the final pitches)

J. Tremayne, P. Kelly, October, 2017
A route composed almost entirely of grass. Do it in the wet for the full experience.
Start up Main Central Gully. At the steep rocky step (second major obstacle) traverse out left on a grass terrace for 15m and belay.
1. 45m Climb steep grass up the face trending slightly to the right to a big boulder belay(a belay is also available half way up pitch.) 2. 35m Climb the grass/rock ridge to the base of a steep rock wall.
Skirt around the wall easily on its left side and continue to the top.