Great Sugar Loaf

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Main Features

Carraig na gCeann Buttress, Great Sugarloaf. GR O238 142

A quartzite buttress high up on the northeast slope of the Sugarloaf. The buttress faces east, is sheltered from most winds and from mid-March to end of September can be a pleasant suntrap on fine mornings but the sun goes off it by early afternoon and during the winter months it gets no sun at all and is prone to some seepage, so it should not be regarded as a venue for the winter months.



Leave the N11 at junction 8, Kilmacanogue, following signposts for Glendalough but, just before exiting onto the R755 road for Roundwood and Glendalough, turn left onto Quill Road and leave this immediately for the narrow lane on the right, signposted for Fitzsimons G.A.A. pitch. Follow this lane to where it ends at a car park outside the football grounds, making sure not to block vehicle access to the clubhouse.

To the right of the car park a path runs up outside of the trees bordering the football pitch. Follow this for about 50m and go right at a junction, traversing across the hillside on a good path. After a few minutes you come to a low rock outcrop on the right, overlooking a flat, grassy clearing, which is sometimes used as a campsite. Turn sharp left here and follow the path uphill, veering right just after you pass a line of boulders fronted by two rowan trees. The path now traverses to the right again, through a mixture of furze and heather, before climbing steadily towards the crag which can be clearly seen up ahead. Skirt the pond (which often dries up in summer) on the left or right and continue to the foot of the scree. Just over 20 minutes of pleasant walking from the car park to here. Note: while these paths are clearly visible during most of the year, in late autumn they can be shrouded in ferns.

All grades should be taken as provisional. All anchors on top are created using nut, hex or cam placements in the rock. There are further possibilities but good judgment will be needed when choosing which line to tackle. Climbs are described from left to right.

Loafing About.jpg

Loafing About Diff.
This climb takes the narrow, slabby buttress near the foot of the scree Start at the lowest point, below a short, wide crack. Keep to the crest of the rib for the best climbing. Descend by scrambling across right(facing in) for about 20m to a prominent, solitary furze bush, from where a path leads back down to the scree..
G.Moss. L.Convery. 1980. [[File:Sugarloaf3ab.jpg|600px|frameless|center]

Sugar Lump Diff..
This climb tackles a short buttress between Loafing About and the main buttress. Start about 20m up the gully from Loafing About and 1m left of a large boulder at the foot of a buttress. Climb up and diagonally right to gain a good horizontal crack. Continue up, moving across right to the edge and on up to a stance below the furze bush. Descend by the path behind the furze bush. .
G. Moss 20/6/2015.

Sugarloaf6 (1).jpg

THE MAIN BUTTRESS As seen from the foot of the scree the main buttress has three distinct sections which are described, from left to right, as A, B and C Sections. Descent for all routes on the buttress is made by traversing right, facing in, to reach a narrow path leading down to the head of the gully.

SECTION A There is a tall furze bush growing at its foot and two small holly trees growing on the face. The starting points for all the routes on this buttress are best approached by scrambling up diagonally left from the foot of the arête on Section B. The first two routes start from a little ledge just above the base of the furze bush.


1. Raven Chimney Diff. .
In some years a pair of ravens set up home in the chimney, at such times it is best avoided during the nesting season. Start on a small ledge just above the furze bush. Traverse left below a block to the foot of the shallow chimney on the left edge of the buttress. Climb the chimney. .
H.Herzmann. G. Moss 23/7/2014.

2. Use Your Loaf Severe .
Start as for Raven Chimney. Step up left onto a block directly below a niche which is just left of the upper holly tree. Climb up into the niche and continue up the center of the face on small, but good, holds. .
H.Herzmann G. Moss 23/7/2014.

3. Selfraising Flower Diff..
Start on a ledge 2m right of the furze bush. Follow a line straight up, gaining the top of the projecting block from the left and moving left below the upper overhang to finish just right of the holly trees. .
M.Casey. G. Moss 27/4/2013.

4. Half Baked Diff. .
Start as for Selfraising Flower. Climb up, keeping to the right of the projecting block and the upper overhang, before slanting back left, to finish at the highest point, as for Selfraising Flower..
M. Casey G. Moss 27/4/2013.

SECTION B The main feature is a steep face overlooking the approach route. It is separated from Section C by an area of stacked blocks.

5. Sugar Baby HS 4b .
Start 2m down and 4m right of the tall furze bush mentioned above, on a earthen ledge. Climb diagonally right over large blocks to reach a flat ledge in the corner, nearly two meters below a clump of heather and level with the bottom of a short break in the upper section of the face on the right. Make a bold step across right and climb up steeply through the break to finish. Belay well back. .
G. Moss H.Herzmann, B.Burke. 27/9/2014.

6. Sugar Daddy HVS 5a .
Sound rock, solid gear and a short but interesting crux may make this route the classic of the crag. Start at the bottom left of the arête, below the corner. Climb the corner to a wide ledge at about 5m. Make some delicate moves up into the niche on the face and climb the crack above to exit steeply left on good holds. Continue up more easily and belay well back. .
G. Moss B.Lawless 13/9/2014.

7. Sweet Tooth. VS 4b/c .
Start at the foot of the arête. Delicate climbing up the arête leads to more positive holds and good gear below a slightly overhanging section which is taken direct and provides the crux. Continue up more easily. .
G. Moss B. Lawless 13/9/2014.

8. Toute Suite! VS 4c .
This route provides the dividing line between Sections B and C. Start 2m right of the arête. Climb directly to the foot of the short crack in the center of the corner at about two thirds height, keeping left of the stacked blocks. Bridge up the corner, on positive holds, with good pro. .
G. Moss H.Herzmann, B. Lawless 9/6/2015

Note: immediately right of Toute Suite! there is an area of large stacked blocks, these may be unstable and should be avoided. I have marked this area on the topo.

SECTION C. Beyond the area of stacked blocks is a steep arete and roof that guards access to the upper face.

Sugar LumpLump E1 5b at the Great Sugar Loaf

Sugar LumpLump E1 5b .
Start in the area of darker rock, under the middle of the roof. Head up easily to the thin crack (micro cams) splitting the roof where the rock quality improves. Go up and right toward the obvious good protection that continues in the cracks above. From the solid finger locks go left and up for the jug. Easier terrain from here, continue to the top of the crag, enjoying the upper face. A quality route.
Tim Charnecki, Barney Crampton 4/6/2022.


9. Uppercrust HVS 5a .
A bouldering start leads to easier climbing. Start near the right edge of the buttress and right of an overhanging corner, on a boulder below a small overhang at 2m. Make strenuous moves to surmount the overhang, then traverse left to the foot of a crack which is followed pleasantly to the top. .
G. Moss J.Byrne 11/08/2012.

10. Crumbs Mod. .
Start at the right edge of the buttress, 4m right of Uppercrust, on a boulder below a wide, slanting crack. From the top of the boulder enter the crack system and follow it to the top .
G. Moss 22/9/2013