Iorras - Gleann Lára

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Leithinis an Mhuirthead (the Mullet Peninsula)—also known as an Mhuirthead ( the Mullet) —is a peninsula in the barony of Iorras (Erris) in the Gaelteacht in County Mayo. It consists of a large promontory connected to the mainland at Béal an Mhuirthead (Belmullet) by a narrow isthmus. At its northern end is the townland of Gleann Lára and all the climbs listed here are in that townland as is Ceann Iorras (Erris Head).

Getting there
Starting from American Street in Béal an Mhuirhead continue north straight on L1201 for 3km and then turn left onto a minor road just after a sharp right bend. After another 1.6km turn right at a T-junction. At the next T-junction at the top of a small hill after 1200m make a V turn left. Follow this road to where it ends at parking at Gleann Lára on the shore of An Siolar (Danish Cellar).

There are climbs on the east coast at An Siolar (Danish Cellar) and on the west coast at the north side of An Uaich Bhuí.

An Siolar - Danish Cellar

The routes described below are located on big slabs just east of the car park at Danish Cellar (OS .5 sheet 6, F 708 395). There is great potential for quality new routes in the area.

There are three principal areas of slabs (see Figure 3. New Climbs '82), all west-facing and located on ill-defined headlands. The top of the first area of slabs is visible from the car park at Danish Cellar and is characterised by the presence of green lichen and a vertical to overhanging headwall. They are reached by crossing a small steep-sided valley and stream adjacent to the car park. The second area of slabs is only a short distance further east and is characterised by large areas of featureless black rock. The third area of slabs is further east again (about 15 minutes walk from the car park). On the right there is a large black slab characterised by white speckles. Left of this the slabs are more complex with cracks and overhangs, but a long leftward-trending crack is characteristic.

The only belays possible on top are wooden or metal stakes, which can easily be driven into the soft bog. The slabs are composed of psammite, a metamorphosed sandstone, and provide extremely unusual climbing in a magnificent situation.

T. Ryan, S. MacGerailt, P. Breen. 10/9/1989
The centre of the crag is split by an obvious dirty groove, usually seeping. This route takes the broad slab left of the groove and finishes up an obvious crack in the steep headwall. A band of overhangs traverses across the bottom half of the slabs. Belay on a small ledge below the dirty groove at the left-hand side of the widest part of the overhangs.

T. Ryan, S. MacGerailt, P. Breen. 10/9/1989
This route starts as for Freaghillaun and takes the slab between the dirty groove and Pathfinder. Start at the base of the dirty groove at the left edge of the widest part of the overhang. Move right across the slab above the wide overhang to a ledge at the base of a vegetated groove. Continue up rightwards on steepening lichenous rock to a vague diagonal crack, hidden in the lichen and climb directly up the overhanging wall above on increasingly large holds to finish at a cleaned ledge at the top. Excellent exhilarating climbing.

T. Ryan, O. Jacob. 1/12/1982
The green lichenous slabs visible from the car park are best viewed from a small promontory just opposite the slab. They are bordered on the right side by a prominent arête and a band of stepwise overhangs crosses the slab from right to left. This route takes the broad slab left of the groove and finishes up an obvious crack in the steep headwall. A band of overhangs traverses across the bottom half of the slabs. Belay on a small ledge below the dirty groove at the left-hand side of the widest part of the overhangs. Pathfinder takes the slab on the right of the dirty groove.Move up left over the overhang. Continue leftwards, up the lichenous slab to reach the crack near the top. Climb steeply up this. Poor protection. Stake belay.

CLEO 43m HVS 4c
T. Ryan, E. Hernstadt, S. Gallwey. 6/3/1983
This route takes a thin crack in the slab just left of the arête, about 7m. right of Pathfinder. Towards the top it climbs the vertical headwall just right of the final groove of Pathfinder. Abseil down and belay on a small ledge below the overlap and 1m. left of the arête.
Climb up to the overlap and gain the slab above. Ascend the thin crack until it runs out and up right to a small ledge just left of the arête and below a small overlap. Step up and follow holds left until it is possible to move back right to a deep diagonal crack below the steeper headwall. Hand-traverse left to below a short thin black crack. Climb steeply past the crack and trend up left (avoiding easy ground on the left) to quartz veins. Continue up steeply, trending left, to the top of the groove of Pathfinder. The top of this route offers very strenuous and spectacular, if somewhat contrived, climbing. Small friends and tricams necessary to protect the top section of the route.

T. Ryan, S. MacGearailt, P. Breen. 10/9/1989
Takes the obvious arête bordering the right-hand side of the crag. Start as for Cleo on a ledge below the overhang at the bottom of the arête. Avoid the overhang by first moving right and then left above it. Climb pleasantly up the left side of the arête to a small ledge below a small overlap (shared with Cleo). Step right onto the arête and up this to a ledge with suspect rock below an overhanging groove. Climb the groove on large holds to the top. (Very little protection on the arête).

The next route is on the third area of slabs

O. Jacob, S. Gallwey. 27/3/1982
This route takes the obvious left-trending diagonal crack on the third area of slabs east of Danish Cellar. Abseil down to a palatial ledge just below an overhang (wooden stake in place; it may be rotten). The climb provides magnificent situations and exposure for the grade. 1. 43m. . Traverse leftwards around the overhang and then up and right to the crack. Follow this to a belay. 2. 43m. Follow the crack and jugs almost to the top. Avoid the grassy finish by traversing left to huge holds on an arête. Stake belay in place.

An Uaich Bhuí - Aill Thuaidh

Access is 20 minutes or so. Follow the Erris Head Loop clockwise across fields and open land from the roadhead on the shore of An Siolar (Danish Cellar) until it is time to branch off left as shown in the diagram at the top of the page.

Aill thuaidh layout.jpg

This is a west-facing sea cliff (An Éadan Thiar) about 35m high divided by two enormous vertical fault-lines or chasms into three distinct buttresses as shown above and a south-facing sea cliff (The Petrified Wave).

Access to the climbing is by a descending ramp to the left for the Éadan ar Clé and Éadan Lárach. The ramp is utterly impassable as between the Éadan Lárach and the Éadan ar Dheis. Abseiling is relevant where some may prefer to leave a fixed abseil in position to facilitate (for instance) multiple parties accessing multiple climbs on the Éadan Lárach, in preference to the walk around.

Base Camp is a matter of choice, but the ramp on Éadan ar Clé, just where the other Buttresses come into view, has become popular.

All directions are given as though looking at the rock from seaward.

The rock is foliated gneiss.

An Éadan ar Clé
Éadan ar Clé

This mainly faces west but also south, where the ramp and also a lower ramp turn inwards / east just before it reaches an Éadan Lárach. Routes are accessed easily by scrambling steeply down a ramp from top left of the access ramp.

1 Gran Gris Traverse S 25m *
Starts at the left-hand end of the west facing wall, near the top of the descent ramp, taking a rising, right-ward trending fault line. Follow this line across the wall, left to right. A ledge with a partially broken section of lighter-toned wall denotes midway. Delicate moves to continue, before passing two small corner sections to finish on the ramp, approximately three-quarters of the wall across.
G. Galligan, Adele Fox 17/07/2021

2 Ciervo Volante VDiff 25m
Takes a direct line 3m from the right-hand end of the wall. Climb up to the wide left-trending ledge. Continue on good features and holds to the top. Good protection.
G. Galligan, Adele Fox 17/07/2021

3 Corner Craic. HS 4b 20m
Start at the cracked left facing corner. Climb the corner with difficulty to gain the slab above. Follow this on good holds to the top.
B. Walker, W. Blanchfield 17/07/2021

4 Shipwreck Scramble V. Diff. 20m
Scramble with caution from the foot of the descent ramp around to the south facing part of the cliff and almost immediately lies a prominent left facing corner, above which a crack steeply accesses another even more prominent left facing corner above. Crux is the crack between the two corners. Nice sitting belay to start. Finishes at Base Camp.
C. Peppard, D. Walsh 17/07/2021

An Éadan Lárach
Eadan lár topo.jpg

5 Céim suas Severe.
Start 2m left of an arched recess. Gain the overlap at its lowest point. Climb the slab above to a recess, follow this to the top.
B. Walker, W. Blanchfield 29.08.2021

6 Céim ar Chlé HS (4b, 4a)
Climb the crack in the right corner of the arched recess to its roof, and escape left onto the slab above. Follow the fault line directly to the terrace. 2.Climb the obvious thin crack to a short chimney and climb this to the top.
B. Walker, W. Blanchfield (Alt. Leads) 28.08.2021

7 San Nicolás VS (4c, 4b) 30m ***
1. Start just right of the recessed arch. Massive thread belay to begin. Climb the outside arête, which trends leftwards, making delicate moves to gain the wide ledge above.
2. At a shallow niche, climb the crack which links to another foot-niche. Then continue up the wall directly to the top, utilising the cracks en route.
G. Galligan, D. Walsh. 29/08/2021

8 Santiago HS 4b 30m **
Starts in the centre of the wall, 3m left of the Black Corner. Climb the thin cracks to gain the equivalent level of the wide ledge above. Avoiding the wide ledge, move up the short broken wall to gain the prominent triangular alcove. Climb out of the alcove, taking the crack above to finish.
G. Galligan, D. Walsh. 28/08/2021

9 Black Corner HS 4c
Climb the corner, exiting right at top, then move up and left to good belay ledges and continue to top.
Paddy O’Brien, Christina Tan 17.07 2021

10 No details

11 Amach Arais Severe.
Start immediately right of Black Corner directly below the obvious overhung chimney in the Left Bulge high above. Climb directly to the chimney and through this on good jugs.
B. Walker, G. Galligan 30.08.2021.

12 Indíreach. V. Diff.
Start in short double corner (with dinky thread belay) 5m right of Black Corner, then jink right and left up cracks to finish up on the right side of the Left Bulge.
David Walsh, Gerry Galligan 28.08 2021

13 Díreach. Mild Severe.
Ascend middle of slab right of short double corner, directly under prominent square cut breach in the Right Bulge above, to gain a ledge with a massive spike belay. Gain the start of the right hand diagonal crack to approach (crux) the Right Bulge and swarm airily through the overhang.
David Walsh, Gerry Galligan 29.08.2021

14 No details

15 Imeall an Anscoilt Uachtar V. Diff.
Climb the right hand edge of the face. Technically easy but psychologically challenging. Hardest move is to make a start – ascend the crack corner which is narrow at first, and as it widens, the cautious may well keep somewhat left while thrill seekers might stick right. Belay on huge airy block.
David Walsh, Gerry Galligan 30.08.2021

16 Claudine MS 22m **
From near the end of the ramp abseil down a crack to a ledge above the sea. Climb back up the crack. Excellent protection throughout.
G. Galligan, B. Walker. 30/08/2021

The Petrified Wave

From the car park follow the loop walk until it breaks left, head along this until you meet a bay on the left. Keeping the bay to your left walk and scramble to the furthest point of the head land.

1. The break HVS 5a 10m
The first crack encountered when entering the wave. Easy climbing to where the wall kicks out then jug pulling to the top.
H. Hennessy, J. Hennessy 19/6/2021

2.Wipe out E1 5b 12m
Start directly below the second crack, move right at half height to a huge jug then continue direct up a short groove to top.
H. Hennessy (unseconded) 19/6/2021

3.Cutback E2 5c 14
Start just left of a small right facing corner, join Wipe Out until the crack runs right follow this with increasing difficulty.
H.Hennessy (unseconded) 19/6/2021

4.The best wave in Mayo E4 6a 15 m
This route follows the continuous crack at the left end of this incredible cliff. Climb the line of the crack also using positive holds on the face. A bit runout, a class route
Mick Walsh, unseconded, 27/08/2011 (Practiced on top-rope)

An Uaich Bhuí - Aill Theas

Aill o dheas.jpg

This area has not yet been written up