Little Binnian

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Little Binnian, lying at J317225 south-west of Slieve Binnian, is sufficiently low lying to avoid most of the cloud and can catch whatever sun is going. Also it is easily reached by a short walk (about half an hour). The crag is split in two by a gully and the climbs mainly take slabs on either side that are clean but many of the routes on the right-hand side are marred by crumbly, even rotten rock.

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The recommended approach starts from limited parking spaces at the bottom of a lane that leaves the Head Road at a cross-roads (J319209) just south of the Brackenagh Cross Water Bridge. It may be possible to park at the head of the lane, but ask for permission at the house if anyone is about, and in any event park through the gate to avoid any possibility of inconvenience to the farmer. From the head of the lane the bottom of the gully is reached by following the obvious path that joins the wall running down from the crag.

From the bottom of the gully an obvious corner is visible on its left-hand side which is Eye of the Tiger and on the right of the gully is a slab with a quartz dyke capped by a headwall. The quartz dyke is the first pitch of Ivy Dyke.

The first climbs listed are on the left-hand side of the gully and are described in ascending order while the remainder are on the opposite side and described in descending order.

Poggy Pinnacle 55m D
P. Gribbon, M. McMurray. 11/54.
A disjointed route with a crumbly start. Start at the obvious pinnacle 12m below the obvious corner of Eye of the Tiger.
1) 18m Climb green diedre to a heather ledge on the left with a belay at the far end.
2) 37m Follow the slabs to the summit finishing the climbing at a slight recess in the slab.

Lonesome Road * 25m E2 5c
P. Douglas. 9/8/79.
A gymnastic route with a difficult start and finish. Start just below the first rock step in the gully and below two obvious pockets and large flake on the left-hand gully wall. Using pockets step left and gain layback flake. Up this and diagonally right along wide ramp. Short hard corner to finish.

Lonesome Road Direct 25m E3 5c
Paul McArthur, Ricky Young, 14-May-2000.
Start below obvious pocket in the wall. Climb direct from the ground using the small pocket to reach the flake. Before reaching the wide ramp, move left and up the crack to finish.

Spooked E5/6 6b *
Eddie Cooper, Jeremy Suffern 7/8/2005
A fine technical and sustained route. Start as for Lonesome Road Direct. Up to small pocket then right to large hole, 2.5 friend. Boldly up wall to horizontal crack with pocket, small wires. Difficult moves straight up lead to the ramp of Lonesome Road which is followed to top.

Eye of the Tiger * 25m E4 6b
S. Reid, A. Whitcroft (One Rest Point). 6/11/83. E. Cooper, A. Moles (First free ascent). 25/6/88.
Start the obvious corner above the first rock step. Climb towards peg, move right and gain shelf using flake. Move onto left wall and slabs above. Trend left on slab to easier ground.

Don't Fear the Reaper E5 6a **
Eddie Cooper, Solo. Spring 04.
Start at the arete right of Eye of the Tiger. Move up and then left to a series of flakes which are followed with care. Step up and onto the slab above finishing slightly rightwards up a crack.

Zombie Right-hand E4 6b **
Eddie Cooper, Martin Manson, Spring 04.
Start on the grassy ledge 3m right of Don't Fear the Reaper. Move left and up onto the slab above, technical crux. Place gear in pockets and continue up to a rising right trending line to join Refugee for its' last few moves.

Zombie E6 6b ***
Eddie Cooper, Mark Rocks, Spring 04.
A tremendous line, technical then bold. Start on the grassy ledge 3m right of Don't Fear the Reaper. Move left and up onto the slab above, technical crux. Place gear in pockets and continue up and slightly left to pocked crack, take a deep breath and follow it to the top. Top-roped prior to first ascent

Pyralysis 25m HVS 5b
P. Kenny, M. Monaghan. 10/55.
A real grunt to start but easy after that. Start the crack in the left-hand gully wall 3m below the third rock step. Thrutch up the crack to chockstone (moveable but sound) and continue up easier-angled slab above.

Refugee * 25m El 5b
I. Rea, R. Bankhead. 22/4/90.
The open slab on the upper part is only 5a but protection is doubtful. Start as for Pyralysis Climb to just above the chockstone then move out left to a series of edges and scoops that lead to a delicate move in the middle of the slab (A poor sling runner may help.) Continue left a bit and then finish back right.

The next four routes start just above the third rock step. The line of pock marks going straight up on the left is Stepping Out while the one further right and trending right is Nig Nog, a classic slab climb of its grade. Dead On is the delicate route parallel and 1m to the right of Nig Nog.

Stepping Out 20m VS 4c
G. Murray. 4/7/84.
No protection but the technical crux is at the start. Start at the edge of third rock step on flat boulder. Step delicately left onto slab. Follow pock marks diagonally left and then straight up to top.
Variation Direct Finish 20m VS 4c After stepping onto slab head straight up passing a brown pebble to top. G. Murray (Solo). 9/91.

Nig Nog ** 27m VS 4c
P. Gribbon. 3/10/53.
Again no protection but the initial bulge is the technical crux. After this easier but steadiness still required. Start 1m right of Stepping Out. Pirouette over the bulge onto the slab and tiptoe up the rightward-trending pock marks.

Dead On * 27m E1 5a
J. Ibbotson, R. Holt. 9/8/79.
Yet again no protection. Start as for Nig Nog. Pull up over the bulge onto slab and move right for 1m. Continue up until a very shallow groove can be followed to where it turns leftwards. From here climb rightwards until an orange pebble and then a large horizontal crack above it can be reached. Follow knobbly dyke finishing directly up the short slab where the dyke branches right. A direct start is possible 1m right of Nig Nog by stepping left off the boulder then straight up to the very shallow groove.

Braveheart 25m E3 5c
G. Murray, T. Mercer, B. James. 23/9/95.
Guess what? No protection. Start 3m right of Nig Nog at two small pockets close to the ground. Make a hard pull onto slab and move left to the shallow groove of Dead On. Climb this groove (as for Dead On) but continue straight up to break and easier ground to belay.

Timewarp 20m HS 4a
N Browne. (solo) 14/09/03.
Start: Grass and heather ledge on left side of gully, 20 metres above start of Nig-Nog. Tiptoe carefully down the ledge from the rock step and clamber onto the slab. Hand traverse the line of pock marks leading horizontally left. Most of the moves aren't particularly hard, but the very exposed situation and (typical Wee Binnian) lack of protection combine to make the route serious. Variation: Can also be traversed with feet on the pocks for a grade of approx. VDiff/S.

Should've Remembered The Quickdraws 20m V.Diff
N Browne, P Hutchinson, 20/09/03.
Start: as for Timewarp, but once on the slab climb directly up the vertical crack. Clamber round the small tuft of heather and finish directly up the slab, across the white patch of rock.

Sequel 25m HS 4c
G. Murray. 4/7/84.
Start 8m right of Nig Nog at pockets. Climb pockets to reach good jug, and pull up strenuously (crux). Then traverse left and finish up the Dead On knobbly dyke or directly up slab (overall grade then becomes VS).

The next three routes start about 10m further up and across the gully from Sequel at a final step in the gully capped by a large pointed boulder on left. 2m right of the step is a crumbling slab delineated by two grooves. The left-hand groove is obvious because of the hanging flake, 3m above the ground, climbed by Cithogue. The right-hand groove is Valentine. The first route described is located 3m left of Cithogue and 1m left of an off-width crack above the step in the gully.

Longstone Rib 10m S 4a
I. Rea, M. Rea. 6/4/90.
Start at small niche. Up into niche and exit out right via good flake. Finish up arete above.

Cithogue 18m HVS 5a
S. Rothery. 19/9/54.
Start at the left-hand groove in the crumbly slab. Climb groove until it is possible to gain hanging flake. Layback this to a grassy ledge on left. Continue more easily up the groove above.

Valentine 25m VD
P. Gribbon, T. Nevin, M. McMurray. 14/2/53.
Crumbly at the start but a good finish. Start at the right-hand groove. Up groove with one steepening to a ledge above large flake on right (possible belay). Step left onto an exposed slab and finish past a broken flake at the top.

Tochar 35m D
A poor route starting about two-thirds of the way up the gully at a V-shaped recess with a large rock flake lying against its grassy bank and 4m right of Valentine. Climb the recess and follow easiest route up slabs.

Daylight Robbery S 4b
G. Clarke, T. Wilson. 8/7/90.
Another poor route spoilt by crumbly rock starting about halfway between Tochar and Diamond at two pocks below a large flake. Climb the pocks on the wall to the flake and surmount the flake, move left across holdless slab to gain a pocked groove (crux), up this and on up to the top.

Diamond * 25m VD
F. Winder, D. Sloan. 18/7/54.
A pleasant surprise that avoids the bad rock. Start just above the third rock step directly opposite Stepping Out. Climb into a slabby recess and step right. Surmount the diamond above (crux) and then follow the crack. Variation Twhit 25m S 4a Ascend the steep smooth slab on left to doubtful flake. Traverse right to Diamond or continue up more directly.

Daylight Dreams 25m E4 6a
G. Murray, T. Mercer, B. James. 23/9/95.
A worrying route on gritty rock. Start below Diamond at obvious scoop and pointed flake. Climb up onto broken flake. Up slab passing crumbly overlaps just right of crack. Step out right onto slab and boldly climb a very faint pocketed seam to break and then left up groove to belay.

Fatal Hesitation 30m E3 6a
G. Murray, T. Duffy. 7/10/86.
As the crux is near the start your second should belay with the rope in one hand and the car keys in the other! Start on a grass ledge below a thin pocked line directly opposite the distinct chockstone crack of Pyralysis and below Diamond. Step out right to a small foothold then back left to tiny ledge. Up the thin pocked crack moving right around the bulge to where angle eases. Step left, up the slab to a large flake and climb slab above by left slanting groove on the left.

Ghosts 30m HVS 5a
I. Rea, M. Rea. 6/4/90.
An interesting line on solid rock especially for this side of the crag. Start as for Fatal Hesitation on grass ledge. Step out right to a small foothold, then up and diagonally left crossing above the crux of Fatal Hesitation. Continue horizontally left on a good sloping foot traverse to gain short corner of Diamond. Finish up crack which splits slab right of Diamond. The final crack combined with a start up Diamond is a worthwhile combination at VS.

The next route is one-third of the way up the gully above the second rock step and about 5m above a small subsidiary gully in the right-hand gully wall, where it becomes relatively free of heather at two cracks.

Christmas ** 37m VD
M. McMurray, P. Gribbon. 25/12/52.
A nice combination of different pitches with a fine but intimidating final groove. Start at the cleaner right-hand crack. 1) 15m Climb the crack, move right and pull up over rounded blocks to belay. 2) 9m Pull up on good flakes or step right round the corner and up the loose chimney. 3) 13m The airy holdless groove leading up right or straight up the slab (harder).

Ivy Dyke * 43m S 4a
E. Innes, P. Gribbon. 13/6/53.
Good open climbing on the slab and then a thrutch. Start to the right of the gully at a slab with a quartz dyke capped by a headwall above. 1) 28m Follow the dyke in the slab. 2) 15m The cleft above. Crumbly but adequately protected.

Ivy Dyke Eliminate 45m VS 4c
S. Billane.
Start just right of Ivy Dyke. 1) 30m Make a route up the slab between Ivy Dyke and the grassy right-hand edge. Belay below corner. 2) 15m Climb the steep wall right of corner on good but doubtful holds until it is possible to pull back left into corner.

A poor route has been climbed around the corner to the right of the Ivy Dyke slab and takes the obvious wide grassy crack above the heathery slabs (HS/VS).

There are short boulder problems at the top of the gully on the right and a few mini-routes on the north-west side of the tor overlooking Silent Valley. Best of the bunch on this side is Bone (E1) just right of a boulder-filled gully consisting of a layback and a rounded groove above.