The crag is situated on the north side of Glencar valley and comprises the two-tier buttress high above the western end of the Glencar Lake (Grid Ref. 733445, Sheet 16, Sligo, Leitrim, Fermanagh, Donegal).
Take the Manorhamilton Road from Sligo (N16) for about 8 km, then follow the scenic route around Glencar lake to a layby on the lake shore, just past a shrine of 'Our Lady', at the north-west end. Cars can be parked beside the lake. The crag can be seen at the top of a hill to the right of a line of pylons.
The landowner has requested that the old access route following the line of the overhead mine cable no longer be used. This is due to a couple of issues. 1) There are horse in the field, 2) there is a dispute about some excavation near the shrine.
Access should now be as follows.
Walk west along the road and pass the excavations. Take a track just beside the first house on the right after the excavation. Follow the track past the house and exit the farmyard via a gate.. follow the fence at the left side of the field and enter the next field via a gate just left of an old derelict house. On entering the next field, walk in the direction of the crag and you will eventually find an old track. Follow this for a short distance to a point where the ground rises steeply to join the wide grassy ramp leading to the crag. Approximately 30 minutes. The Lower Tier is reached from the Upper Tier and not from below.
The crag is 300 metre long and between 17 and 33 metres high. It is a piece of beautiful south facing grey reef limestone and gives steep climbing. The rock is compact and possesses a rough texture, offering excellent friction and abundant finger pockets. Care should be taken with the finish of most routes. The holds and the grades tend to be rather sharp. Metal stakes were placed at regular intervals along the top of the crag by Dalriada Climbing Club in 1977. Some of these stakes are well back from the edge of the cliff. The crag has an upper and a lower tier with most of the climbing being on the upper tier. The lower tier is of a lower quality, but still good, and between the two a pleasant grassy ridge, perfect for sunbathing or photography - weather permitting.
Approach via the grassy ramp at the left end of the crag which leads to a large flake crack (Ferdia).
The descent from the upper tier is by walking down steep grass at the right end of the crag. There is also an abseil chain, near the top of Maeve and opposite the Landmark Boulder.
THE MAD SWEENEY 24m E2 5c Calvin Torrans, Eddie Cooper 1983 Superb bridging in the corner and fantastic positions on the wall. The route climbs the hanging corner just left of Simple Pleasures and continues across the wall in an arching jam crack to join Ferdia. Finish up Ferdia.
SIMPLE PLEASURES 24m E1 5b Calvin Torrans, Dermot Somers 2nd May 1981 A man-eating offwidth crack. Sustained, strenuous and painful. The route takes the obvious deep overhanging crack on the left side of the crag. Climb the crack to the overhang, move right to a huge flake and layback into a niche. Continue to the top exiting right.
HARLEQUIN 24m E4 6a Eddie Cooper, Calvin Torrans Spring 1985 The route takes the obvious line between Simple Pleasures and Ferdia. Ascend the wall passing a bulge just above a good flake and continue up until possible to move leftwards into the curving corner of The Mad Sweeney. Follow this to the point where the undercut traverse starts. Move left through the overlap and continue to the top with less difficulty.
FERDIA 28m HVS 5b Ken Higgs, Tom Ryan 5th March 1977 Airy climbing on an exposed arte. The route takes the flake crack, moves left around the overhang and into the clean-cut corner. Climb flake crack to ledge below overhang at 12 metres. Step up delicately and move left around overhang to corner crack. Climb crack past jammed block to a resting place below a clean-cut overhanging corner. Move up corner for a metre to gain small sharp finger holds on the right wall. Using these traverse across the wall to the arte (crux) and up this to a small stance. Step up and move left, finishing with care. Metal stake belay well back.
CLAIOMH 24m E1 5c Eddie Cooper, Tim Snaith 1984 The Sword. Climb the front of the arte right of Ferdia to the ledge at half height. Move into the corner and climb it directly to the top.
ABOVE THE SALT ** 30m E2 5c Calvin Torrans, Clare Sheridan 16th April 1977 Start 5 metres right of Ferdia below the prominent white scar which is situated near the top of the crag. Climb a short shallow groove to a horizontal crack, move up and left on pockets to reach a deep jug. Traverse left on jugs to reach a short corner (difficult to enter). Up corner to a ledge on the left. From the large rocking block, traverse right with feet level with the bottom of the block. Make a wide bridge to reach jugs and continue up the wall on pockets to a thin crack on the right side of the white scar (scoop). Move left and climb into the scoop with difficulty. A small jug and side-pull are used to reach the crack and jammed blocks. Climb the crack to reach flat holds and a poor jam (crux). Keep left near the top. Stake belay.
To the right of Above The Salt there is a steep clean wall with a flattened bush ( The Burning Bush ) at half-height.
THE BURNING BUSH *** 26m E2 5c Owen Jacob, Ken Higgs 30th May 1982 Strenuous, technical and poorly protected. There are three cracks leading up to the bush. Start at the left one. Climb up to a horizontal break and move right to the centre crack and up to a ledge. Climb to the left around the bush to the base of two parallel cracks. Up the right crack, occasionally using the left one, until forced into the left crack. Climb this (sustained) until hidden jugs over the bulge on the left near the top can be reached. Small block belay.
IMITHE LEIS NA CRAOBHACHA ** E1 5c Calvin Torrans, Clare Torrans August 1983 Away with the branches! An excellent crack just right of the bush, leading to some steep wall climbing. Climb the crack below and just right of the bush. Continue up the crack which peters out. Continue up the wall until a jug on the right is reached. Move right to finish.
Just to the right of The Burning Bush, a steep crack runs the complete length of the wall (Warthog).
WARTHOG ** 27m HVS 5b Ken Higgs, Tom Ryan 5th March 1977 Delightful crack climbing. Start 2 metres left of a 3 metre triangular pinnacle leaning against the wall. Climb the strenuous crack until possible to bridge onto a flake on the left wall. Continue steeply to good holds at the horizontal break at half-height and rest at a small ledge on the right. Step back left and climb the crack passing an awkward protruding block, continue more easily to the top of the crack. Traverse diagonally right to a grassy ramp and the top. Stake belay.
HALFBREED 27m HVS 5a Ken Higgs, Tom Ryan 5th March 1977 Start at the base of a crack which forms the left hand side of the triangular pinnacle. Climb the crack to the top of the pinnacle. Move up the steep crack on the left (crux) to reach sidepulls further left. Continue up ,trending leftwards to a stance. Climb up rightwards to a good ledge below a bulging wall. Traverse left to the protruding block on Warthog. Finish up Warthog to the top.
TEFLON 24m E2+H165 6a Robbie Fenlon, Alan Millar 1986 This route takes the vertical crack just left of Strongbow. Start as for Strongbow. Continue up the vertical crack until it peters out. Move diagonally left to reach a ledge. Climb the bulge via a crack and face holds to reach a poor jam. Using this reach a sloping hold on the right. Surmount the bulge (crux). Climb the vague groove above. Continue directly to the top.
STRONGBOW * 24m VS 4c Tom Ryan, Ken Higgs September 1977 An excellent route with a crux requiring faith and commitment. Many hours have been spent summing up the courage. Start at the base of the crack which forms the right-hand side of the triangular pinnacle. Climb the crack to the top of the pinnacle. Trend rightwards up a crack to a spacious ledge. Climb the short wall above until possible to move leftwards onto a blocky ledge. Climb the bulging wall to reach hidden jugs on the slab above (crux). Continue more easily to the top.
TATTOOED TEARS ** 24m E2 5c Calvin Torrans, Robbie Fenlon 15th June 1987 An excellent route on steep pocketed rock with a good wall and crack to finish. Start just left of Condor beside the crack of Sunbane. Climb the wall just left of the crack of Sunbane. Good small jugs lead to a deep short crack above on the left. Gain the ledge above and continue up the double cracks to a groove on the right. Move left and climb the wall to the top.
SUNBANE 24m E1 5c Keefe Murphy, Tom Ryan July 1983 Start 4 metres left of Condor at the thin crack. Climb the crack to a large ledge. Climb over a bulge into the vague groove and follow this to the top, moving left at first and then back right.
CONDOR 27m HVS 5a Tom Ryan, Ken Higgs, 4/3/1977 The right-hand side of the The Burning Bush wall is flanked by an obvious corner. Climb the corner easily until it becomes square-cut and vertical at mid-height. Using finger jams surmount this section (crux) to good holds. Trend leftwards avoiding loose rock to the top.
Right of Condor there is a bulging buttress which falls into a depression and followed by a very steep face where the next routes are to be found.
RAB C 26m E3 6a Calvin Torrans, Howard Hebblethwaite June 1988 Start down and right of Condor. Climb the cracks and blocks to a small sapling, traverse right to the overhang, protection in a crack down on the right. Climb the break in the overhang to good finishing jugs and continue to the top avoiding loose rock by keeping to the left.
BOUDOIR BLUES ** 40m E4 6a Donie O'Sullivan, Robbie Fenlon June 1988 Excellent climbing up the buttress. One third of the way up this buttress is a prominent niche. Start below and left of the niche. Climb the wall to recess under a bulge. Pull over the bulge and traverse left on a line of jugs to a foothold rest. Move up and right to gain the niche. Turn the base of the niche on the right to reach a crack system. Follow this to its end and then move left across the wall to gain another system which is followed to the top.
LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE *** 26m E2 5c Tom Ryan, Keefe Murphy 10th October 1982 A great route which involves difficult bridging, a sensational move over a bulge and a hand ripping crack to finish. This route takes the conspicuous straight crack high up on the wall right of Condor. Start below a shallow corner under the crack. Climb the corner until the crack leads left to a foothold. Climb steeply up to another foothold beneath a sloping ledge. Step right into a short groove and up to a bulge. Climb over this on the right (crux) and gain a small ledge below the crack. Climb the sustained crack to the top. Stake belay.
SERPENTS TAIL * 27m E2 5c Keefe Murphy, Tom Ryan July 1983 Start about 4 metres left of Weekend Warrior just left of a right facing corner. Climb the left slanting crack on jugs to an obvious horizontal break. Move left along the break (delicate) to where the steep short crack goes straight up. Follow the crack (crux) until possible to step right onto a slab. Follow the corner of the slab to the steep corner and climb this. Climb more or less directly to the top. Reported to be easier than it looks!
WEEKEND WARRIOR ** 30m E1 5c Calvin Torrans, Clare Sheridan 1980 Start at the right hand side of the depression at the detached flake beneath a crack which runs to the top of the crag. Climb up over the flake to a thin crack. Up the crack to an overhanging groove and crack. Climb the groove (crux) with a good flake on the right. Continue up the crack to the top.
FINE TIME 30m E4 6a Howard Hebblethwaite, Willie Rock July 1994 Climbs the crack just right of Weekend Warrior.
RAM ROD ** 27m E5 6a Howard Hebblethwaite June 1988 Takes the crackline up the wall left of Leda. Follow the sustained crack to a rest below a bulge. Continue through the bulge with difficulty until the crack ends at a flake. Traverse right to a larger flake and a good rest. Climb the crack on the right to reach the finishing moves of Leda.
PAINTED BLACK 30m E4 6a Howard Hebblethwaite Starts just right of Ramrod.
LEDA ** 30m E1 5b Calvin Torrans, Clare Sheridan 17 April 1977 Excellent wall climbing with an acrobatic crux. Start immediately right of the undercut part of the face is a huge flake. The route starts up a crack formed by the left side of the flake. Climb the blocky crack to reach a deep crack behind the flake. Continue up the crack to a small sloping ledge on the left. Keeping this ledge at shoulder level traverse left for 2 metres to good ledge and crack. Climb crack to reach good jug on right. A series of jugs lead up right to a bulging wall, from the foot of the wall move up and left to a narrow ramp (crux). Use a sloping hold to reach a deep crack at the back of the ramp. Finish slightly left to top. Stake belay.
FERGUS 23m S 4a Clare Sheridan, Calvin Torrans, 5/3/1977 Start one metre right of Leda. The route takes the obvious corner with the cracked right wall. Climb easily up left to a vegetated ledge. Continue past a small holly tree and climb the corner on good bridging holds and using cracks on right hand wall to reach bulge near the top. Climb the bulge and continue up easier ground to top.
Some 10 or 12 metres right of Fergus there is a Landmark Boulder, thirty foot high with a sharply cracked surface. The next batch of routes start in the vicinity of this boulder.
MONGOOSE 30m E1 5c Keefe Murphy, Tom Ryan, J. Price June/July 1983 Start at or on a large block directly below the finish of Sparrow or Hawk. Climb the thin crack (crux) to good holds and then up to the finish of Sparrow and Hawk. Beware of large dubious flake on the left near the start.
SPARROW ** 30m VS 4c Calvin Torrans, Clare Sheridan, 5/3/1977 One metre left of Landmark Boulder there are two prominent diagonal cracks trending right to left. this route takes the lower diagonal crack. Start at the base of the flakey crack left of Landmark Boulder. Climb the crack to a huge flake at the start of the diagonal crack. Climb the diagonal crack using good jugs on the lip of the crack to a yellow stain on a steep wall (resting place). Up the wall on jugs and move slightly left at the bulge. Easier climbing to top.
MOURNE RAMBLER * 25m HVS 5a Dawson Stelfox, Robert Lawson 1980 An excellent climb which provides technical climbing with protection which must be worked at. Start 1 metre right of Sparrow. Climb the vertical crack, cross Hawk at mid-height, and climb directly over the central bulge on good jugs. Exit left below the top overhang.
HAWK ** 33m HVS 5a Calvin Torrans, Clare Sheridan 16th April 1977 This route takes the upper diagonal crack. Start opposite the Landmark Boulder. Climb the bulge on flakey jugs to a ledge at the foot of the corner. Traverse left along sloping ledge to reach the start of the diagonal crack. Climb the crack on good jugs (good protection) to the bulge above the yellow stain on Sparrow. Up and left to finish.
MAEVE 18m VS 4b Clare Sheridan, Calvin Torrans March 1977 Route takes the obvious left facing corner opposite the Landmark Boulder. Start as for Hawk. Climb the bulge on flakey jugs to a small ledge at the foot of the corner. Continue up the corner on good holds to gain the steep part of the corner above. Climb this by thin bridging moves (crux) to the overlap. Move left over the overlap, easier climbing to top.
WALL WALKER 30m E2 5c Eddie Cooper, Calvin Torrans 1983 Poor protection and a sustained crux make this a serious lead. Climb the wall right of Mourne Rambler.
THE BOULDER 10m VS 4c J. Price, Tom Ryan June 1983 Climb the steepest right hand side of the Landmark Boulder up a series of cracks.
AILLILL 20m VD Clare Sheridan, Calvin Torrans 16th April 1977 Climb Maeve to the foot of the steep part of the corner and follow an easier line right and up a series of corners to the top.
OCRAS 23m HVS 5a Dermot Somers, S. Darby 2nd May 1981 Starvation. Start opposite the right hand end of Landmark Boulder. Climb the obvious crack in a little groove for 6 metres. Continue up delicately, trending slightly right to ledge near the top of Teach An Asail. Climb directly up from the left end of the ledge. (Starved of protection.)
TEACH AN ASAIL 18m VS 4b Dermot Somers, Noel Maguire 1977 The donkey's house. About 6 metres right of Landmark Boulder there is a short corner at the top of the crag which is approached from the left by a short ramp. Start right of Landmark Boulder and just left of an obvious flake crack. Climb the groove on good holds. Move slightly left to a small stunted bush. Good holds lead to the right hand end of the ramp and exit via the corner.
DEOCH AN UASAIL 18m VS 4b Dermot Somers, Emmet Goulding May 1975 The nobleman's drink. Start immediately right of Teach An Asail. Climb the easy obvious crack moving slightly right to reach a crack at the side of a large left pointing block at about 6 metres. Move left until directly below a short corner near the top of the crag and about 5 metres right of the top of Teach An Asail. Climb the corner, which has a small blunt overhang and exit.
To the right of Deoch An Uasail there is an area of poor gullied rock followed by a steep section with it's bulging headwall underlined by a prominent horizontal crack.
BACK ROW FROLICS 24m HVS 5a Calvin Torrans, Eddie Cooper 1983 Takes the crack left of Bedroom Boredom. Climb the crack to a good ledge. Move around left and climb the juggy wall.
Variation, Direct Finish 24m E3 5c Calvin Torrans, Clare Torrans 1986 As for Back Row Frolics to the ledge. Follow the corner groove going up and right on to the main face (small wires). Move right and climb the corner up and right. Make a blind move to reach a jug (crux). Continue up the wall above.
BEDROOM BOREDOM 27m HVS 5a Dermot Somers, Emmet Goulding, John Colton May 1975 An enticing line, the steep crack and exciting traverse give good value for 5a. Start below the left hand side of the prominent horizontal crack at the base of two thin vertical cracks. Climb the parallel cracks to a ledge and possible belay at 9 metres. Thinly traverse right using horizontal hand crack. Finish up a steep blocky groove.
THE BOLSTER * 24m E2 5c Calvin Torrans, Tom Ryan, Robbie Fenlon 14th June 1987 A good route taking the wall right of the double cracks of Bedroom Boredom. Climb easily up ledges to reach a flake. hard climbing leads to a horizontal break above. Follow the diagonal crack to the next break, from the jammed chockstone (good thread) in the break above move up and right to reach a good jug. Continue up the wall to the top.
The following two routes are hard to locate (especially without a route description!) and are very scrappy.
BILLY'S ROUTE 26m S 4a
APRIL FOOL 10m VD A. Acheson, J. Adams 1st April 1980 Start 3 metres right of Billy's Route directly below a small grass ledge containing several small trees. Climb directly up to the right hand end of the ledge on good holds. Climb the groove above to a steep grass ramp. Move left up the ramp to an obvious roofed chimney. Climb the chimney by bridging and exit on the right. Belay at two metal posts. Well protected but quite loose.
Go to the very right hand side of the upper tier. After a small step down a vague path leads around to the bottom of the Lower Tier. After rounding the corner a gully can be seen coming down on the right. This can also be descended from below the Bedroom Boredom Buttress. The ground below falls away steeply to a vertical drop, so belays are recommended at the bottom of the routes.
ALPHA 24m HVS 5a Calvin Torrans, Clare Sheridan September 1977 About 40 metres left of the descent gully there is a prominent corner leading to overhangs. The route takes the small bulge with a crack, left of the corner, Growling Tortoise. Climb the bulge and crack and continue up the wall on small pockets to reach a good horizontal crack. Move right and climb the crack. Loose rock near the top.
PURGATORY * 30m HVS 5b Ken Higgs, Tom Hand, Dermot Somers 1st September 1979 The centre-piece of the lower tier is the huge groove/chimney which leads to the large overhang. Start at the left hand side of the tier above a small ash tree. The route follows the prominent line around the square cut overhang. Climb the deep groove/chimney to the overhang. Traverse rightwards beneath the overhang and layaway around this (crux) to gain a ledge on the wall above. Climb the wall to the top. Thread belay. A magnificent pitch.
RECIPIENT MAN ** 35m E2 5c Calvin Torrans, Clare Torrans 1986 Tremendous climbing with a roof to finish. Good protection. The climb takes the deep crack 4 metres right of the big corner of Purgatory and just in from a big tree. Gain the crack and follow this to a roof (rock is better than it looks!). Climb this using small jugs up on the right. Finish right at the top with care.
IRONWEED * 35m E4 6a Donie O'Sullivan, Robbie Fenlon June 1988 At the right end of the Lower Tier is an elm tree. Start 2m right of the Elm tree at a short groove with an undercut base. Struggle into the groove and follow this to the small overhang. Climb this and follow the crack above to the arte. Now move left across the wall to gain the next crack. Follow this to the balcony. From the right hand end of this make committing moves up the wall to reach an in-situ peg. Finish out rightwards. Superb and varied climbing.
HAREM SCAREM 35m E3 5c Donie O'Sullivan, O Heary May 1988 Start 4 metres right of the Elm tree at the foot of a right facing corner. Climb the corner to the roof. Thug out rightwards over the roof onto the headwall. Finish up the wall taking care of dubious rock near the top.
GROWLING TORTOISE 35m HVS 5a Ken Higgs, Owen Jacob July 1982 The route starts 4 metres right of the deep corner below a crack in the wall. Climb steeply to gain the crack and climb this to grassy ledges at 20m. Move up and left to join the corner. Follow this and then finish up a short steep wall on the right.
ROOSKY VS 4b Clare Torrans, Calvin Torrans 1982 Start just left of the descent gully on a buttress with an obvious cleaned line. Climb the crack and wall, steep and juggy.