Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Tory Island rock climbing. Donegal, Ireland

 Tory Island lives 10 KM off the west coast of Donegal and is the most remote inhabited island in Ireland. The North East coastline of Tory provides nearly 5km of outstanding adventure climbing in a truly wild, remote and beautiful location. This coast line has everything a rock climber could wish for from single pitch slabs, an excellent collection of Sea Stacks right through to terrifying 90m cliffs and it is almost all currently unclimbed. :-)
 At the far eastern tip of the island lives a true anomaly of rock architecture, pointing north and running for 400m out to sea is the mother of all sea ridges. The ridge is on average 50m high and joins the Anvil summit at it's southern end and the mighty Tormore Summit, Tory's 2nd highest point at it's northern end. It was this ridge that drew us back to Tory Island for yet another adventure.
 Travelling as a team of four, Aidan Mc Ginley, Caoimhe Gleeson, Stephen "Jock" Read, myself and Oscar the dog arrived on the island after a mildly tetchy crossing on the wee ferry and immediately made our way east across the island to arrive at the headland overlooking the mother of all ridges.

Tormore Ridge Film

Gearing up on Tory Island

The Anvil Tory Island

The first big drop

 Jock and I racked up in silence as the south winds blew across our headland as 100m to the east of our location the ridge looked suitably atmospheric and mildy daunting.
 Due to Jock's fine performances in the leading department over the past couple of outings it was decreed that it was "my lead," and so a monster rack was deposited on my harness and we set off. Aidan, Caoimhe and Oscar in the meantime settled themselves in different locations to take pictures and ponder the foolish ways of rock climbers.   

The first vertical step

 Over the couple of recces that had carried out of the ridge we decided to move alpine style roped together as much as possible and pitch any vertical sections as we came across them. 
 The first 150m were covered in this manner until a couple of very exposed vertical sections were pitched at about severe. It was extremely atmospheric to be scrambling one minute and the next to be poised over a 50m vertical drop the next, thankfully the rock was excellent and presented many opportunities for good gear and belays.   

Tormore Ridge Tory Island

Half way along the ridge

Tormore Ridge Tory Island Donegal

Looking back towards Tory Island

 And so after several short exposed pitches and 370m of airy scrambling we found our selves at the final head wall below the true Tormore summit. Jock rigged a belay and donned the helmet cam as I led off up an excellent leaning ramp, groove and a roof above, again climbed at about severe. 

The final Pitch

 Standing on the summit of Tormore was quite simply outstanding, as all around us were huge drops, big air, Atlantic ocean and falling into the middle distance was the huge expanse of Tory Island.

The summit of Tormore

On the summit of Tormore, Tory Island

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