Thursday, 28 March 2013

Donegal's Winter Mountains

 And Sho, a swift j-peg from noble brother Kevin McGee and a wee play on the North Face of Muckish was the order of the day.

Muckish Film

 Arrived at an unsociably early hour to catch the best of clear blue skies as cloud was forecast for the early PM.
 Nipped up to the base of Miners Gully, a classic grade I snow gully and success, it was complete and filled with the most pristine NĂ©ve it is possible to imagine. Climbed the first half of this 150m gully to a wee steepening and as the ground was not banked out it upped the grade to a full on grade II. The second half of the climb was above the true gully and the ground opens out to an outstanding and very,very steep finish above some very BIG air. :-)

Muckish Mountain Donegal

Muckish North Face

Winter Climbing in Ireland

 BUT it was once I was on the summit plateau that the true beauty of Donegal's winter mountains became apparent. Watch the shot clip at the top of this blog post, Winter Mountain's,  it just does not get any better! :-)

Derryveagh Winter Mountains

Muckish Mountain in Winter


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Winter Climbing in Donegal, Ireland

 And Sho, an unexpected return of noble brother Jack Frost has hit the emerald isle with road closures, car height drifting and rumors of avalanche activity in the Mourne Mountains.
 Western Donegal, alas has missed most of the snow fall with an inch or so falling at the 200m contour and 8 inch blanket covering above the 400m contour. Alas this snow fell on unfrozen ground and has insulated the unfrozen turf nicely from the now freezing ambient air temperatures. High winds over the weekend displaced the snow pack and all exposed turf above the 500m contour is freezing nicely, alas it's not cold enough for significant ice to form, as yet.
 By far the best bet for some vertical winter action at the moment is the ever popular North face of Muckish mountain. This huge North facing corrie lives by it's own winter rules and is fast becoming one of the quickest most reliable winter climbing venues in Donegal. I'm struggling to think of any where in Ireland with a more convenient and reliable location?
 In 1984, Denis Golden, Paula Turley and Alan Tess climbed one of the most obvious winter features in the corrie, a huge chimney running up the back wall. This gave the corrie "The Funnel" a 100m grade III, most of the easier grade I gullies were climbed around this time and the venue was pretty much forgotten about. Step forward noble brothers Patrick Tinney and his depressingly talented cohort and between them from 2009 until the present day they have put up over a dozen increasingly difficult winter mixed routes, transforming this once forgotten venue into one of Ireland's premier winter mixed climbing venues. The corrie now contains a good mix of grades from long easy angled Grade I snow gullies to steep overhanging grade IV mixed buttress routes.
 More information on Winter climbing in Donegal and Muckish in Free winter climbing guide to Donegal.

Muckish Winter Climbing

Winter Nutcracker Wall

 Not to miss out on an opportunity to get a bit of winter climbing done, a further grade IV route was climbed last weekend "Comfortably Numb," a 50m long, Grade IV by Kevin Mcgee & Patrick Tinney on 24/03/2013. This was the route that was attempted back in January this year in the film below. Their route climbs the wall and hanging groove to the left of their existing line, "Nutcracker" and is an excellent addition to this steep wall. Nice one Gentlemen!

Muckish Winter Climbing Film

Winter Climbing in Ireland

Pitch 1 

Looking down pitch 2

 And with the current cold snap set to last until the weekend conditions in this excellent winter climbing venue are looking very good indeed.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Donegal Rock Climbing Guidebook

 In the next few weeks the future Donegal rock climbing guidebook will be published, it's format will be an I-phone app and it is being published/hosted by and Mountaineering Ireland.
 Due to the vast volume of rock, routes and climbing locations in Co. Donegal, the guide is a select guide to all the best areas, islands, crags and routes.
 The guide contains just over 1000 of the best recorded rock climbs in the Donegal and all the climbs are featured on photo topos. All 200+ photo topos were taken from the best angles and weather conditions to allow the user to very easily identify their chosen routes. To assist in the locating of individual crags a series of crag topos are used where there is a group of crags in a specific small area.

Gola Island Crag Guide

Belshade Crag Guide

Malinbeg crag Guide

 The guide uses your phones in built GPS to allow the user to locate all the individual crags, islands, ferries, car parking, recommended camping spots and as much helpful information as I could think of as the entire guide is designed for the user/climber who has never before visited the county. 
 The actual crag topos are fully interactive and all routes are clickable links to highlight the line and display the route descriptions.

 In addition to the select guide I have produced a series of 21 definitive guides to the entire county, each is a sectional guide and is in PDF format. These definitive guides are all linked into the home pages of each chapter in the app and are available as free downloads from   

 Gola Island Guide                        

           A 42 page guide to the sea cliffs of gola Island

 Cruit Island Rock Climbing Guide

          A 66 page to Cruit Island

 Malinbeg Climbers Guidebook

          A 26 page guide to the sea cliffs of Malinbeg

 Skelpoonagh Bay Climbers Guide

          A 15 page guide to Skelpoonagh Bay

 Muckross Head Climbers Guide

          A 14 page guide to Muckross

 Winter Climbing in Donegal

          Donegal's winter mountains