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.

1 comment:

  1. If you are climbing in winter in the Alps you are likely to be doing one of two things. You will either be climbing frozen water ice in a valley, or you will be climbing an ice or mixed route at altitude.

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