Saturday, 29 June 2013

Adventure on the Donegal Coast at it's best

 It's been a most excellent 3 weeks of playing out on the Donegal coast line. The forces of nature have been outstanding and very kind, which has allowed over 50 international & national visitors to stand on the summits of Donegal's Sea Stacks.
 We have pretty much been on the Slievetooey coastline everyday, making 2nd ascents of all the previously climbed sea stacks. It's been at time an emotional re-union with summits that I had previously only ever been to alone and once before.    

The most remote place in Ireland

 Went for a visit to Arch Stack with Niamh Gaffney, we climbed a new line up the landward face of the stack as a memorial to Niamh's dad Eddie Gaffney. Eddie Gaffney was a pioneering Irish new router in the 60's/70's/80's alas he died following his dreams in the Italian Alps in 1996. Niamh and myself climbed "Ned Gaffney’s Perch" a 29 meter Severe in memory of his pioneering spirit. Not to put any pressure on ourselves but we were under the watchful eye of John Rafferty who was our eye on the clifftops for an Irish Times Article. 

"Ned Gaffney's Perch" Film

 This was only the third ascent of the stack and the third route to it's summit. Below are short films of the previous two ascents and these show greatly the changing mood of the Atlantic Ocean on the West Coast of Ireland. :-) 

2nd Ascent of Arch Stack Film

First Ascent of Arch Stack Film

 Failte Ireland and Today FM ran a competition and a session rock climbing on Cruit Island was one of the prizes and the day was a typical day of Western donegal blazing sunshine and monster seas.
 The following day it was a visit to Ends of the Earth Crag with Alessandra Robertson from Canada and Andy Cronin. The seas at the crag were mildly tetchy and the abseil down the face was most excellent. 

Sea Cliff climbing in Ireland

Today FM winner on Cruit

Cruit Island Rock Climbing

Glenlough Bay Rock Climbing

Sea Cliff climbing in Donegal

"Caoimhe's Corner," End's of the Earth Crag

 And off course not forgetting a superb day out with Princess Sue AKA Sue Byrne and a visit to a nearly forgotten sea stack with a 500m sea passage just to the south of the Port road end.

An Port Sea Stack film

An Port Bay

Sue on Sea Stack summit
Berg Stack Summit
Donegal Sea Stack Climbing

 All in all an excellent few weeks of continually climbing sea stacks and very remote sea cliffs with a large collection of people who were most defo having fun whilst being attached to the end of a length of dynamic rope. :-)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Sea Stack Climbing

 And Sho, with more than a week of 20+ temperatures and blistering sunshine in Co Donegal it would have been rude not to go out and play as much as was humanly possible.
 A week of outstanding weather and we were off to Glenlough Bay, with a view to making an ascent of Tent Stack, alas Neptune was most definitely in the building. We arrived at the top of the cliff top descent gully in the bay to the sound of millions of tonnes of shingle being raised and lower on the beach 200m below. As we descended the gully the 16 foot surf coming into the bay in walls of Caribbean blue sea were absolutely outstanding to stand and watch, but alas we needed to cross them to gain our sea stack.
 Watch the short film below, as it shows just how outstanding Donegal's little known places are, it also shows the county looking very much like southern Spain.

Glenlough Bay Film

Descent Gully to Glenlough Beach

Raised Shingle Storm Beach

Sea Stack Summit view

Glenlough Bay

 The following day, it was a return to An Port for a wee look at Berg Stack and as the previous day the seas were ramping 16 footers from the West. It took a wee bit of nautical guile to circumnavigate the outlaying skerries to allow safe passage to the Berg stack. Once we all arrived at the base of the stack it all became a bit overheated as the "oven effect" was on full pelt in the mid-day sun. We ascended "Mayday, Mayday," up the landward face and with an airy top out onto the huge wedge summit to a perfect sea breeze and pounding white water around us and around all the outer skerries and islands. It would have been easy to sit all day watching the sea.                                  

Berg Stack, An Port
Colm & Christine on Berg Stack Summit

 The following day it was once more back to An Port, this time for a wee look at the mighty Cnoc na Mara.
 It is difficult to put into words the journey up Cnoc na Mara as it is a truly outstanding 100m high sea stack. It's landward arete is a classic 150m long mountaineering/coastaleering journey. The climbing is never hard but is very exposed and there is a wee bit of thought required to the rope work and "getting back down." 
 Thankfully Neptune was in a much better mood and we made the paddle to and from the stack without too much drama! :-)
 The short film below shows the exposed nature of this very spacial sea stack climb. :-) 

Sea Stack Climbing Film

Cnoc na Mara

The Entrance to Shambhala

The Paddle out to the Sea Stack

Holly abandoned on the Cnoc na Mara

Summit Ridge

Looking up, Pitch 4

The 2nd Abseil to sea Level