Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Donegal rock climbing guidebook

 And Sho, the quest with Donegal's rock climbing guidebook continues, we are currently approaching 2900 recorded routes though out the county. I have sub dived the entire county into 21 sub sections each with it's own free downloadable PDF guide. As it stands at the moment 17 of these 21 sections are live on the Unique Ascent website and available to download free. The remaining four sections await good weather and calm seas to get suitable topo photographs, Owey Island's seaward facing cliffs are being particularly nigglesome. :-(

 And on to phase three in the cunning plan, I am currently editing a short film for each of Donegal's 21 main rock climbing locations, each of the films will be approximately 3 minutes long and will show as much of the location as well as the climbing as possible.

Crohy Head Guidebook Download

 Crohy Head Film

 Crohy Head is an excellent wee location on a huge forgotten peninsula just to the south of Dungloe. Aidan Mc Ginley, Louise O'Connor and my good self played out there on several occasions over the summer adding another dozen or so new routes to four new crags. The most surprising routes were two 30 meter lines of the main crag at the far end of the good rock both routes went at very modest V.Diff but in a spectacular location. This whole section of coast is prone to monster seas and very much like Malin Beg offers excellent wave battered climbing.

  Donegal Rock Climbing, Crohy Head Main Walls

Zawn 1 Topo

Cruit Island Guidebook Download

Cruit Island Film

 The ever dependable Cruit Island has very quickly become the most popular climbing venue in Donegal and new routes now tickling into E grades are continuing to be sent in by visiting climbers. The are currently over 370 routes on the island on 34 separate crags. What makes the island such a dependable locations is many of the crags are facing different aspects and with a tiny bit of nautical knowledge it is possible to climb under almost any sea states and motion. None of the crags required any cleaning prior to any first ascents thus the crags are permanently cleaned by angry winter seas. 

Cruit Island Rock Climbing

Cruit Island rock climbing map

Donegal Sea Stacks guidebook download

Donegal Sea Stack Film

 This year on Donegal's sea stacks was spent visiting many old friends and introducing a large collection of people to the edge of the real world. Three new stacks were climbed and 12 new routes added to existing stacks, perhaps the most important find was a new unclimbed 130 meter high sea cliff in, by far the most outrageous location in Ireland. Alas the cliff is prone to monster green and the easiest looking route looks mildly terrifying. The cliff also contains the mother of all exit points and so a very cunning plan to climb and jump off the edge of the real world begins to take hold. :-)

Sea Stack climbing

Glenlough Bay Sea Stacks

Gull Island Sea Stack

Bingorm's Rock Climbing Guide

Derryveagh Mountains at their very best

Owey Island rock climbing Guidebook

End of the Summer on Owey Island

 The above film was shot on a day I had intended to circumnavigate the island in the wee dingy, alas overnight monster green appeared from the West and simply getting to the island was a bit of a mission and involved a wetsuit. :-) Owey is top of the list in the spring for a visit and a circumnavigation to get the sea ward facing cliff sorted. 

Mainland Donegal from Owey Island

 Glenveagh National Park is next on the list for a short film with only two more locations to be visited and editing begins. :-)


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Donegal Summer 2013

 It has just turned November and I am finally in agreement that summer is over in Western Donegal, BUT it has been a most outstanding and very long summer. The Rosses summer officially started on the 28th of February and finally came a rain soaked halt on 25th of October. During this extended period of blue skies well over 150 people have stood on the summits of a shade over 100 sea stack summits along the coast of Western Donegal and pretty much all of them had no previous outdoor climbing experience. Hurrah! :-)
 The bulk of the visitors to Donegal's sea stacks came from all four corners of America, with another large proportion coming from Canada, a small portion came from mainland Europe inc the UK and a tiny portion travelling from all over Ireland.
 This blog post is a small selection of the you tube films we posted over this summer from around the coast of Donegal.

Glenlough Bay on 28th February 2013

 The summer kicked off at Glenlough Bay on February 28th with Josie McGee, Glenlough Bay is Ireland's largest raised shingle storm beach and is located in one of the most remote places in the country. Our cunning plan was to make an ascent, probably the first of Ulsters highest free standing tower. Cobblers Tower is a 110 meter high spike of land connected to mainland Donegal by a very loose knife edge ridge, alas a mildly tetchy Neptune and a 40 meter white water sea crossing meant we paid a visit to the summit of Tent Stack instead.

Donegal's Highest free standing tower

 Made a return visit to Cobbler's Tower with Noble Brother Steven "Jock" Read and this time with an UBER calm sea paddled around Tormore Island from the Entrance to Shambhala to land at the base of the north face of the tower, we scrambled up the north face to a very insecure and mildly scary summit.

The most remote place in Ireland

 Made a return visit to Pyramid Stack with Andy Cronin, this very remote archipelago lives 300 meters out to sea from the base of the 1000 foot north face of Slievetooey. It sits approximately 22 kilometers from the nearest main road, 5 kilometers from the car and in a very inaccessible location open to both west and north sea states. This was the 2nd ascent of the stack the first ascent being a solo affair back in 2008.

Slieve League Sea Stack

 With the sea so calm and with Ireland gripped in the middle of a heat wave it would have been rude not to go for a wee visit to the sea stack at the western end of the Slieve League massif, this time with noble brother Des O'Connor, (no, no thee Des O'Connor) access to this stack is by a 500 meter paddle out to sea from Silver Strand at Malin Beg, one of Ireland's most beautiful beaches. 

Cnoc na Mara

 Cnoc na Mara, Ireland's most popular sea stack had six ascents this year including an ascent by 15 year old Jake Scollay from Scotland and Steven "Jock" Read. This 150 meter route has now been climbed by over 25 people in the last five summers, not a massive amount of people but still makes it easily Ireland's most climbed sea stack. :-)


 In the midst of these nautical misadventures young Luke was born, arriving safe and sound into the world a week early. :-)

Beyond The End's of the Earth Crag

We opened a new crag slightly further away from the real world than "End's of the Earth Crag," climbing with Peter O'Toole (no, not thee Peter O'Toole) and a very angry Neptune this excellent single pitch venue provides a very atmospheric place to place where solitude is guaranteed.

Owey Island on 24th October 2013

 A final wee explore was a solo trip out to Owey Island with the last of the summer sun forecast to disappear in the evening of the 24th of October, it would have been rude not to go out for a look.

Donegal Summits