Monday, 12 October 2015

Sail Rock. Donegal Rock Climbing

 And sho, as summer comes to an end it is most definitely time to catch up on the backlog of much neglected unedited U-tube films, footage, pictures blog posts and in general trying to document some of the 200 or so days out playing on Donegal's sea cliffs, sea stacks and mountains this year so far. It has been beyond an outstanding year but more of that in future posts.

 One of this years Unique Ascent trainee Fionnuala Donnelly spent the middle of the summer seeking vertical pleasure on the Donegal coastline. On a sunny Saturday morning we paid a visit to one of Donegal's older and more established climbing venues to make an ascent of the classic VS Roaring Forties.

Sail Rock Film

 Sail Rock is an outstanding 80m high quartzite slab in an excellent coastal location living in amongst the much poorer quality rock on the sea cliffs along the spectacular Slieve League coastline in the south west of Co Donegal for the free online guide click here to download.
 The Slieve League area of Co Donegal has changed dramatically in the last year or two with the new improved access roads and the massive visitor footfall that Slieve League and the Wild Atlantic Way brings this to this area, it is now possible to drive very close to the crag and save the carrying of a 100 metres static abseil rope from the old car park.
 To find Sail Rock from the Slieve League access road, from the road keep looking towards the sea was you walk/drive along the road until you see the clifftop watch tower then simply follow the path from the road down to the tower, Once at the tower the summit of Sail Rock is but 50 metres to your east.
 Access to the base of Sail Rock is by either an abseil or by a very steep and quite loose alpine scramble down the ridge on the opposite side of the basin to the face. The abseil down the face is by far the best way to reach the base of the face and the start of the routes. Alas as this was not our primary venue choice for today and there was a sea stack in Mayo still laugh at us from across the bay we did not have our 100 metre static with us and so a descent of the ridge it was by default. 
 It took about 25 steep loose minutes to gain the cauldron at the bottom of the routes. We descended the loose arĂ©te until approx 40 metres above the sea and then did an easy 50 metre traverse into the top of the bason and pretty much the start of Mainmast.

Abseil down Sail Rock

Access Traverse

The Base of Sail Rock

Looking up Sail Rock

 Anyways on this occasion Fionnuala and my good self climbed Roaring Forties combined the first two pitches and savoured the last pitch especially the final 10 metre pull out onto the main face jugfest. 

 Looking down pitch 2

Topping Out