An Bhuideal (The Bottle) is an iconic 50-meter high twin-headed sea stack living 300 meters out to sea at the base of 250-meter high sea cliffs. Its remote location and close proximity to the skerries chain immediately to the north of it enures it is well guarded against any approach by visitors. It's an impressive if slightly scary location and the quality of its climbing means it provides one of the most rewarding and adventurous days out rock climbing in Ireland. It is easily an equal to the mighty Old man of Stoer off the west coast of Scotland.
Access involves a 2km clifftop walk, a 250m steep loose downclimb followed by an abseil onto a remote storm beach. From the storm beach, it is a 300m paddle out to the base of the stack. The base of this stack is prone to huge amounts of white water and severe tidal conflictions with a tide race running through the narrowing between the skerries at it north side.
1: An Bhuideal lives approx 300 meters out to sea from a wee storm beach on mainland Ireland.
2: Ther loose ridge approach slopes are very steep to the raised shingle storm beach at the beginning of the sea passage from the north of the stack.
3: The nautical approach to the stack involves a sea passage through a labyrinth of submerged, semi-submerged tidal islands and skerries. (The coast here is very exposed to Atlantic swells in the south to the north range)
4: The tidal conflicts around the base of this stack cause a huge amount of white water and a surprisingly deep "whirlpool" effect at the northeast corner of the stack. It is possible to see the sea bed at 20 to 30-foot depth whilst circumnavigating the rage. Good knowledge of the sea is essential to ensure a safe return from the stack.
5: The rock on the stack is good BUT your situation causes everything to appear a wee bit more atmospheric than it actually is.
6: Decent from both summits is by abseil, take a cunning supply of disposable tat or your leaving gear.
7: Both of the stacks summits are a bit of a mindblower with the north summit a narrow, exposed and scary place to be.
An ascent of "Seal Song Aréte" in 2011
First Ascent of "The Altars of Madness" in 2014
In summary to climb An Bhuideal, drive the 22-kilometre c class laneway from Ardara to the road end at An Port, as for Cnoc na Mara and Tormore Island to the gateway to Ireland's last great wilderness. From here on foot, follow the clifftop path for approx a kilometre to a very steep and slightly loose ridge descent and a final short abseil to sea level and a very lonely storm beach. From the beach, it is a 300-meter sea passage to the base of the stack. All the routes on the stack are climbed in one to three pitches with summit block abseil return to sea level abseils.
In April 2009, An Bhuideal's main summit first got stood on when Iain Miller and Martin Boner climbed the landward arête (south-east corner) at Severe in two pitches.
In June 2009, the uber skinny and exposed north summit got it's first ascent by Iain Miller, Stephen "Jock" Read and Martin Boner.
In July 2011, two unknown climbers made the second ascent of the North Summit
In August 2011, the main summit got its 2nd ascent and a new route by climbing the groove between the summits and the steep face to the north side of the main summit. Climbers Iain Miller, Ursula McPherson and WolfgangSchuessler.
In June 2014, Iain Miller and Louise O'Connor paddled from An Port and climbed the seaward face of the main stack by the south-west corner. This was the overall fifth ascent and the fourth new route to the stacks twin summits.