An Bhuideal (The Bottle) is an iconic 50 metre 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 skerrie chain immediately to the north of it enures it is well guarded from any approach by visitors. More information on An Bhuideal, CLICK HERE. It's 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.
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
1: An Bhuideal lives approx 300 meters out ot 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 north range)
4: The tidal conflicts around the base of this stack cause a huge amount of white water and a surprisingly deep "whirlpool" efect at the north east corner of the stack. It is possible to see the sea bed at 20 to 30 foot depth whilst circumnavigating the rage.
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.
In April 2009, An Bhuideal's main summit 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 sea ward face of the main stack by the south west corner. This was the overall fifth ascent and fourth new route to the stacks twin summits.
Sea Stack climbing of this nature requires a certain amount of climbing, mountaineering and nautical knowledge in equal measure to ensure a reasonable chance of not falling or drowning during an ascent. The sea passage out to An Bhuideal is potentially extremely difficult with countless semi-submerged islands and skerries which in turn create a lot of white water and tidal conflictions. Prior to the first ascent of this stack, I visited and watched the seas around both the approach and the base of the stack on several occations to try and understand the mechanics of the sea in this area.
Immediately below the north face of the north summit of this stack is a very narrow channel or constriction between the stack and the little island approx 6 metres north of the stack. This constriction funnels and magnifies any south west to west motion causing the average wave height to be amplified upto 8 times and alas this motion is very close to where to land on the stack, between the summits on the landward face.
The golden rule with An Bhuideal is if you can see any motion and white water around the base of the stack from the mainland clifftops then probably best if you leave the boy for another day.
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