Deep Water Soloing is the sub-branch of rock climbing that involves climbing sea cliffs with no rope or protection. Below the climber is a body of deep sea water that, in the event of a fall allows the climber to land unharmed. A safe deep water soloing venue has to have quite specific attributes to prevent, as much as possible both nautical and vertical mishaps. Ideally the cliff is no more than about 15 meters high and ever so slightly overhanging. The water below the cliff needs to be as deep as possible and be free from submerged boulders / ledges. A swim and snorkel along the base of the crag at low tide prior to climbing is an ideal way to see the depth of the water at it lowest and worst. It is an extremely good idea to have someone paddling below the crag to scoop up and out of the water quickly any injured climber.
For the last decade or so I've been looking for suitable Deep Water soloing venues along the coast of Donegal. So far I've only really found two safe locations and both locations require quite specific sea conditions to allow safe wet falling. Both the below locations require high tide (over 2m mean) and minimal motion from North through North West as both venues are in lea from all other directions.
Inishillintry Climbing Guidebook Download
This uninhabited island living to the East side of Cruit Island provides an excellent 8m wall above a deep and sheltered channel running out to the north end of the island.
The south wall of Tor na Dumhcha sea stack provides an outstanding 15m wall of vertical Gola quality granite above a very deep sea water channel.
Below are a few perhaps not so safe deep water solo's from Inishowen to Slieve League along the coast of Donegal. :-)
Bothanvarra, Dunaff Head, Inishowen
Cruit Island © Paul Doherty Photography
Forgotten Wall, Cruit Island
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