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Rock Climbing in Donegal 2019

Donegal Rock Climbing 2019


 An Sho, another outstanding year on the coast, out on the uninhabited islands and in the hills of Donegal with Cruit and Owey Islands having a steady stream of climbing visitors from March to November. 

 In this annual review I have focused on new routes and new locations being developed, with this year being the first time in Donegal climbing history where mid E grades have dominated the annual new route tally.  

Owey Island

 By far the most development in Donegal this year has been on Owey Island with a steady stream of troops from all over Ireland and the UK paying visits over the summer. The bulk of the new routes have pretty much all been in the E grades with the Holy Jaysus wall now sporting 4 routes from E5 to E7. In September this year whilst filming with Coldhouse Collective for Pertex five new lines lines were climbed from E3 to E7. Conor McGovern climbed an E3 and an E7 around and through the incredible roofs of An Sron Wall, whilst above these pitches Kevin Kilroy climbed the stunning exit groove at the top of the same wall at E6 6b. MichelleO’ Loughlin climbed The Temple of Boom at E7 6b taking the steep and sustained wall to the left of the blunt prow climbed by mega in the Black Spink. On the seaward face of Owey on the Wild Atlantic Wall, Chloe Condron climbed Feather in the west at E5 6a with superb climbing in an outrageous location above the rage.  All five pitches were given 3 stars and are a sample of the quality hard climbing currently found on the island, the up to date download is found at  

https://uniqueascent.ie/owey_island

Owey Island Rock Climbing  Chloe Condron on Feather in the West E5 6b ***             

Owey Island Rock Climbing  Conor McGovern on FA Midnight Lobster, E7 6b ***

Sea Stacks

 It has been an outstanding year on Donegal's sea stacks with the first Ascent of Chaos Stack being this years major ascent. Chaos Stack had taken several attempts over several years to get Irelands last big unclimbed sea stack finally climbed. This was the first day of a week long visit to the county by Canadians Will Gadd and John Price. Their mission was quite simply to visit and climb as many new sea stack routes as possible. A 3 star 2 pitch line was climbed on the sea ward face of Pyramid Stack (Enchanted Islands) and Lighthouse Stack on Arranmore.

 For much more details and a few of Will's thoughts on where we played during their week in Donegal see this blog post,

 Irelands last big unclimbed sea stack

Ireland's last unclimbed sea stack
Chaos Stack below Mullaghtan Head  

Sea Stack Climbing Climbing Chaos Stack

Sea Stack Climbing
Will Gadd on the summit of Chaos Stack

Standing on a sea stack
Standing on the summit of Pyramid Stack

Arranmore rock climbing
Find the two climbers on Lighthouse Stack, Arranmore

 On Berg Stack to the south of An Port Iain Miller and Lisa Murdiff added Game Face at E1 5b *, this line takes the aréte between the Wedge and Groove Fest. The route involves a bit of a run out up the arete to the salvation of excellent gear towards the top. 

https://uniqueascent.ie/sea_stack_guide

 Back on Owey Island, three new lines were added to the northern stack of the Greater Leap Isles (Tor Lice Riseagh) with Lisa and Matt Robertson.

 https://uniqueascent.ie/owey_island

Rock Climbing in IrelandLisa Murdiff playing on Berg Stack

Mountain Crags

 Kevin McGee continues his good form in the Poison Glen, in April this year he climbed (partnered by Patrick Tinney) the 170 metre long Gaeil Uladh which weighs in at E3 5c. This routes takes the ground to the right of his previous first ascent Michael at E1 5b. The dedication, time and effort that is required to find, clean and finally climb new lines on these north facing walls is in the realms of legendary. Nice one Gents. More details about this line and the other on these monster north facing walls, the download is at

https://uniqueascent.ie/poisoned_glen_guide

                        Poisoned Glen rock climbing

 On Errigal, Iain Miller and Lisa Murdiff climbed four new lines on a 25 metre high slab of immaculate quartzite. This excellent wee slab lives on the east face 80 or so metres below the south summit. It provides excellent climbing up to VS 4b and requires lots of medium to tiny gear. Easiest access is simply to walk up Errigal from the roadside carpark and just before the south summit descend the steep scree slopes to the base of the crag.

https://uniqueascent.ie/errigal

Climbing Errigal Mountain Donegal
The view from the high crag on Errigal

Errigal Mountain Donegal
Lisa Murdiff climbing a 2 starred VS on the high crag

Cruit Island

 Will Gadd climbed two last very obvious unclimbed lines in the Albatross Zawn, the offwidth roof crack to the left of Gretel "Trouser Rippers Suck" E3 6a *** The other line took the roof crack to the left Ronan Browners E4 Suspended 3.8, Hipsters at Play E3 6b **.

 Kevin McGee climbed the two remaining lines on the wall left of Frugivorous Fault on the Green Gully Crag both lines at HVS 5a. Whilst he was there Kevin climbed 3 in 1 at E2 5b/c in the obvious gap between "Ecopunk" and "Dont Call Me Rooney" in the hidden gully in the Albatross zawn.

 On the Far West Buttress Iain Miller and Lisa Murdiff climbed the steep groove to straighten the original line of Fireslab, Fireslab Direct HVS ** was the result. A swift early morning play at morning Wall gave the fill in line of Facebook Live S 4a    

https://uniqueascent.ie/cruit_island_guide

Crohy Head

 This years Climbfest is being held at Maghery Community center, a stones throw from Bristi Stack and Crohy Head climbing venues. The Crohy Head guide got a bit of a tidy up, during which Fiona nic Fhionnlaoich and I did a couple of new lines on the big wall just before the coast turns to rubble. 

https://uniqueascent.ie/crohy_head

Crohy Head rock climbing
Playing on Crohy Head

 

Climbing new routes in DonegalDeveloping Donegal's Islands with Lisa Murdiff https://uniqueascent.ie/inishsirrer

Rock Climbing in IrelandAine playing at Beyond the End's of the Earth Crag

Rock Climbing in IrelandClimbing new routes

Sea Cliff climbingCave Belay at Beyond the End's of the Earth Crag

Climbuing new routesDeveloping a previously unclimbed crag

North Gaulton CastleOn holiday at North Gaulton Castle


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