Arranmore Island (Stac an Iolar)

Added: 2011-11-02

Sitting at the South West tip of Arranmore Island lives the iconic Stac an Iolar sea stack. (Stack of the Eagle)

 This 35m sea stack sits in the centre of a truly outstanding location in a monster amphitheatre of nautical sculptured madness. It is a short coastal walk from the main (only) road around the island to the clifftops overlooking this immaculate sea stack. The amphitheatre that surrounds the stack is a very atmospheric place to be indeed with all it's walls being vertical or overhanging for their full 50 to 70m height.

  Access to sea level is down a superb 120m easy angled gully at the back of the amphitheatre. The descent is mostly stepped grass and a couple of rocky steps to a final 4m vertical wall onto the amazing storm beach. A visit to the beach alone is well worth a look as it will leave you in awe at this trully outstandly beautiful location. From the storm beach it is a 150m sea passage out to the huge sea level platfom at the base of the east face of the stack. Once established on the stack it is a short but excellent traverse onto the thin platform at the base of the stack's skinny sea ward face.

 The only sane route to the summit follows a steep groove up the bottom half of the sea ward face. This takes you to a very insecure feeling ledge at about 20m up the slightly overhanging west face. From this ledge the climbing becomes a lot more serious as the rock is of broken eggshell quality and meaningfull protection is very widely spaced. The final pull onto the summit is a very exposed affair with massive amounts of air below your feet as you thrutch your way up the final off-width groove.

 Standing on this isolated summit is a true spiritual experience and is hughly recommended, alas this sea stack presents many logistical and nautical problems to be overcome for a safe and successfull ascent.

More route information in the Donegal Sea Stack guidebook. 

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