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 its walls being vertical or overhanging for their full 50 to 70m height.
Standing on this isolated summit is a truly spiritual experience and is hugely recommended, alas this sea stack presents many logistical and nautical problems to be overcome for a safe and successful ascent.
For more detailed route descriptions for all of Arranmore, Click Here.
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 truly outstandingly beautiful location. From the storm beach, it is a 150m sea passage out to the huge sea level platform 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 seaward face.
Stac an Iolar
The only sane route to the summit follows a steep groove up the bottom half of the seaward 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 meaningful 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.
This lovely wee sea stack sits at the base of the 50m sea cliffs approx 150m west of Stac an Iolar. It is composed of an unusual black granite and provides an excellent exposed scrambling route to its small flat-topped summit.
To access the stack we paddled from the storm beach at the bottom of The Gully of the God's as for Stac an Iolar and simply continued along the coast to a wee recess on the west side of the stack.
An Uber calm sea state is required for this passage ANY south West sea motion at all and this sea passage is potential suicide.
Humped ridge Stack sits at the mouth of the huge unnamed bay approx 1KM to the north of the south-west tip of Arranmore Island.
Access is a 1.5KM walk from the main (only) road around the island to the southern end of the 50m cliffs, grass and scree surrounding the landward end of the bay. Descend the grass and scree ramp at the southern end of the bay to a large boulder field storm beach. Paddle 300m out to sea to gain the base of the slabby landward face of the stack.
The stack currently has six routes ascending all four of its faces, the vertical seaward face containing the slightly harder routes, following the main features up the wall. The north ridge is the easiest and the best route to the summit. It is a 40m ridge traverse with some incredible exposure for such a modest sea stack.
The summit of this sea stack is washed clean by the westerly winter gales, which means in big westerly seas this stack has sea crashing green over its summit.