Winter climbing in the County of Donegal in the North West of Ireland is quite simply outstanding, alas it has a very fleeting window of opportunity.
Due to it’s coastal position and relatively low lying mountains good winter conditions in Donegal are a rare commodity indeed. Usually temperatures have to be below 0 for 5 days consecutively, and down to -5 at night, and an ill timed dump of snow can spoil it all. To take advantage of these fleeting conditions you have to drop everything, and brave the inevitably appalling road conditions to get there, for be assured, it won’t last!
When Donegal does come into prime Winter condition the crux of your days climbing will without a doubt be travelling by road throughout the county. In this guide I have tried to only use National primary and secondary roads as a means to travel and access. There are of course many regional and third class roads which provide much closer access to the mountains but under winter conditions these can very quickly become unpassable.
This guide starts with the most northerly of the recorded climbs on the North face of Muckish and works it's way south through the Derryveagh Mountains to the Bluestack Mountains in the south of the county.
The potential for climbing new winter routes in Donegal is almost unlimited with two major mountain ranges with countless outlayers, isolated waterfalls, buttresses and suitably damp north facing crags. All that is required is a few weeks of Artic Maritime or Polar Continental winds to blow across the county. :-)
For all the other rock climbing locations and for further free PDF guidebooks covering the entire county of Donegal visit Undiscovered Donegal.
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