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Definitely in the mood…

…for some more  sports climbing.

Yesterday we went to Sokoliki, a climbing crag in the Sokole Gory (part of Sudety Mountains), near where Monika’s from.

We had a pleasure to meet up with Grzegorz and Patrycja, who drove from Katowice region to climb with us. There were also some none climbers with us – Monika’s sister’s family, as well as Aleksander and Justyna from Zgorzelec. Good group to have plenty of fun with!

 

The region itself is pretty amazing, a granite heaven, known as a proving grounds for many generations of mountaineers. It’s here where most of the Polish famous climbers would train before embarking on their trips into High Tatras and beyond.

From sokoliki2016

There is actually couple of crags next to each other offering couple hundred routes (both bolted and trad) in range from 4 up to mid 7s (French sports scale).

 

From sokoliki2016

The place was very crowded yesterday (since it was a weekend in the middle of the season) with all easier routes heavily queued up. We did couple of random V graded routes , we settled on part of the crag called Zipserowa Czuba.

We ended up leading 4 or 5 routes ranging V+ to VI+) (French 5 to 6a+). As described in the book – the rock is amazing, not polished at all (pun not intended 😉 – and routes were just nice and long.

From sokoliki2016

After we were done, we all met up back home in the  back garden barbecue for a well earned beers and grilled sausages.

From sokoliki2016

During that day I’ve learned that I still have loads to learn to actually climb well. Definitely a lot of training in front of me, if i want to make an impact on this years October sports climbing trip.

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The Land of Extinct Volcanoes

is the ‘nickname’ of the area we visited today. Millions of years ago the extracting from underground magma froze and created many interesting shapes. You can find more information about the greater region here and here.

We had a half a day to spare, and set our heads towards mysterious, and relatively new (in bolted climbing terms) Diablak, a relatively small hill in the Kaczawskie Foothills region.

It’s climbable part, 25m basalt crag has been first explored in 2012. 9 fully bolted routes were set there  in 5 to 6c+ range (french sports) (although in Poland routes are graded in Kurtyka scale [so technically  they are graded V to VI.2+) [conversion tables].

Monika, Piotr (her brother in law) and i left Jelenia Gora around 10.30, and after 30 mins drive we were walking in the woods looking for the crag.

From diablak

It’s a really short walk, albeit it’s easy to get lost, so having good map is rather recommended. You don’t really see the wall right up until you are there.

From diablak

After we got there we geared up and I’ve put on the sharp end of the rope, opening with Heksagon (V+). It was rather interesting experience – I’ve never climbed on basalt, and since the crag is fairly new, there were some loose holds (and a lot of sticky spiderwebs!)

 

From diablak

It’s funny that when you go on sight, without knowing what the next hold brings, everything seems so much more… challenging. I actually overshot the chains, and topped out on a massive ledge above them. Luckily there were another 2 bolts, from which I belayed Monika and Piotr (as it was impossible to setup TR there).

Next, we moved left to the route number 6 – Poligon (V). Monika wanted to give it a go, but the start was just a little to steep (they all start from the based of big cave, making it rather tricky to start).

I went at it, and not without a little trouble moved up, to much easier terrain above.

From diablak

I’ve setup a TR, and the guys swiftly completed the route as well.

From diablak
From diablak

We moved further left to check out the NW facing wall that offered 2 interesting looking, albeit shorter routes – ‘Lewe rzebro Adama’ (VI) and ‘Prawe rzebro Adama’ (V+). (Translated as Left and Right Adam’s rib).

Both are a series of little roofs on very steep wall, with amazing holds everywhere. The right hand side is quite exposed and I’ve decided I wanted to start with it.

From diablak
From diablak

We don’t actually have any photos from these left hand side variant, but it was also very enjoyable. A bit more steeper, but good holds.

Overall all routes are well protected, although there isn’t too many of them. If you want to try basalt rock and half 1/2 day then maybe it’s worth the trip.

But with surplus of climbing in nearby Sudety and its Sokolik crag in particular (where we will be going tomorrow), it’d be hard to justify going back to Diablak.

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Sunday Glendalough is a busy Glendalough…

…unless you are a climber, and you go there on a June BH Sunday! Literally everyone we normally see there are either in Donegal, Fair Head, or some other places like Kerry, or Lake District – making Glenda walls today empty like a graveyard after dark.

PG and I decided to take advantage of the situation and do a quick run through some classic VS routes.

It’s amazing how empty the car park is at 8.30am as well (comparing to what is seen later during the day).

From climbing random

The usual walking, was as usual as it gets.

From climbing random

We were rather efficient and it didn’t take to long for us to be at the base, where decision time came:
Main Face:

From climbing random

OR

East wing (Acorn Buttress, Forest Ledge etc):

From climbing random 2016

Since most of our outings last year focused around Main Face, this time we decided to head up Acorn.

From climbing random

Padraig started with Provo VS, 4c, I took over the next pitch, and we continued via combination of Forrest Rhapsody, that nobody can name anymore, all the way to Forrest Ledge – funny thing – I found 20euro on the way – another reason to always lead 🙂

From climbing random

We’ve decided to do couple of climbs from there – PG settled on Celia, 30m VS,4c – I seconded. I must say here that this a true *** pitch. Absolutely amazing crack, very enjoyable. Next time I might do it’s close neighbor – Jackie – seen to the left on below photo (both cracks share some distance, hence today we only did one of them).

From climbing random

Top has a nice abseiling station, so we quickly got back to the ledge, and I went up Lethe 31m VS, 4c.

From climbing random 2016

This was another fantastic climb – it’s so easy to forget how great Glendalough climbing is (comparing to mundane Dalkey one move wonders).

From climbing random 2016

After that we got down to the base of Acorn B, for quick tea.

From climbing random 2016

PG here in his natural habitat – nurturing a JetBoil!

We did 5 great pitches at this point and decide to call it a day. It was still early, but neither of was wanted to get stuck in traffic trying get out of the Vale with the hordes of walkers, tourists and all other sorts.

And hordes there were. While (as I mentioned before) – there was not a single pair of climbers other than us, there were hundreds of people everywhere else.

Car parks (both, upper and lower {for which they charge now as well}), were overflown, cars where parked absolutely everywhere (incl. roadside, making 2 way traffic almost impossible).

Lesson is – from now on early start is a must – 8am at the upper car park… otherwise you might as well not go at all…

This way or another – the day was great, and this place is probably my favorite Irish Climbing spot of all time.

From climbing random 2016