Today, we got back to the Rottenvik area to climb the Rottenvikfossen we have found yesterday.
All 5 of us. As expected, no other climbers in area – so the whole thing was just for us.
Since we already knew the path, the walking was no problem, and in no time we found ourselves at the base of the climb.
There were few obvious lines to take for P1. Niall opted to go straight up on the left-hand side, taking Con and Aidan with him.
Paul chose a slightly more convoluted line to the right, towards the rock, hid for a moment behind the curtain on ice, and emerged back to the very steep final part (directly left of the rock). Definitely an interesting choice, but no problem for him – I promptly followed.
P1 belay was a massive chain wrapped around an even bigger boulder. Definitely a unique and nice surprise!
P2 was a couple of dozen meters walk forward – a much more amenable and less steep feature.
This time Con decided to take the leftmost line, and leave the middle to us. Paul, as Paul is picked the steepest part of it, just for fun I guess. I didn’t complain. I actually prefer steeper lines as a second.
The line Paul chose was very long, longer than the rope length, so we had to simul-climb for a couple of meters – not a big deal on terrain as easy as this. But it was obvious to me when he reached the belay tree and put me on belay.
The top out was straightforward – a tree where we built an abseil station.
The descent was a reverse of the ascent – down via tree abseil, walk to the chain and hike back to the car. Justs had to be careful not to abseil off the rope ends – as the P2 was longer than the ropes.
Despite warm temperatures (around +3C) it was a really pleasant day – we all got to hand out together on a nice climb. The area is absolutely stunning, providing a number of trails and walks – there is even one to the source of the waterfall – a lake directly west of our climb called… Rottenvikvatnet.
On the way back to our hut Paul and I decided to stop in the village for some small shopping and took the opportunity to walk towards the waterfront and look at the fjord and its crystal clear water again. It’s truly stunning.
Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be the same (warm and wet), really limiting our options (avalanche danger). There are still places to check out that give no avalanche risk climbing, one of them near a place called Skibotn, on the other side of the fjord – perhaps we’ll try it 2morrow.
As planned, the very best of IMC climbers made it to Donegal this weekend. Weather forecast was 100% accurate, meaning we got dry, sunny Saturday, and washout Sunday.
Between the 20+ Members, some guest visitors from Belfast Climbing Club and Youth Section of Fermanagh’s Hanging Rockers club (big thanks for letting us use your abseiling ropes) Malinbeg was quite a busy place!
This was truly one of the best events of the year. We were climbing on all sectors of Malinbeg, where some of our new members took on their leading skills to the new level on some of the best Vdiff and S routes that Ireland has to offer, some were exploring majestic Main Wall and it’s glorious VS/HVS routes. The special ops team of elite climbers made a trip to Sail Rock to give “Roaring Forties, VS4c**” a go.
As they say – “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Nobody missed on that trip!
Thanks Artem and Sarah for organizing, and everyone who made it for being there!
Last week Del and I decided to go on an adventure to a lesser known (at least to me) Wicklow crag known as Glenmalure. Area is located some 30 extra minutes drive than Glendalough. You can read more about it here.
We’ve opted to climb it’s meg-aclassic: GREAT GULLY RIDGE ** 140m HS (4a,3c,4b,4a)
To me the most enjoyable part was the fact that due to it’s relative remoteness the place was pretty much empty.
As we approached there was only 1 pair of climbers high up on the route already, so we had the entire line just for ourselves.
I won’t get into too much detail on how the pitches went, just will say that if you ever decide on doing this route – if you start with pitch 1 and swap leads, you’ll end up with the nice ones (odd numbers).
There are 2 ways to get off the route – abseiling is a possibility, since there are now fixed stations. We opted to walk around and back. One thing to keep in mind is that you will definitely have your feet wet if you decide to walk around. The terrain is boggy to say the least…
Above is for those who don’t know what The Mournes are. It’s actually surprisingly close to Dublin (2 hours drive from where I live), and yet I almost never visit. This had to change, so yesterday we organized a small day trip. We’ve chosen to go to Lower Cove – a sector that on it’s own has enough climbs for weeks.
Dairmuid joined Monika and I, while Peter (whom I’ve climbed with in Fair Head few weeks ago) and Anne drove from The North.
By the time we got to the base of the climbs (it’s 1h walk from the car park), Peter and Anne already finished 1 route (not sure which one though).
I started with:
Third Corner * 45m HS (4a, 4c, 3c)
P. Gribbon, C. Boyd, B. White. 2/1956.
The arete provides a fine finish but before that there is the notorious chimney. It will only feel the grade on a good day with the wind behind you. Otherwise its desperate! Start 5m left of the edge.
1) 21m Gain the edge by a delicate horizontal traverse right to reach white ledge. Continue up blocks to the foot of the chimney.
2) 9m Thrutch into vertical holdless chimney (beware of jammed helmet) and gain the large ledge.
3) 15m Finish delicately up the arete.
I did it in one long pitch. I gotta say, that it was very nice. The chimney indeed feels like VS, the last 15m offers no gear.
In the mean time Peter jumped on mega-classic:
Agag’s Wall ** 30m HS (4a) S. B. Moorehead, C. Stead. 18/6/67
A necky route which can feel handy or scary depending on mood and/or ability. Start 15m up the gully from Third Corner directly under overhang at the top. Climb just in from the left edge to a ledge and step right. Then up more or less directly to a horizontal break 2m below right-hand end of overhang. Either continue straight up and climb past the overhang at its righthand edge (4b) or traverse right to finish up
Since we had a mix of climbing abilities and skills in our group of 5, we mixed it a bit later on, so everyone one had a chance to enjoy climbing on the level they were comfortable with.
Next round of routes was Diarmuid’s lead:
Dark Side of the Moon ** 30m E1 (5b)E. Cooper, T. Craven. 8/4/83.(…). Takes the obvious weakness up the centre of the green wall. With a delicate move gain a large pocket. Moving slightly left, continue up past the overhangs to a ledge. Traverse left and climb the wall leftwards to an arete. Up ledges to a pocked crack. Climb this to a ledge. Mantelshelf with the aid of a good but hidden pock on the ledge. From the ledge at the top of the green wall there are two alternative finishes.
The start is very difficult to protect, but a small alien cam in a small pocket 2.5m off the ground provides ‘adequate’ peace of mind, however first ‘real’ piece goes a bit higher, once you are fully committed to the line.
I followed, while Peter lead Fox’s Tiers, just right of us:
Fox’s Tiers * 37m VS (5a, 4c)
R. Cole, A. Carden, M. Smith. 8/10/78.
Worth doing especially for the second pitch which is sustained and strenuous. This pitch can be easily reached along the large grass ledge which runs rightwards into Fourth Corner Gully. Start right of Dark Side of the Moon, at the base of the diedre which marks the change in direction of the wall.
1) 22m Climb the diedre to a slight overhang. Climb overhang by moving left (long reach) to a usually wet ledge. Continue up a right-slanting crack, to a huge vegetated ledge.
2) 18m Climb the wall 1 m left of the edge on good holds passing jutting block to heather ledge and large boulder. Up right arete moving right after 3m and continue right then up to finish.
For the final round I took the girls to an easier ground, while P&D went to attack:
Aristocrat ***35m E1 (5b)
A. McQuoid, A. Currans. 27/4/80.
Just merits the grade and takes an intimidating line up the edge of the buttress Start 4m in from the arete. Move up and begin a delicate traverse right across a line of small holds and undercut flakes to reach a groove line near the buttress edge which eases with height, stepping right to a good grassy ledge (possible belay). Climb the steep wall directly above the ledge with one difficult move leading to the easier but poorly protected ground above.
In the mean time I lead First Corner:
First Corner ** 27m HS (4b)
F. Devlin, J. McGrath. 30/6/65.
Start right-hand edge of First Corner Gully. Climb arete up to a ledge on left. Continue straight up (4c) or, more easily and more naturally, step left and up the gully wall 3m and back onto the arete to finish.
It’s was very enjoyable and adequately protected. The whole wall provides a lot of easy climbing, and should be considered as fantastic place to be for all beginner leaders.
It was getting late, so we’ve regrouped, had some quick snack (boiled eggs FTW!) and proceeded to walk back to the car park.
To summarize I have to say the Mournes are different than anything I’ve ever climbed before. The rock offers some fantastic friction, but very often the routes are difficult to protect. It’s definitely a premier location that deserves more visits and I’m sure I’ll be back there.