Back to the roots

Few weeks ago Irish Mountaineering Club folks asked me to become content editor on the club’s FB profile page.

Since I enjoy documenting my climbing adventures (now as a proud member of the club, since I rejoined after few years of absence [I originally signed up around 2011]) and tend to take a lot of pictures I though that’s the list I could do to promote the club.

Now, since I don’t really wan’t to make my private blog to be the place of ‘official Club business’, for the events that I take part in that are part of the Club’s official schedule, I’ll just link these posts here (it mostly will be photos with some captions).

The first one is last Thursday’s Quarry night. It’s part of the New Member’s Program. “The goal of the introductory sessions is to give climbing instruction as well as help new members to get to know others and build up some contacts that should help them get out and about this summer and beyond.”

Since I myself am a product of this program, I’ve volunteered to server as a ‘mentor’ for this year’s New Starters (now, I’m not a professional in the field, but over last 7 years I’ve learned enough to be able ‘show the ropes’), a role that I really enjoy to be in (Over the years I’ve actually mentored a lot of interns and graduates at work [I’m in IT field] as well).


So, the last Thu: Nothing serious was climbed, as the main focus was put on getting new members used to the basic outdoors climbing skills that will help them survive next weekend’s final meeting in Glendalough.

Anyway, below is my inauguration post (all pictures taken by me).

And a bonus video from the outing:


Team night out at the Quarry. 

It’s not often that all of us, the old crew gets together anymore.

We were lucky enough to make it happen tonight: PG, Del,  Diarmuid, Monika and I met up at the Quary for some easy routes.

PG started with Street Fighter (VS 4c),

Monika following Street Fighter.

I was next with nearby one move wonder – Ivy Chimney (S, 5a), before Diarmuid arrived and we all moved to the east valley.

Me past the Crux of Ivy Chimney

Diarmuid started  Mahjongg (VS 4c) while PG did another classic Vs – E route (4b, with staircase finish – Hvs 4c). In the mean time Del showed up.  It was good to see him back at the cragg,  since he is still recovering from his winter injuries.

The dream team enjoying the evening.

There was still time for one more round of climbs so we moved left.

PG did always dangerous Sham Gully, (VS 5b) – it has very dodgy unprotected start, decent spotting is always encouraged!

In the mean time Bushmills E1 5b was waiting for an accent.

Bushmills in all its glory.

No volunteers,  so jumped on it  and tryied my best not to embarrass myself at it. It took two attempts, but I did it clean.

Somehow sudeenly everyone was eager to second it, so I spent next 40mins at the top giving free belays. At least it was very sunny up there 🙂

PG coming up on the upper parts of Bushmils

It was  good evening in great company. Some of my best climbing memories come from Dalkey, partially because it is where I started, but mostly thanks to the people I climb with.

Next stop Fair Head (if the weather permits….)


A successful failure

NASA used that phrase to describe  their Apollo 13 mission (the one on which the movie was based, the one with Tom Hanks). It is one of my favourite terms to call seemingly glass half empty situation a glass full one. 

That is exactly what our climbing yesterday was (minus the, you know, all the space stuff).

We (Monika, Diarmuid and I) were planning on  going to Glendalough, but ended up in Dalkey. The weather wasn’t really there for a long day in the valley. Since it was Monika’s first outing in a long time we were aiming to have a pleasent, casual day.

Dalkey at 9am isnt particularly nice. Its usually still wet from morning dew. The rock also tends to seep with many places in the shade.

No one at the horizon in Dalkey at 9am

This means however that few places are hit with the lazy sun (if there is any).

We decided on thr East Valley sector and Diarmuid set out to do the wall’s  classic – Fang 15m (HVS 5a).  Apparently it used yo be VS and only upgraded some time ago. Even on 2nd it Didn’t feel particulary VS’y. I blame the early morning and wet shoes.

Monika approaching the crux. Fang, HVS 5a

After that we quickly moved across to the West Valley that would be normally in the shade. Early morning was the time to go there. 

We settled on Binglestein 24m VS 4b. It was my lead so I racked and moved out. That route didn’t see much traffic lately. It was overgrown and dirty wiyh whatever grew out there over the winter.

I Didn’t get too far… Binglestein VS. 4b

Unfortunately after just few moves I cut my right hand over some razor sharp edge. In a matter of seconds my entire was covered in blood. I had to bail. I actually never had to abandon a trad route below or at VS…. I guess there is a first time for everything.

It was relatively small cut… Almost nothing.

After I got down and cleaned myself up i decided to call it a day. With upcoming big motorcye trip I didn’t want to risk any further injuries.

Diarmuid went back up if its safe to at leaat finish the route but it was so dirty that he just cleaned up the gear and that was it.

Gear rescue operation

 1.5 routes doesn’t seem like a lot of climbing but it was a sucesfull failure.  We all had a good time. The weather was reasonable and Diarmuid could make it to Croke Park for 3pm GAELIC FOOTBALL league final.


Time is running out.

Jirka got a very good job offer back home in Czech, so we got only have 3 weeks before he’s moving out of the country again.

I’m very happy for him, but also sad to lose yet another climbing partner. With Conor moved to the UK, Andrew moved to the Middle East, Derek&Padraig move to no-climbing-land of injuries it doesn’t look good in terms of future outdoor adventures.

With this in mind we wanted to make the most of it and got back to Dalkey for 1/2 day to do some routes.

I’ve teamed up with Sonja, while Team Czech went off together.

Between 4 of us we done (leader listed 1st):

THE SLOPS 14m S 4a (Sonja&Mic) – she actually took an unlucky fall from before 1st gear, right into the bushes. Luckily no major damage.

DIPHTHONG * 14m S 4a (Jirka&Tez) + (Mic&Sonja) – I can’t believe I’ve never climbed it before. What a great and pleasant (read: easy) route!

THRUST *** 24m HVS 4c, 5a (Jirka&Tez) – apparently there were people TR it, and it took them a while. Not exactly ideal if you ask me…

HELlOS *** 34m VS 4c (Mic&Sonja) +  (Jirka&Tez) – I’ve lead it last year, forgot how run-out that route is at places, but defo 3 stars!

From there I’ve setup a TR for:

HOTHEAD ** 20m E2 5b  – and we all done it on pretty much first try. It’s a pity that it’s so poorly protected, otherwise it’d be amazing lead climb.



We cut the evening short to go back to Derek & Irka’s to talk about future climbing plans (Fairhead next weekend, Sicily in October) and have a drink in celebration of Derek’s low key 38th bday. Happy birthday mate, get back in shape. The mountains are calling!


As we were browsing some questionable hair styles (visit the album on the link below for bonus photo),  Tereza made some amazing pastries. I’m not really sure what or how exactly these were made, but oh my, they were good!!


As usual all the photos are in the album.





Some HVS fun.

We weren’t even planning on climbing on Sunday (having spent most of Saturday in the quarry), but it happened that the weather was still nice, so we went to see what’s going on.

We run into PG, Sonja and Diarmuid, and it was all thanks to him, who send me on the path of Dalkey mega-classics.

This involved my very first ascents of  Exertion*** HVS 5a and  Thrust*** HVS 5a. 

Diarmuid finishing Thrust
From climbing random

These 2 are definitely in the category of must climbs in Dalkey and I’ll add them my regular go to routes.

Walking off from the Upper Cliffs
From climbing random

Once we were done with the Upper Cliffs (Thrust), we walked back to the Base Camp, to meet rest of the crew enjoying the sunshine.

Nina & Josh
From climbing random

No room for mistakes

… when you want to lead GARGOYLE GROOVE DIRECT (*** 16m E1 5b). Some say the Direct finish is better and actual easier than the classic (HVS) right hand side mantle.


Yesterday seen my very first attempt on it.

From climbing random

For now, the route beat me, but I’l be back. One day. We did top rope it later afternoon that day, it provides very important piece of data – got to train more… 😉


Instead I did rather wet FIFTH AVENUE * 16m HS 4b. I find the small ledges by the top very pleasant, the overhang finish, not so much 😉

From climbing random


The highlight of the day however was the fact that Andrew decide to take hist first steps in leading. He started where most of us do – PARADISE LOST *** 17m VD.

Unfortunately I don’t think anyone taken photos of that, being busy watching Monika top roping that THE GREEN FOOL *** 16m E5 6b (also no photographic evidence of her getting to the top). It wasn’t easy. I don’t know how people lead it…

Andrew’s first lead came only  a week after he seconded me on these 2 Sundays ago:

D ROUTE *** 24m S 4a
FRAGILE 17m HS 4b,
MOONLIGHTER 20m VS 4b (on sight)
MAHJONGG ** 12m VS 4c

And it was his maybe 5th time in the quarry. Keep going strong Andrew!


Looking down the Moonlighther – Not much protection there…

From climbing random

Appeal here: next time I ‘ll decide to lead that – remind me not to..


More Dalkey

Weather forecast for today didn’t look particularly good. Max of 10C, no rain, moderate west breeze. Since the quarry is so close to where we live, it’s no brainer for us to go and have a look – worst case scenario – we’ll just pack up and go to The Wall.

So I’ve sent few invites to my regular partners but got mostly ignored (can’t blame then, I would’t be going my self, if not the fact that I can actually see the top of Killiney Hill from my kitchen window). Louis was the only one who was more than happy to join us.

We’ve agreed to meet at 12.30 and do some routes. It’d be a season opening for him – and only 2nd time outdoors on the rock for me – so we’d keep it moderate.

The place was actually packed – mostly due to the fact that IMC just started their annual new members programme, attracting some 50 new bodies – and they were mostly all out today ‘occupying’ almost all popular climbs. This is actually a great thing, as there is nothing better than loads of happy faces (most of them who never climbed real rock before) going at some of the quarry’s best classics.

From climbing random

However we were first to the Eliminates area of the East Valley starting out with some warm-up routes.
Eliminate A (VD) – I lead – Louis and Monika followed.

From climbing random


Eliminate B Dash (VD) – Louis lead, Monika and I followed.

From climbing random


In the process we run to some familiar faces – Peter Wood showed up with some new members, as well as Conor O’Connor, among others.

It was getting busy, so we decided to do one last route in that area – a rather intimidating (first protection is at some 9-10m) Up Slide Run (VS, 4c)

I never lead that one before, only seconding it once last season – so it was rather good feeling to have it ticked off now.

From climbing random

We moved to the West Valley, and as expected it was even busier there. We run into Sinead Rickerby ( I thought Yosemite climbers don’t do Dalkey), who was showing how it’s done on Jameson 10 (VS, 4b).

From climbing random

We walked around for a bit, until Louis spotted his old nemesis – Dirty Dick – a VS 4b) ‘2 moves wonder’ which defeated him last season. There could be only one decision – we go for it!

Fist jamming on Dirty Dick, VS, 4b.

From climbing random

Thing to note – Use Blue, not Yellow cam to protect the top. Yellow will just walk out and slide down the rope, as seen on below photo.

From climbing random

It got quite chilly, luckily Louis didn’t take long and the route was quickly conquered and added to the list of things we never do again. 😉


Good Firday Dalkey Quarry season opening

Kind of… (since Monika and the girls opened the season on Paddy’s Day), however for me that was the first time this year.

It was only us and Magda with  her baby.

We showed up a bit early and I lead, one move wonder Hiatus (HS, 4b).
Monika quickly followed, with Magda arriving shortly after to warm up on it.

The girls didn’t fancy any more leading, and we’ve decided to top rope some harder routes.

I’ve promptly setup another warm-up TR on Stereo Tentacles (HVS, 5a when leading), and then we just moved left towards, the Ghost Slab and top-roped Masochist (E3, 6a).

I’ve TR The Ghost (E2, 5b when leading), with the girls choosing the Poltergeist (E4, 5C when leading) line.

I’ve lead The Ghost last year (picture below), but I guess that was the first and last time I did it. It’s pleasant, not technically difficult, just so exposed, and not protected from half way up, that I don’t think it’s worth the risk of breaking ankles.

It was a good day, surprisingly sunny and luckily rain free.