Saturday, March 20, 2010

Marking major and minor problems

I have done a sample topo with minor problems marked as colored rings - the color indicating the difficulty. What do people think, should the major problem also be marked with a colored circle or would this be too much information?

Monday, March 15, 2010


Should a star system be included in the guide? Currently there isn't one. The idea behind one would be to direct people to the best problems quickly and easily. The disadvantage for me is that its another - after grading - attempt to absoultely quantify the unquantifiable. As in grading democracy doesn't tend to work, unless you have a hugely popular area like Font and a website like with a system to capture votes on grades or quality, the sample size is always going to be too small and easily distorted. So the reality is that a star system would largely represent the opinion of the author which is fine but I think it would missell so manyproblems in some peoples eyes that it might do more hard than good. The approach I favour is that of mentioning in an introduction to an area some of the standout classics and also saying in the description of a problem if it is of particularly high or low quality.
I also have plans for a list of the top 100 or 200 problems.
Assuming one would use a system like this:

*** very very nice problem one of the best in the country
** very nice problem, one of the best in the area
* worth climbing
0 probably not worth climbing

What would people think should be the spread between the ratings? Say in Glendo - or choose elsewhere - what percentage of problems should be in each category

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Wicklow Recreational Strategy" and bouldering

A report was recently published on Wicklow Recreational Strategy and it has a few small mentions of bouldering in it.

"A thriving membership

Most activities had clubs that were based in the county and were knowledgeable about and sensitive to access issues. This helped to reduce any potential for conflict in the use of the resource. The majority of clubs reported a significant increase in membership over the past 2 years, with triathlon, mountain biking, bouldering, canoeing, kayaking and orienteering reporting particular growth.
" page 26

"Size and relative importance

An activity did not need to have a large number of adherents for its presence in Co. Wicklow to be important at a national level. For some less mainstream activities, the review revealed the importance of Co. Wicklow as a venue. An example is bouldering and for this activity, Co. Wicklow presents an ideal environment. Other less well known activities showed a high growth trend, including coasteering, cliff jumping and triathlon. Clubs reported that younger people are in particular drawn to these kinds of activities.
" page 26

You can download the full PDF document here.

There is also a much bigger report (206 pages) titled "Development of the County Wicklow Outdoor Recreation Strategy 2009-20013" which also has a section about bouldering:

"Bouldering has been defined as a style of rock climbing and boulder routes were commonly reffered to as 'problems' Typically the nature of the climb was short and akin to problem solving in character. Generally bouldering was practised close to the ground, thus eliminating the need for safety equipment such as harnesses, ropes and helmets etc. Bouldering often involved sidways traversing  as well as vertical climbing. Its focus was on individual moves or short sequences of moves that demanded bursts of intense energy rather than endurance.

Co. Wicklow was a popular location for bouldering activties with Lough Dan, Glendalough, Mall Hill, Glenmacnass, Glendassan and Lough Bray reported as popular locations, with many users considering Glendalough to be the best bouldering area in Ireland. Glenmacnass had about eighty established 'problems' and Glendasan valley just north of Glendalough was home to Ireland's hardest 'problem' nand Lough Dan, Mall Hill and Lough Bray were all smaller venues in the county.
Although bouldering has been around as a form of climbing for many years, it was only recently that the sport has seen huge growth and development both in Ireland and overseas.

Key locations in for bouldering in Co. Wicklow: Glebdalough, Glenmacnass, Lough Dan, Lough Bray and Mall Hill"

You can download the report here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The upper slopes of Camaderry

Diarmuid and I spent yesterday trekking up down and across the rocky slopes of the north side of Camaderry. We saw a lot of rock, more than I have seen in a long time, the fire of Summer 2007 really cleaned the place up and the going is quite easy at the moment with no ferns and very low heather.

We climbed a bit, found a few things that we will definetly get back to. The rock quality was quite variable but was never brilliant.

The walk-in isn't that bad and for anyone who values and takes pleasure is first ascents there are some decent problems up there. Its never going to be that popular with the masses but that's their loss.

We finished up our climbing at Back to Black, Peter Tom's problem above the Miner's Track, with its fiendishly awkward topout.

Sadly I lost my favourtie green scrubbing brush somewhere along the way. Please keep an eye out for it, might have left it at the "2 Rocks" boulder. It looks like this.