Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 review

Stephen McMullan posted a good retrospective of the Irish climbing year on

From a personal point of view my highlight was finishing the guide in January and it selling well. I have a small pile left and it sold loads more than I had expected/hoped. For the first few months I barely dared look at it for fear of finding mistakes and only focusing on the elements that could have been better. But with the passage of time I can now happily leaf throught it with considerable satisfaction. The icing on the cake was probably getting shortlisted for Banff. Thanks to all who bought it and to those who haven't what are you waiting for?

The guide and the arrival of Gravity must be the two biggest events on the bouldering scene. Gravity seems to be doing great business and must surely breed a whole new crop of boulderers/climbers. It's definitely going to have a huge effect on the competitive climbing scene, starting kids climbing young and getting them strong. How all this will translate to rock climbing remains to be seen.

My goal for the year was to concentrate on new problems which worked out pretty well. The exploring on the Wicklow coast fed the rat somewhat but it is probably destined to be a estoreic enough bouldering area however next summer might see some route development I suspect. A few visits to the Upper Glanekeera valley yielded some excellent finds which add to make a decent remote area. Must get a few things climbed and then do a topo. (posts 1,2,3). Also finally explorded Camaderry properly, I now have a pretty good idea where the really good stuff is.

The standard of Irish bouldering definitely rose this year. Partly due to the co-ops and partly just a younger generation. I would suspect more > 8a's (I know the ' is technically wrong but I think it's clearer than 8as) were climbed in Ireland this year than ever before.

The cave in howth was in great nick for a lot of the summer and loads of new links were done. John Howard also ticked the whole cave which must be one of the most impressive feats of the year. See below for the updated topo - of course it's not as simple when you actually stand there and try and find a problem.

One of the very last parts of the guide I wrote was the outro. It got me thinking about how much bouldering there is out there, I have always believed that there are some major areas to be found. But a day in the pissing rain in Caha Mountains pretty much convinced me I won't find it in the Cork/Kerry mountains.

Anyway. Thanks for reading and keep commenting. Will write a post tomorrow about plans for the year.

Blog future

Not sure what the future for this blog is. I have been trying to post general interest irish bouldering stuff and keen away from logbook style things.  Trish's blog which seems to be very popular is logbook style but its done well so maybe I could do some of that stuff but try and do it well. Or should I start another blog for that?

I have recently embedded it on the theshortspan as a temporary measure while I figure out what to do. I would like to update theshortspan more next year with news and short articles and maybe keep the more niche personal stuff on the blog.

Would be very keen to hear suggestions on how to do it?

Friday, December 30, 2011


I don't even really believe in yoga.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Glendo on Christmas Eve

Jeff wearing a right arm chicken wing, left arm palm and
a double knee bar. Fleece models own.

 Good session in an almost mint Glendo. Lots of people around. Warmed up on Big Jim in the wind. Did a good problem on the uphill arete of the riverside. Starting just R of the top of Barry's Crack move left on lovely slopers and either slap up - what I did - or reach into the top of the sidepull problem.

Went to try Squamish but I had to conceed to the damp. Diarmuid was showing us his pet problem Midge Too Far (best thing about it is the name) and Jeff - the genius man - spotted that the classic chimney offer potential for a horrific journey into the through it bowels. We immediatly got stuck in, I think you can safely say we, literally got stuck in. The archaic and deviant world of chimney and slot bouldering is one that appeals to my dark side. It's truely 3D climbing, using your whole body to best effect, and its also a style where determination and fight really count. After 3 goes I was goosed. Knees were skinned. This is a body pump quite unlike the class in Westwood on Saturday morning that my friend Paddy is such a fan of. Jeff and fought hard but lost to a technical knockout. Jeff who lives in Italia  90 won't be back for a while but I will. Once I fashion some neato knee pads.

For the record the sequeeze goes something like this bridge, squeeze, painful knee bar, sore arm bar then chicken wing, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar,painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, good slopey foothold, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, painful knee bar, ear then who knows but probably something involving painful knee bars to the top.

On the way out we saw a beautiful dead trout lying beside the river.
Then I made the lads go home.

Friday, December 23, 2011

May 2010 - Inishmore photos

Went to Inishmore for the May 2010 bank holiday. Got great weather and got to visit The Wormhole and do some exploring. My goal was to get a few shots for the guide note the lines. Was going through the photos again today and thought it would be worth posting up a few that didn't make the guide.

Poll na Peiste is a great little bouldering spot. As clean lines as you will find anywhere. The rock is pretty smooth for limestone but still have some friction. The landings are perfect.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shortest day of the year over

The shortest day of the year is just about over, finishing in some style with a good sunset. So every day from now on we get about a minute of extra light.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Went to the Scalp this morning with Tim. Was good conditions, cold and a breeze. My skin was crap and I remember that the climbing in the Scalp while powerful is very sequency and beta intensive, its quite possible to NEARLY do problems sub optimally. Warmed up on the arete beside Plank Arete. Powerful. Then on to Gen Tilly which is a fine problem. We then walked to the garage and got coffe which we brought up to Switch and drank before trying the left arete. Must be the only crag where you can get coffee between problems?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Glanekeera part 3

Revisited Glanekeera today with Michael and Chris. I was hoping for sunny and cold but it was more damp, icy and cold. The wind was strong and cold in the Wicklow Gap carpark and I wasn't that optimistic about getting much done. Which was a pity as the last two visits (1 and 2) were more focused on exploring and this time I wanted to climb a few problems.

Went straight to the tire boulder which was sheltered from the wind but damp and icy. Michael cleaned the hard line on the back and him and Chris tried it but conditions were crap. I tried the warm up that I had trouble with last time but it was manky - didn't stop the lads though. Then did a pointless variation. Checked out and cleaned another boulder and then went to the big fella.

Michael had added and cleaned a line on the left a week or two ago and we build a little landing and he got to work. It looked very nice and very hard and I think we where all a little surprised when he did it in about 6 goes. It took a few goes to figure out the reach over the bulge to a bad sloper and a few more sloper moves and a dicey mantle lead to the top. Its a great problem on great holds up a massive big boulder. Chris videod it but missed the start. Grade is around 7b/7c I'd say but conditons where bad so it would be hard to say.

Glanekeera is a nice spot. Remote but not too far a walk. The rock isn't the cleanest but there is a good few nice new problems to be done.