Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Had an hour up on 3rock this morning, doing some new to me problems and getting some photos for the updated connoisseur's guide. Was a beautiful spring day with not a breeze. So not great conditions but it would be very myopic to complain about that.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Font trip

L'Angle du Serac, Isatis.
Spent Thursday morning to Monday morning in Font. Trip was a great laugh but not ideal from a climbing point of view, first day was a washout, damp, still and misty, the second and third day we got a few hours climbing on a limited number of problems in 95.2, the fourth day was much better and we climbed in Isatis which was pretty dry by the afternoon. I managed to bruise both my heels on the first days climbing, thanks to our very soft hire pads. They were very sore and prevented me getting the most out of the good day. I have come to the conclusion that while I enjoy the atmosphere of bouldering in a big group I don't find it very motivating (maybe I've spent too much time climbing on my own). I don't have an interest in being part of a procession up a problem. I need to do more sloping off on my own when I'm in that situation.

Didn't make any dent on the ticklist but did put some time into L'Angle du Serac, a very clear arete in Isatis. It is purely technical in the sense that strength doesn't come into it, the only hand hold - the arete - is good and you don't even really pull on it. It's all about body position and footwork. In the photo my left foot is on the downward sloping credit card edge that you need to stand up on to reach the top. Great problem.

We stayed in a very nice gite south of Nemours (number 96 I think) which made for a lot of driving which was a bit of a pain. It was blessed with a table tennis table which saw heavy traffic and blunted the edge of the frustration with the weather.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bouldering feature in this Sunday's Sunday Times

This Sunday's week's Sunday Times (I can't time of a less crap way of putting it a bit better) will have a two page spread about bouldering in Ireland. Check it out.

Font tomorrow

 Heading to Font tomorrow for 4 days climbing. Early start, flying at 6.45 which is nasty. Thanks to the timely arrival of Gravity I'm probably better trained than I have been in a few years. Since Christmas I have been their an average of 3 times a week which is a lot considering I hadn't even been to a wall for two years before that. Have only climbed once in the last week but badly needed a rest before that. Feel a bit over rested now but its probably no harm if I'm planning to climb 4 days in a row.

Its always a challenge to get the most out of trips to Font. I'm not a big fan of rest days which means the body especially the elbows really start to hurt after a few days. The circuits at the wall have been great for doing volume so hopefully that will help be I feel no matter what I did I will be in agony on the last day. When I went in September I climbed for 6 out of the 7 days, granted I stuck to blues and didn't climb too much each day but I found after about 5 days the pain started to get a little better rather than worse.

Did a bit of research and did up a ticklist of sorts. No really a ticklist more a list of problems I would like to look at and try if I can.

Là où Finit la Raie des Fesses Isatis 7a
L'Ultime Secret Isatis 7a+
Delicatessen Puiselet Le Paradis 6c
Biotope Puiselet Mont Sarrasin 7a
Duroxmanie Cuivier Est 6c
Beatlejuice stand Cuisinière 6a
Le Surplomb de la Coquille Franchard 6c
Beurre Marga Isatis 6b+
Le Toit Ouvrant Isatis 6a
L'Angle du Sérac / L'angle Facial Isatis 6b+
Le Cure-Dents, L'Arc de Cercle, Le Grand Dièdre 91.1 5+/ 6a/ 6a+
Travaux Forcés Gorge aux Chats 6b
La Voie Michaud Elephant 6c
Le Swing Medium Buthiers 6b
Moondance Cuisinière Crête Sud 6a
Duel dans la Lune 95.2 6c
Le Kilo de Beurre 95.2 5
Le Trou du Simon Cuivier 6a
Le Bossu Rocher Canon 6b
La Clavicule / Kilo de Beurre / Pif Paf Cuivier 5+/6b/7a
Gigi Gorge Aux Chats 6b
Le Meilleur des Mondes Bois Rond 6a

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Top 10 bouldering areas in Ireland

Was asked to do a list of the top 10 bouldering areas for an article in the Sunday Times. Not as easy as it might sound. So just going to think aloud.

If it's judged solely on number of problems (in the guide) then this is the list.
  1. Glendo (155)
  2. Glenmacnass (73)
  3. Doolin (67)
  4. Portrane (66)
  5. Fairhead (60)
  6. Gap of Dunloe (56)
  7. Glendasan (52)
  8. Slieve Binnian (47)
  9. Mall Hill (48)
  10. Windy Gap (40)
There are a few problems with this list. Firstly bigger isn't always better. Secondly some of the areas above are a bit of an acquired taste (Windy Gap, Portrane for starters). If you assume that the purpose to the list is to help people decide where to go for a bouldering trip in Ireland then the above list isn't that useful as there are other worthwhile clusters of smaller bouldering areas that could be considered as one area, for example the coastal granite around Carrickfinn or if you took the Gap and Black Valley as one area it would move up the list. So here is a list of what I would consider the best destinations for a day or two bouldering in Ireland.

  1. Wicklow
  2. Gap of Dunloe and Black Valley
  3. Doolin and Inishmore
  4. Fairhead
  5. Mournes
  6. North West Donegal
  7. Inishowen, Donegal
  8. Aughris Head
  9. Fermanagh Grit
  10. Portrane and Ayton's Cave
The order is highly debatable. The first entry is miles ahead of the rest and the last is dubious but I couldn't think of anywhere else. Taking Wicklow as one big grouping doesn't really work though.

Combining the two lists makes a bit more sense. If one accepts that Glendo is number on no matter how you look at it and that the order of the rest is so subjective to be not worth worrying about then the list might look something like this.
  1. Glendo
  2. Glenmacnass 
  3. Fairhead
  4. Doolin
  5. Gap of Dunloe and Black Valley
  6. Glendasan
  7. Slieve Binnian 
  8. Aughris Head
  9. Mall Hill
  10. Portrane
There aren't any major areas left out bar Windy Gap but I think it's a special case as the rock is so sharp. This wouldn't be my personal list though. Fairhead is better suited for wads, they may well rate it number 2 , and I'm not a big fan of Doolin but a lot of others seem to like it.

If anyone has any comments or suggestions or alternate lists post a comment.

Three Rock

Diarmuid on SS to the middle of the Second Rock.
Photo: Ped.
Went up to Three Rock. Hadn't been for almost a year so everything felt fresh, almost new. There was a bit of a breeze but it was warm in the sun. The odd shaded corner was a bit damp or even a little icy. Played around on the back wall of the third rock which was a great sun trap. Did every little variation and then some. Then did a few nice, if a little silly variations on the second rock, great press moves on rubbish slopers. Definitely going to do up a small but detailed guide to Three Rock showing all the silly little variations and elimates, probably one for the connoisseurs.

I assume/hope that all the kids that were at the competition in Gravity yesterday made their way to Glendo today. Not sure it would of been mint though.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Freak brothers

Another very nice piece of granite from Switzerland.

Day 8 - Freak Brothers from Sandstones on Vimeo.

Barefoot on sacred ground

I posted a few months ago about Spectre, a boulder problem in California that I consider close to perfect.  Last week I read a blog post about a one shoed ascent. Terry Paholek did Spectre wearing only a left shoe so that he could use his toes to cam and pull on the footholds.

You can see from the photo on the left (from the Bishop Bouldering) how important the right foot is.


Terry Paholek, Spectre V13, Bishop, CA from chalk on blocs on Vimeo.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Meet poster

Bouldering Meet 9/10/11th March

The hut is booked for the bouldering meet on the 9/10/11th March. Spread the word. Pint to anyone who can name every one in the photo above. Hint: from 2005.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Went to Glenmalure to try the project. Spent about 2 hours on it, made some progress but not to hit the fingerboard I think.

Checked out some boulders near the carpark at the end of the road. There is a stream coming down from Fraughan that looked like it made a bit of a gorge with a few rounded blocks in it. Bushwacked up to it and everything was too small. Beautiful, pale and very smooth granite though.

Then went to the carpark at Ballinasfushogue, where the waterfall boulder is, and headed up the hillside to the left, after about 10 minutes and some more bushwacking I hit the boulders visible from the road, they are all pretty shite, easy, high outcrops with bad landings. But above the outcrops if one nice boulder right beside a massive pine tree. The steep face has a holdless corner that would be great if it's climable. The rock is quite smooth and there are no holds but plenty of shapes.To the right of it was an interesting schist wall, slightly overhanging with lots of small horizontal edges. And above this again was a quartz wall. Unusual to have three rock types in that close proximity.