Friday, March 30, 2012

New Irish Bouldering Forum

The new Irish Bouldering Forum is ready.

At the moment it is pretty simple with only one board and if the traffic justifies it I will add more.
Please remember

  • Be nice to each other.
  • I would prefer if people used their real names. Pseudo anonymous posts will be moderated heavily ie. you can get away with me if you put your name to it.
PS. main site is down for a short while. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Raven's Glen - video

Dave Ayton just put up a video from Raven's Glen.

Raven's Glen - revisited from Dave Ayton on Vimeo.

"Following on from the successful first visit, we turned up in greater numbers with more pads - lots of new lines and repeats. The newly established lines getting traffic and bringing them into good condition for future ascents. John stumbled on a great featured roof with potential for loads of lines and link-ups. Topo available here:

Once the dust settles I will do up a topo and add it to the book updates.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Irish Bouldering forum?

Someone, Chris I think, commented on this post about the Irish bouldering scene that what we need is a decent message board. The current message board is pretty minimalist in terms of features and doesn't see a whole lot of traffic.

Would people think it would be a good idea to set up a Simple Machines Forum in the style of UkBouldering?

For starter we could keep the structure of it pretty simple and expand as necessary but it would allow people to PM, get notified of new replies, only see new messages all that stuff.

What do people think?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A few old videos

Specially for Barry.

Please forgive the typo.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Old photos

Ped on Three Rock

Ped latching the dyno on the Third Rock

More Three Rock, round the back of the Third

Ped on The Plum, Glendo

James Gernon on The Plum

Ped in The Scalp

Add caption

My makeshift bouldering mat

My tshirt boulder mat in Font

Neal in 95.2

A young Big Jim

The orginal O'Dwyer in Glendo

The group that developed Carrickinfinn, Easter 2003

Diarmuid and Ped in Tonduff, 2000?

The spooky gate in Tonduff

Ped on the slide in Tonduff

Me on a route

Kev Byrne in Glendo, 1998?
Earliest bouldering photo I have.

Sparkle on our second trip to Glenmac

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gap of Dunloe - video

Some 6s From The Southwest from Barry on Vimeo.

Some problems in the 6th grade at the gap of Dunloe, in the Southwest of ireland, on the Turnpike and Hex boulders. By Barry O'Dwyer.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kinky Reggae, Glenmalure - video

kinky reggae from chris rooney on Vimeo.

Chris Rooney on the ss to Kinky Reggae, Ballinafhusogue Boulder, Glenmalure, Wicklow.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Lonely Boulder - video

The Lonely Boulder from Richard Creagh on Vimeo.

Great video by Richard Creagh of his ascent of a new problem - Puddle Arete - on The Lonely Boulder, Achill Island, Mayo. See topo here. Richard got up at 5 in the morning to squeeze in a bit of bouldering before work.

Raven's Glen/Tonduff/O'Tooles Rocks

Yesterday Dave Ayton put up a photo of a boulder on his blog. I recognised the boulder immediately having climbed on it many times. It's in Raven's Glen on the side of Tonduff mountain in Wicklow. The valley is about 15mins from Crone carpark.

Starting in the summer of 1999 some friends and I visited and climbed about ten routes on the cliffs. We also did some bouldering. We spent many weekends camping up there and messing about, we abseiled down the waterfalls, slide down the large slab where the stream runs in an inflatable boat. Pure fuckology. Most of the routes where a little scrappy some were decent. Soon after that bouldering took 100% of my focus.

I went back a few times over the years as my memory of the place faded and I felt there must be some good bouldering there. Plus it's not far from Dublin and the walk in is easy. There is a decent looking boulder close to the track. There is a good line up the middle of the front  face and a nice right arete. Used to try them every time we walked by. I even went last summer and got eated by midge and the sharp granite.

Raven's Glen from Dave Ayton on Vimeo

So when Dave posted up his photo and video - see above - I wondered all over again had I missed something. He emailed me and I gave him a rundown of the history of the place.

We met up this morning and had a wander around. We tried the lines on the boulder but I was defeated as much by the sharpness of the rock as anything. We moved up and looked at the roof, which was a lot wetter than earlier in the week. This is Dave's project which he's hoping to do when it dries.

Dave had to rush off and I wandered up the higher tier and indulged in some nostalgia. It's a wonderful little valley especially near the top of the water slide. It looks like it has become more popular as a walking route in recent years as the tracks are well trod.

Funnily enough I had planned to come back and repeat some of the routes we did years ago. So I think I will still do that. On balance I found the rock a bit too sharp and dirty for quality bouldering through if it had enough traffic and was cleaned really well something could be made of the place.

Dave's Project tackles the RHS of the roof.
I believe a few people are heading out on Saturday for a look, I would be keen to hear what they think of the place.

After having complained recently about retroclaims, I think I should go and write up the routes we did on the wiki. I put the detail up on this website a long time ago but I don't think anyone read it then.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Gap of Dunloe Climbing Meet 2012

The fourth annual Gap of Dunloe climbing meet will take place from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th of April.
Camping in Con's field behind the Dunloe Golf Course. Toilets and water on site. Camp fire provided, bring your instruments!

There is loads of great bouldering in the Gap and Black Valley and the meet is a great time to check it out. There are even some routes I believe.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shadow, Lough Dan

Dec on Shadow in Lough Dan, one of the best problems around.


Went to Glenmalure this morning. Was cloudy up in Dublin but it cleared as I drove south. There was a haze in the mountains which cleared about half way up Glenmalure valley. The sun was just leaving The Diving Board as I got there. Perfect for friction but makes for dull photos. Warmed up on the easier campus moves, first move felt easy but it took a while to sort the beta for the crux second move. Getting the sloper is ok but holding the swing takes either good core or good footwork. Fortunantly I worked out a nice foot sequence.  I was hoping that once I got through the crux I might go all the way but I was a bit short of power to finish it. Will get it next time.

My skin was pretty worked by the rough sloper but I headed down to Ballinafunshogue Boulder. Did the right hand line which is really nice. The guidebook seemed to think 6c from SS but I don't think so. Failed on Big Boots again. Just can't do it.

Checked out a boulder that has been on my list for years. It's in the lower Glenmacnass valley where the Wicklow Way crosses the river. A large log has been beached on the landing which was already sketchy. The climbing looks nice if short but I don't think I will go back.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bouldering Meet 2012

The view from Zef's boulder at midnight.
Friday night was a late one for some of us but we still got to the bouldering before midday on Saturday. It was a dry and mild with a tiny hint of rain that never happened. There wasn't a huge number of people around so it felt a bit like any given Sunday in Glendo. Saturday night was a pretty mellow affair but we went for a climb on Zef's boulder just before midnight which was a little strange but very worthwhile. Sunday was perfect. Well far too hot for optimal friction but that didn't seem to matter. 7 of us headed to Lough Dan which was a great call. We checked out a few of the ultra classics including Shadow, 3 Kings, Karma, Driving Seat and Tony's Arete.

The attendance was low but I'm not going to dwell on that, if people don't bother coming it's their loss. Thanks to everyone who did bother I hope it was worth it.

Was anyone in Glendo on Sunday?

Tim on Black Art.

David on his second ever topout.

Dec on 3 Kings.

Queue on the Karma boulder

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Readers required for my next book

For the last few months I have been working on my next book. It's a bouldering "how to" book aimed at beginners, I haven't decided onthe final format (free ebook, paid ebook, paper book). And it's still far from finished but I'm looking for a few climbers who would be willing to read through chapters as they are written and give feedback. You don't need to be an expert in fact it might be better if you are relatively new to climbing.

If you are interested send me an email at flanagandavid at hotmail dot com. I would also be keen to hear from anyone who has any bouldering photos I might be interested in.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Went out with Tim to Glendasan somehow he had never been there before. Warmed up at the Starting Block. Headed up to The Tank and tried Faith in Lichen, the problem on the left, it's a powerful few moves to get stood up and a smeary highball finish. Tried the arete right of Darkness which is in the guide as a project, not sure if that is right. We bottled the last move, it's probably easy but it is high. Tim tried the Gaskins 7b on the right. Most of it is pretty easy all the 7b-ness is in the second move.

It was starting to rain at this point so we headed down to the IMC Hut and tried the brilliant arete on Zef's Boulder which is 50m down from the hut on the other side of the road. It gave us no need to trouble but is a brilliant problem. Friction all the way on very nice white granite.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Ped and I headed to Glenmalure this morning. Mostly clear skies, strong wind and cold air made for really great conditions. Headed up to my project and worked some moves. Made progress, have done all the moves bar the really hard one. Going to have to do some specific training for it I think. Fortunately it was sheltered from the wind otherwise it might of been a touch too cold. Next went to the 45 wall and tried the really nice groove on the right. Hard and not that long but perfect rock and very technical.  Tried the problems on the 45, Ped faffed on the right hand line much to my pleasure.

Headed up the valley to check out a boulder, The Diving Board that I had spotted. From a distance it looked like it had a long thin plane sticking out from one side. It was hard to judge the scale and it was only when we got within about 50m that it became apparent that the boulder was a good size. Maybe 12 foot high, 20 long with a 12 foot long nose sticking out of its left hand side.

Perfect. It's not unusal that a boulder would grow in your mind from one sighting to another but it is rare that it on close viewing exceeds your expectations. This did. The rock was quite dirty as that side of the valley is quite shaded but no big deal. I set about cleaning the right arete while Ped sorted the landing under the roof. The arete went pretty easy, Blue Robot 5, nice holds.

There is an obvious start to the roof on a good flat hold and it looked like the best finish was on the uphill of the nose where it became more incut. The sloper on the lip were generous and I started to believe it would go there and then but the first two moves were a bit powerful for my tired arms and thin skin. A lovely reach back to a small finger jug followed by a very long reach and flag from a high foot allows the good holds to be reached. Can't wait to go back and do it next time. Will spill the beans on the location once it's done.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Irish climbing scene?

Photo: Seán Walsh.

The bouldering meet has been running for 8 years now and has had its ups and downs in that time. It started with a bang, followed by a lull and now is in a steady state. While the attendance is usually pretty good at the boulders not many make the effort to stick around overnight in the hut. Every year this gets me thinking about the Irish scene. Is there one? Why is it so shit? etc.

I went along to the bouldering championships in Gravity a few weeks ago to put up posters for the meet. I was amazed and disappointed at the low attendance. Granted there was loads of kids there, which is great, but very few - maybe a dozen - older climbers. It looked like a youth comp. Gravity is a great venue for a comp, there was loads of space, the problems looked great, the weather was crap so where was everyone? Granted entry was pricey (€20 online in advance or €30 on the day plus you had to join MI (€44.20), so potentially €74.20) and that is something that should be looked at.

For the last few years there has been a climbing meet in the Gap of Dunloe in late spring. There is always a good attendance from a core of Cork and Kerry climbers but again very few make the effort to travel.

Trish did her talk for the IMC recently and apparently only a few greybeards and a few neophyte students attended.

Ireland is a small country with a small number of climbers so you might expect they would be a tight knit group but it doesn't seem to work that way. Each group seems to be focused on it's own area, rarely straying far. There are plenty of events (Gap meet, Fair Head meet, bouldering meet for starters) just limping along never really achieving their potential.

In Dublin it seems that most climbers are friendly with each other, but that doesn't seem to be the case in some other parts of the country. Personality clashes and grudges while not rife definitely are common.

So what makes a good scene? Lots of friendly rivalry, active climbers, new routes, good communication, good attendance by non-locals at organised events or even just lots of climbers travelling around the country.

Now I'm not on facebook so maybe I'm missing out on loads of interesting info but looking at the others Irish climbing sites there is very little going on. There very few bloggers and very little in the way of information flow about what people are up - that is assuming people are up to anything. Maybe some of this is an Irish reticence to blow one's own trumpet. If so I wish people would get over it, it's possible to share without boasting.