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The Black Cliff is situated on Valencia Island in Co. Kerry to the west of the cliff top radio station. From Cahersiveen the island can be reached by ferry at Reenard point. A cheaper but slightly longer route from Cahersiveen is via the bridge at Portmagee.
This is the complex black cliff between the steep sided inlet called Coosnahorna and the tumble down Fogher Cliff, on the SW side of Reenadrolaun Point. The height ranges from 35m to 60m. The first eight routes can be reached by an abseil over The Lobster of Incontinence. In calm seas, the first 16 can be reached below 3/4 tide. In big seas, waves can come over the top. The easiest escape, bar Jumaring is E1.
At the seaward end of the overhanging face of Coosnahorna is Brendan’s buttress, characterised by the prominent flake of Brendan the Navigator. Right of this is the black slab of ‘Lobster which, despite ending on the lip of a large overhang is the safest position for abseil ropes.
The rock is a generally sound sandy slate, there is little loose rock but edged are very sharp and care should be taken with rope work and abseils. Rope protectors of some sort are essential for the abseils. All directions are given facing into the cliff. Two sets of Friends 1 - 3 can prove useful.
1. Brendan the Navigator E1 45m
Start from the platform right of the buttress.
1. 20m 4b Gain the arete from the right, move up to a good ledge and traverse this leftwards to beyond where it disappears then climb up to a good ledge.
2. 25m 5b Climb the ramp and disappearing crack towards the left arete of the buttress, follow the deep flake crack until possible to move right to easier terrain which leads to the top.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 26.5.94
2. The Salmon of Wisdom E3 50m
Start as for Brendan.
1. 30m 5a Follow Brendan round the arete, move left and climb a second ledge. Continue up a sparsely protected wall to Puddle Ledge.
2. 20m 5c From the left end of Puddle Ledge step left and up, past a good wire, then make a difficult move to a good ledge. Finish direct via an interesting mantle shelf move.
J.Fleming C.Jackson 26.5.94
3. The Lobster of Incontinence E3 55m
Start as for Brendan.
1. 15m. 4c Follow Salmon to the second ledge, move right and climb to a capped groove and belay.
2. 15m. 5b Climb the unprotected wall to Puddle Ledge.
3. 25m. 5b Climb the crack behind the belay to a ledge, Make an unprotected traverse right onto the hanging black slab (poor peg) and continue up past good Friend placements to the top.
C.Jackson, J.Fleming, W.Briggs 28.5.94
4. Short Shark Shock 45m E3
Start as for Monkfish
1. 20m. 5a Climb the wide crack by its right arete until possible to enter it. Move up and right to a good ledge.
2. 15m 5a Traverse left along sharp breaks into the corner.
3. 15m 5c Climb the excellent corner with increasing difficulty to the final slot, best avoided by a strenuous move left.
C.Jackson, J.Fleming 12.6.96
5. Swordfish 40m E4
The central crack line on the Monkfish wall gives a juggy expedition with an exhilarating finish. Start as for The Monkfish From Hell.
1. 5c 40m Follow the Monkfish to an obvious traverse line just below the belay. Traverse left, passing beneath a block, to reach the central crack line and follow this up to and over the capping roof - F4 for the exit.
Neil Foster, Ian Parsons 13.6.96
6 The Monkfish from Hell E3 45m
Some 25m right of Brendan, a wide crack cuts the lower overhanging wall.
1. 20m. 5a Climb the wide crack by its right arete until possible to enter it. Move up and right to a good ledge.
2. 25m. 5c Climb the corner above the stance to a ledge on the left. Follow a crack round a small roof to where it disappears (good wire). Traverse right past a wider crack to a ledge on the nose of the buttress and finish direct.
C.Jackson, J.Fleming 27.5.94
Right of Monkfish, the cliff drops back into a large corner undercut by a cave guarded by a sometimes wave filled trough known as The Coffin. The next four routes clime the superb weathered brown wall to the left of the cave.
7. Nomad E2 50m
Start from a prominent ledge some 7m up the left arete.
1. 25m 5b Move onto the face and climb left above the belay to a ledge. Traverse right to good flakes, climb these and the wall above until it is possible to traverse left under the overhang to a belay on the arete.
2. 25m 5b Climb the short corner above the belay to a ledge. Either climb direct to a belay or better, take a line diagonally right to finish by a wide crack.
C.Jackson, W.Briggs, J.Fleming 27.5.94
8. Lost in Juarez E4 50m
A superb route. Start as for Nomad.
1. 50m 6a Traverse right into a shallow groove and climb this with increasing difficulty to the flakes. Follow these, step right and climb the wall past several thin breaks to a good hold where the angle eases. Continue trending right into a wide finishing crack.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 30.5.94
9. Austin Warriors 45m E5
The central line on the Juarez Wall gives the hardest climbing, though it doesn't have the same class as it's neighbours. Start on the big ledge right of the coffin, just left of the arete of the huge cave.
1. 10m. 5a Pull up the wall to a good horizontal, and hand traverse this left to belay beneath the initial groove of Lost in Juarez.
2. 35m. 6a Climb the groove above the stance to the big break. Make a cramped traverse right to a small pedestal/ramp on the wall. Stand up on this and climb the thin wall above to a better horizontal. Pull up left to easier ground and follow corner systems rightwards to the main break. Move right on this to ledges beneath the compact, streaked headwall. The next objective is a small block ledge in the quartz break above. Climb the wall just right to a pocket, and then reach left to the block ledge, and stand up on it. Trend rightwards more easily now, following the obvious line of holds, and pull out onto the rib of the groove. Finish up the wide crack on the right as for Lost in Juarez.
Ian Parsons, Neil Foster (Alt) 15/6/96
10. Kerry Gold 50m E4
Superb climb. Start inside the huge cave beneath Abyss, beneath the only weakness in the left wall.
1. 15m. 5b Climb the shadowy groove to the shelving ledge and walk left on this to belay back in sunshine on the arete beneath the Juarez wall.
2. 35m. 5c Climb the arete above the stance, then finger-traverse out onto the wall on the second thin horizontal. From better holds pull up into a niche, then climb the steep wall just to the right (good Rock 1) past horizontals to the main break. Move right on this to the base of the prominent left-facing corner which cleaves diagonally across the Juarez headwall. Move up the corner for 2m, then pull out right onto the wall, and up into a flaky niche. Climb the headwall above first leftwards, then back right and finally direct to the wide finishing crack of Lost in Juarez.
Ian Parsons, Neil Foster (Alt), John Fleming 14/6/96
Approach the next routes by scrambling onto ledges in the back of the cave and traversing right to the foot of an obvious corner.
11. Unknown Legend E1 45m
1. 20m. 5b Climb the arete, traverse into the corner and follow this until it is possible to step left into a good flake. Continue up and right to a good belay.
2. 25m. 5a Climb the steep corner on excellent holds to The Bicycle Ledge. Follow the groove on the left to the top.
W.Briggs, J.Fleming, C.Jackson 27.5.94
12. Abyss E1 55m
1. 20m. 5b As for Unknown Legend
2. 10m. 4b Traverse left to a belay close to the corner.
3. 25m 5a Climb the superb corner, crux near the top.
J.Fleming, W.Briggs, C.Jackson 28.5.94
13. Good Crack! 40m E5 6a
The perfect overhanging crack between Ramptastic and Abyss.
1. 25m 5b Follow Unknown Legend and the traverse of Abyss to belay beneath the crack.
2. 15m 6a Climb it and enjoy!
Neil Foster, Ian Parsons (both led it) 15/6/96
14. Ramptastic 45m E3
1. 20m. 5b As for Unknown Legend.
2. 25m. 6a Take a rising line leftwards on steepening rock and deteriorating protection to where a thin ramp cuts across the overhanging wall. A peg and long sling have been left in situ to protect the hard moves which follow though these should be checked prior to an ascent. Easier climbing leads up the thin crack to the top.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 1.6.94
15. The Crow Road E2 65m
Start from the wide ledge right of Unknown Legend.
1. 15m Traverse easily right across a corner to a belay below a small niche in the overhanging wall.
2. 10m 4c Continue right in alarming position to a good ledge and belay below the left end of the huge overhangs.
3. 40m 5b Take a rising line towards the right edge of the buttress crossing several breaks. Continue more easily up a steep finishing wall below a good ledge or escape right.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson, P.Hulley 24.5.95
C.Jackson, J.Fleming (P1 & 2) 12.6.96
16. Ford of the Biscuits E2 60m
A superb route, taking the wall on the left side of the huge overhang. Start as for Crow Road
1. 15m As for Crow Road
2. 10m 4c As for Crow Road.
2. 35m 5b Climb the wall to the roof and traverse left to a small ledge in superb position. Continue up the corner above to a good ledge.
3. 5m. Finish right.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 25.5.95
The previously unclimbed north wall of Horror Zawn now has two routes. Abseil down the centre of the wall to good ledges at its base.
17. Aukland Arbour 60m E5
An intricate climb breaching the steep area of rock left of Watersports. Care needed to prevent rope drag on pitch 2. Start at the back of a short, roofed corner left of the cave, which is left of the start of Watersports.
1. 15m. 5c Pull up the corner, then hand-traverse the break round onto a small ledge on the front face. Move up to the base of a niche, then follow the obvious ramp line and undercuts up and left, to gain better holds on a quartz banded wall. Follow the short ramp back right to arrive on the Watersports belay. A technical pitch which is tricky to protect.
2. 40m. 6a Thrutch up the short, frequently wet, corner on the right to access the upper ramp. Traverse left across the slab to good runners at the top left-hand corner, then step down and move steeply up and left to beneath the prominent crack. Climb the crack to easier ground, then finish steeply up the blunt rib above.
Ian Parsons, Neil Foster 20/6/96
18. Watersports 60m E5
The right-hand of the prominent groove lines bounding the smooth central wall on its left gives a generally well protected though challenging pitch. Anyone lucky enough to attempt the line during a drought may well consider the grade to be much exaggerated, though the spring which emerges in the middle of the crux will leave most leaders, as well as the first ascensionists, feeling they fully deserved their E5 tick! Start where an hourglass pillar at the base of the obvious crack gives the easiest way through the initial overhangs.
1 20m. 5a Climb the crack for a short distance, then follow the obvious traverse line leftwards, above the roofs, stepping down onto the prominent ramp. Pad easily up this to belay at its top.
2 40m. 6a Thrutch up the short, frequently wet, corner on the right to access the upper ramp. Undercut rightwards and pull up into the big, leaning corner. Climb this to the top roof and follow flakes on the right to the base of the smooth headwall which is climbed leftwards, then direct, to a sharp escape left.
Neil Foster, Ian Parsons, Chris Jackson, John Fleming 16/6/96
The abseil point for the next routes can be located by walking along the slabby platform west of the top corner of the wireless station enclosure. Drop down to a second level, turn right and drop down to a third. An abseil from the west end of this takes one down the chimney of Big Ted and onto a large platform clear of the sea. The left end of the ledge (facing in) ends at a wall with a wide crack on its right, this is the starting crack for Charlie Don’t Surf. Routes are described from right to left for this section.
19. Big Ted VS 50m
Towards the right end of the ledge is an obvious crack.
1. 25m 4c Climb the crack, escaping right where it steepens. Move round the corner and follow a chimney to a good ledge.
2. 25m 4a Follow chimneys until possible to escape left.
J.Fleming, W.Briggs, C.Jackson 29.5.94
20. The Division Bell E3 50m
Start as for Big Ted.
1. 15m 5b Climb the crack of Big Ted but continue very steeply to a good ledge on the arete.
2. 20m 5b Traverse left with scant protection to better ledges. Continue to the corner, climb the overhung corner and move right to a good belay ledge.
3. 15m 5a Follow the fine chimney to the top.
C.Jackson, John Fleming 13.6.96
21. Gael Force 50m E6 6b
Below the finishing chimneys of The Division Bell is a steep left wall which gives the most demanding route on the crag. The protection is not always obvious, particularly on the first arete where it is all from small r.p.'s, though it was all placed on the lead. As most of the protection is fairly crucial, an abseil inspection is strongly recommended.
Start beneath the overhanging arete 5m right of Charlie Don't Surf.
1. 50m 6b Climb the arete to a good jug which takes a F2. Move up and right onto the wall and gain the obvious central line. Climb the short groove to good friends at the right end of a prominent shelf. Mere mortals (and the first ascentionsist) may opt to hand traverse the shelf left for 2m where a very welcome no-hands rest can be had. Return to the friends and continue up the short, sandy rib to a good finger-rail. Climb the thin wall above, slightly leftwards, to a much better break, and much easier, though still very steep, trending leftwards to a perfect crows nest belay ledge. (F21/2 & F3 belays in a hanging crack up on the left wall). Escape easily rightwards.
Neil Foster, John Fleming 18/6/96
22. Fool If You Think It’s Over E3 52m
Start at the wide corner crack of Charlie Don’t Surf
1. 16m 5c Climb the wide crack into an overhung niche. Exit direct and continue into a ‘Glowering Spot’ belay.
2. 14m 5b Traverse right and move up into a groove which is followed to a belay in a niche.
3. 10m 6a Climb the overhanging layback crack to a small stance.
4. 12m Follow easy slabs to the top.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 14.6.96
23. Charlie Don’t Surf E4 50m
Start at the left end of the ledge at a wide cracked corner.
1. 30m. 6a Climb the wide crack and steep wall to where it is possible to step left and make difficult moves to better holds. Gain a good ledge and continue up the poorly protected wall, leftwards to a good ledge.
2. 20m 4a Follow the pleasant black slab to the top.
J.Fleming, W.Briggs, C.Jackson 30.5.94
24. The Recidivist E3 50m
Start at the edge of the ledge left of Charlie Don’t Surf.
1. 30m 5c Traverse left along the obvious break until possible to move up to a good ledge. Traverse left to the arete and climb this in superb position to the belay of Charlie.
2. 20m 4a Follow the pleasant black slabs to the top.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 15.6.96?
The next two routes are reached by dropping down to a lower ledge and traversing carefully left to below an overhanging recess.
25. Shelf Life 60m E4
1. 20m. 5b Steep moves gain the first shelf. Continue up the right corner of the recess, passing further shelves, to reach a splendid ledge on the right.
2. 40m. 5c The obvious flake line in the steep wall directly above the first pitch is rather steeper than it looks. Climb it to a shelf where it is just possible to lie down. The steep headwall, just left of the first flake, is climbed to exit just right of a flake. Follow pleasant slabs to the top.
Neil Foster, Ian Parsons (Alt) 16/6/96
26. The Longest Day 60m E5
Start as for Shelf Life.
1. 20m. 6a Steep moves gain the first shelf. Walk left and climb the left corner of the recess, via some interesting mantles, to a good ledge on the left.
2. 20m. 6a A prominent ramp line/flake runs leftwards across the steep wall. Follow this, good protection but slightly frantic towards the top, to emerge on easier ground and good belays at the base of the big corner.
3. 20m. 6b Climb the corner for a few feet to a good F11/2, take a deep breath, and finger traverse the breaks all the way along the lip of the huge roof to the left, with one tricky sequence about half way out, but excellent protection all the way. The second may well refuse to follow!
Neil Foster, Ian Parsons 21/6/96
The next four routes are in Hidden Wall area, the abseil for which can be reached by walking out along the easy ledges past the abseil for Big Ted etc. A prominent tilted slab of rock provides the belay for the abseil.
27. St Bridgid’s Flood E3 55m
This takes the corners and ledges which run up left to right across Hidden Wall. Start at a steep wall some 5m left of an overhung corner at the left end of the sea platform. Pitch 2 has no protection, and in the damp conditions with a big sea running and jammer on the abseil rope was used as a runner.
1. 15m 5b Climb the steep wall past a small thread then trend left to a good ledge.
2. 25m 5b Climb right, up the ramp behind the belay to the base of a shallow corner. Ascend this, awkward landing to reach a long ledge. Belay at the right end of this as for Absolutely Fantastic.
3. 15m 5c Climb the steep crack in the left wall and finish up the overhanging corner.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 1.6.95
28. Last to the Top’s a Tory E1 80m
This is the easiest way off the platform, though in damp conditions, P1 can be awkward. At low tide and calm conditions, P1 can probably be avoided.
1. 15m 5b As for St Brigid’s Flood.
2. 25m 5a Traverse left and climb down to a lower ledge. Move round the corner and climb to the ledge of Big Ted. Step right to a hanging slab and belay.
3. 15m 5a Climb suspect blocks and overhung corner to a wide belay.
4. 15m 4c Climb a short overhanging wall, then traverse right to block belays on the front face.
5. 10m 5a The deceptively steep wall to the top.
C.Jackson, P.Hully, J.Fleming 30.5.95
29. Absolutely Fantastic E4 60m
This takes the superb right to left line across Hidden Wall. Start at the right end of the platform on a narrow ledge.
1. 15m 5a Move round the arete and climb the slab to a good belay ledge.
2. 30m 5c Follow the obvious leaning crack with increasing difficulty until it is possible to traverse left and climb down to belay in a corner.
3. 15m 5c Climb the steep crack in the left wall and finish up the overhanging corner.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 29.5.94
30. Sirens of Titan E4 80m
The route climbs a series of slabs on the south end of Hidden Wall. A committing route with the crux at the top. Start as for Absolutely Fantastic.
1. 20m 5b Cross the slab, descend slightly then follow the steep wall past good holds to the obvious notch. From here, traverse right to belay in the corner.
2. 30m 5b Follow the slabby corner until below the large overlap, traverse left to good cracks where a belay can be arranged.
3. 15m 4c Continue to a sloping ledge, some 10m below a wet overhanging corner.
4. 15m 6a Climb out of the corner on a series of incut hold to a groove on the right arete. Small Friends. Make a difficult move right to a flat hold, step round the arete, another trying move leads to easier ground and block belays.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson, P.Hulley 25.5.95
The Big Wall Area. This is the huge wall which bounds the groove right of Sirens of Titan. Walk past (or behind) the tilted slab to a grassy shoulder.
31. Thin End of the Wedge 10m E2
This takes the ragged crack above the promontory.
1. 10m 5b Climb the wall mainly left of the crack to the bulge. Cross this to good holds.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 18.6.96?
32 Up for Grabs 50m E5
The first real incursion onto The Big Wall. Although low in its grade the route has a serious atmosphere particularly in the first section. Good ropework is required to prevent rope drag. This route still requires a clean ascent.
Start just below the top of the grassy shoulder at an obvious traverse line.
1. 50m 5c Traverse right past a pinnacle to a good ledge. Move right and up to a semi-resting place and 2 peg runners. Climb up and right across a quartz band to the end of an overlap, cross this and continue to a small ledge. Continue up, trending left to finish in a small bay.
C.Jackson, J.Fleming 21.6.96
Reenadrolaun Point Ref. V382784 To The Top
This is the friendly brown headland that juts out NW from Coosnahorna. Follow the peninsula to a point where an easy angled slab leads down and out to sea. This is one side of an anticline, the Saddle Stone sit on top of it and provide short steep routes on either side. Round the end of the Saddle Stones is Whinge zawn which has three routes on the opposite side. Routes on the Saddle Stones are accessible at all states of tide but not all states of the sea, Whinge Zawn is accessible below 1/4 tide, again depending on the size of the waves.
The Saddle Stones
North Side. Routes are described from the seaward end.
1. Petes Route 1 E1 5b 10m
The first groove.
P.Hulley, J.Fleming, C.Jackson May 95
5m left is:
2. Petes Route 2 HVS 5b 10m
The left wall of the next groove.
P.Hulley May 95
5m left is:
3. Petes Route 3 VS 5a 10m
Overhanging wall on jugs.
P.Hulley May 95
3m left is:
4. Ski Bunny E2 5c 10m
The steep cracked corner.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson May 95
South Side. The first route right of the seaward end is:
5. For Heaven’s Hake E1 5c 15m
The deceptive corner and cracked overhang which leads right into a finishing chimney.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson May 95
10m right is:
6. That Sick Squid I Owe You H.Severe 4c 15m
The easy slabs and overlap leading into a chimney.
C.Jackson May 95
7. Seal of Approval. V Diff 15m
The right hand corner.
C.Jackson May 95
8. Talkie Toaster 35m E1
Start at the seaward end of the buttress where a diagonal crack crosses a recess.
1. 20m 5a Climb the crack through the recess and up to a good ledge.
2. 15m 5b The overhanging corner crack
W.Briggs, J.Fleming, C.Jackson 24.5.94
9. Is That a Razor, Bill? HVS 5b 30m
Start 2m right of Talkie Toaster
Climb the wall and make an awkward move into the scoop. Follow this, the wall above and the final arete to the top.
C.Jackson, J.Fleming, P.Hulley 23.5.94
11. Gone With the Whinge HVS 5a 30m
Climb the black slab round to the left of Talkie Toaster to a good ledge. Finish steeply.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson, W.Briggs 24.5.94
12 Minnie the Moocher E1 35m
Start in the back corner of the zawn.
1. 20m 4c Climb the chimney to a good ledge.
2. 15m 5b Traverse left across the slab and follow the steep crack to the top.
C.Jackson, J.Fleming 24.5.94
The Reenadrolaun Slabs
These are the obvious belt of sunny slabs, bounded on their left by a deep wet chasm. Approach is by easy abseil from almost anywhere, or solo down. The first route starts just right of the chasm.
13. Astound a Flounder Diff 20m
The pleasant flaky crack.
14. The Tearful Turtle 20m Severe
Another flaky crack 3m right
15. The Depressed Dormouse Fish 20m Severe
Flaky crack left of the prominent central crack of You and Your Pets.
16. You and Your Pets 20m Diff
The obvious central crack line
17. Dibbling with the Dabs 20m Severe
The wall and overlap 10m right of Y & YP.
18. The Grumpy Goldfish 20m Severe
Diagonal R to L crack through the overlap, R of the last route.
19. The Kipper in my Slipper 20m Severe
Start at the prominent green streak right of TGG and follow cracks and pockets to the top.
20. The Bass in the Grass 20m Severe
The wall 6m right of The Kipper.
21. Fisherman’s Friend 25m VS
Start at the right end of the sea ledges.
1. 4b 8m Climb up and right to a belay in a niche below a stepped crack.
2. 4c 17m Follow the stepped crack to the steeper wall which is climbed via a flake crack.
C.Jackson, J.Fleming 13.6.96
The next two routes are reached by walking around the landward end of the slabs and traversing a small chasm to a good ledge which extends back to the slabs.
22. Bonjour Matelot 20m E1
1. 5b Climb the wall to the niche and make a difficult exit. Continue up the steeper but well cracked wall.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson, Clare ‘Foster’ 20.6.96
23. Come up and See Me 20m HVS
1. 5b Traverse left to a thin groove and follow this to beneath a bulge which is crossed on the right to a good ledge. Climb the steep wall and thin groove to finish.
C.Jackson, Clare ‘Foster’, J.Fleming 20.6.96
Beenakryraka Head. Ref. V342759 To the Top
This small headland of clean, wave washed rock can be reached from Portmagee by crossing the bridge, turning left and following the small road to where the track to Bray Head leaves it. Turn right through Bray and before the gate follow a rough track to the right as far as possible onto smooth sheep cropped grass. It is possible to get a vehicle to within 30 seconds of the climb.
Main identifying features are two deep inlets Cooshennaghruhage reached first and then Coosnaraka. Between the two Coos’ is a sea stack separated by a narrow channel. North of this the landward wall extends to the edge of the second Coos and contains the first 4 routes. Approach is by abseil to a barnacled ledge accessible in calm seas at ½ tide. Routes are described from R to L.
1. Nanny State 20m E2
Start at the right end of the ledge, just right of a small niche at 2m.
1. 5c Make a difficult entry unto the niche (peg), then continue past two more peg runners up the fine brown wall, finishing up the leftward break or, more boldly by breaking out right and ascending the wall above. Little natural protectio
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 6/6/99
2. My Goat’s got No Nose 20m HVS
Start right of the last route at a prominent short groove.
1. 5a Climb the groove to a ledge on the right. Continue up a steep wall with excellent incut holds to the quartz break, then into a short hanging groove, exiting right to finish.
C.Jackson J.Fleming 31/6/99
3. A Goat Too Far 20m E1
1. 5b Climb the steep wall left of My Goat’s and into a left slanting crack. Follow this to the break then steeply up the headwall trending left to the top
J.Fleming C.Jackson 31/6/99
4. Acting the Goat 35m VS
Start near the left end of the barnacled ledge below a thin left slanting crack.
1. 16m 4c Climb to the crack and follow this to the quartz ledge, then round into the Coos to a belay on a ledge.
2. 12m 4b Follow ledges left until escape is possible up the steep wall.
J.Fleming C.Jackson A/L 8/6/99
The next 3 routes are on the section of rock between the second Coos and a deep cave. Access is by abseil to a small ledge close to the sea on the left (facing out) for route 5 and to a small hidden ledge on the edge of the cave for 6 and 7.
5. Small but Perfectly Formed 20m Vdiff
From the ledge climb pleasant slabs, finishing up or right of a shallow groove.
C.Jackson J.Fleming 30/5/99
6. Slow Goat to China 15m VS
1. 4c From the belay ledge, pull boldly over the overhang onto the stab and continue in the same line to the top.
C.Jackson J.Fleming 31/5/99
7. The Disappearing Goat of Voltair 18m VS
1. 4c From the belay ledge, follow the ramp leftwards in alarming position to a steep crack. Climb this to the top.
J.Fleming C.Jackson 31/5/99
Left of the deep cave, a barrier of slime guarded overhangs prevent sane access to the upper walls. Further left (North) the platform rises up in a gentle fold. The next route is characterised by a quartz band at 10m. Access is by abseil onto the upper end of the platform, which is non-tidal.
8. Goat’s Head Revisited 35m E2
Originally climbed as 3 pitches, the first two can be sensibly combined. Escape is possible by avoiding the traverse.
1. 20m 5b Climb to the quartz band and make an awkward move right to better holds. Climb a ramp and cracks to the top.
1a 25m 5b After the quartz band, move up to the obvious traverse line and continue steeply, past a narrow section to a good ledge.
2. 10m 4c Up the wall to the top.
J.Fleming C.Jackson A/L on P1 30/5/99
9. To Boldly Goat 18m E2
Start just left of a prominent slot, 5m left of GHR.
1. 5b Climb into the RH of two small grooves, move left and go up to a ledge. Step right and climb boldly up the bulging wall on huge holds.
J.Fleming C.Jackson 30/5/99
Fortress Zawn ref V387652 To the Top
This pleasant little zawn is located in St Finan’s Bay. The map suggests an ancient fort on the headland though only a tomb seems to remain. The crag is characterised by a prominent clean pillar which drops into the sea.
1. Trixy la Bouche HVS 5a
Start by abseil to a ledge on the arete close to the sea.
1. 26m 5a Climb a series of thin slabby grooves to a ledge, then more steeply to the top.
C.Jackson, J.Fleming 11.6.96
2. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown E1
Start by abseil down the right side of the pillar to a good ledge 8m above the sea.
1. 22m 5c Step left and climb a series of steep cracks to the good ledge. Finish as for Trixy.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 11.6.96
3. Whales in Aspic VS
1. 22m 4c Start as for Women but climb the obvious slabby corner to the top.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 11.6.96
Bladelands V392659 To the Top
Bladelands is a strange region of sharp ridges which project into the sea. The main one gives an excellent adventure. Start at a grassy knoll above the ridge, a belay stake has been left in place.
1. These Foolish Things 88m Hard Very Ungradable
1. 60m Climb or abseil down to the ridge and follow the knife edge to a belay before The Step.
2. 8m Place a long sling over the end of the ridge and abseil down The Step to the continuation of the ridge. It is suggested that the abseil is arranged as a top rope. The return trip is E2 6a, or E1 5c with a point of aid, or a few moves on a Jumar. Don’t be tempted by the wider crack on the right which is at least E3 5c, unless you are carrying several Friend 4s and have fists like bunches of bananas.
3. 20m Continue easily to the end and wonder how you are going to get back without swimming.
C.Jackson, J.Fleming 19.6.96
Glanearagh Ref V351686 To the Top
Approach: These are the huge west facing cliffs
to the North of Puffin Sound. The closest approach is to take the green
lane down from the farm at the end of the road and follow the coastline
past Puffin Sound. In 1994 there was an access problem with the farmer
who was afraid of legal liability in the case of an accident. A longer
but more discrete approach is from the road to the north east of the
The Rock: Flaky in places and can require careful handling.
The routes described here are on the large pale cliff characterised by two huge corners. At the highest point of the crag is a grassy gully, access to all three routes is by a long abseil down this and the left wall of the right hand corner. A stake has been left at the top, a rebelay is possible 30m down. Three ropes tied together were used for the abseil, the second climber should take care not to ‘stone’ the first one down.
1. Virgin Atlantic 150m E2
This climbs the thin groove on the left side of the arete between the two main corners.
1. 35m 5b Climb the thin clean groove, moving left at the bulge. Continue up easier rock to the foot of the next groove.
2. 35m 5b Follow the groove to its top and traverse the right wall to the arete and up to a grassy ledge.
3. 20m 5a Climb the arete to a foothold on the right side, level with an overhanging groove system.
4. 30m 5a Traverse left under the bulge and climb the well cracked groove, step right and follow slabs to a grass ledge.
5. 40m The grassy gully.
C.Jackson, J.Fleming, W.Briggs 22.5.94
2. The Great Escape VS 165m
The Easiest way off the crag, serious though straightforward. It takes the right-hand corner, starting right of this at below a grass ledge.
1. 35m 4a Climb to the grass ledge.
2. 10m 4a Climb the wall on the left and traverse into the corner at a quartz band.
3. 40m 4a Bridge up the corner taking care not to dislodge loose stones.
4. 40m 4a Continue until possible to belay on the back wall of the grass ledge.
4. 40m The grassy gully
C.Jackson, J.Fleming 23.5.94
3. Blood on the Tracks E4 125m
This climbs the superb right wall of The Great Escape. A serious and absorbing route in a fine setting. Two sets of friends 0.5 to 2.5 will be found useful. Approach by abseil and start 15m above the quartz band at a sloping ledge in the corner.
1. 45m 5c Climb the corner for a few metres to the end of a ledge which extends to the right arete. From the start of this climb the small overlap and continue roughly parallel with the corner to a second overlap. Cross this at its mid point to good holds, continue to a pinnacle belay on the right arete.
2. 40m 5c Step left onto a leaning spike and climb carefully into the niche. Follow the crack line right and belay well back on the grass ledge.
3. 40m 5a Traverse left and climb onto the easier angled slab. Pleasant climbing leads to the top.
J.Fleming, C.Jackson 1.6.94
Bolus Point Ref. V381627 To the Top
Bolus point is the headland about 1km north of Bolus Head. The routes are on an extensive fan of clean sandstone slabs with prominent overlaps, just south of the point. The easiest approach for the slabs is to take a rising traverse line from the cottage at the end of the road from Ballinskelligs. Please park with consideration. 25 minutes
An alternative approach that is better for The Event Horizon is to park at Ducalla at the south end of Saint Finan’s Bay and head up the hillside to a low saddle on the skyline with some small drystone walls. Behind the saddle, a dramatic sheep path leads south across the hillside into the inlet behind Bolas Point. 20 minutes
The slabs have a vertical height of 200m and offer potential routes lengths of over 300m which may be the longest in Ireland. At 2/3 height is an easier angled section called The Ripple which allows escape leftwards.
Approach: From the top of the slabs, make careful descent down the grassy left side to where a diagonal abseil can be made for the last 25m to a ledge and corner opposite the N end of the sea washed block.
1. Soft Shoe Shuffle HVS 100m
1. 35m 5a From the stance, climb a shallow groove, cross two overlaps and traverse right to a belay on shallow flakes.
2. 35m 5a Continue diagonally right passing small overlaps. An awkward move allows access to a second slab and larger overlap. Cross this to a belay on its edge.
3. 30m 5a Climb the edge of the slab for 3m, traverse diagonally right for 5m to a diagonal line, then left to finish on the shoulder.
J.Fleming, P.Hully 29.5.95
2. Desert Storm E3180m
Start a t the foot of a long corner which leads up from the south end of the sea washed block
1. 45m 4c Follow the curving right facing groove to a belay on the left.
2. 30m 5a Move right and climb the thin slab to a niche in the overlaps above.
3. 40m 5b Climb steeply up and left onto a hanging slab, move up and left to the overhang, traverse left to a left facing groove and climb this to a belay.
4. 45m 4c Pull out right from the groove onto a slab which is followed to the ripple.
5. 20m 4a Easily up to grass on the left.
J.Fleming P.Hully June 95
3. Sandscape E3 290m
This tackles the overhangs close to the right side of the slabs.
1. 40m 5a From the stance, take a rising traverse right up a band of ripples, cross a small overhang and climb up to an overlap with good Friend placement. Traverse right to belay in a shallow groove.
2. 40m 4c Continue in roughly the same line to a belay to a ledge at the top of a hidden groove running up from the sea washed block.
3. 50m 4b Step down into the groove and follow obvious flakes right across the slabs to a crack and footledge belay.
4. 10m Climb up to a better ledge.
5. 35m 5c Step left and follow a poor crack to an overlap, cross this right, move up and left and cross the overlap onto a well cracked slab. Follow the crack round an overhang then traverse right to belay in a corner.
6. 30m 5b Climb the wall and crack above the belay until possible to work left to a belay on a grass ledge.
7. 50m Follow the ripple left.
8. 35m 4c Continue left then up to the grass.
C.Jackson, W.Wintrip 31.5.95
The next route is on the west face of the inlet behind Bolas Point. Much of the upper part of the crag is guarded by overhangs and the crag in characterised by bands sediments dipping steeply to the right. Scope remains.
4. The Event Horizon 75m E5
A superb and dramatic route, inescapable after the first part of pitch 1 without swimming. The entry problem onto the RH section of the buttress is solved by a difficult traverse. Start at a prominent flat boulder some 10m above the sea. Great care needs to taken on P1 to avoid rope drag.
1. 36m 6a Climb easily for 6m then make a difficult descending rightwards traverse onto a black slab. Cross this then up to an easier traverse line. Traverse down past a piton to a steep wall that is climbed (crux) to better holds. Move right into a prominent layback flake that leads to a ledge.
2. 24m 5c From the ledge climb up for 5m them trend up and right until a long hidden slab is reached. Climb this to a foot ledge below a short final corner.
3. 15m 5c Climb dubious rock past some knobbly holds into the corner. Exit left following cracks to the top.
J.Fleming C.Jackson A/L 2/6/99
Close to the descent scramble for The Event Horizon are two worthwhile slabs separated by a corner. Each slab features a shallow corner running full height.
5. The Left Hand of Darkness VS 17m
1. 4c Follow the overlap to the top
C.Jackson J.Fleming June 1996
6. The Right Hand of Light HVS 20m
1. 5a Follow the overlap to the top
J.Fleming C.Jackson June 1996
Ballinskelligs Point Ref. V425636 To the Top
This small headland south west of Ballinskelligs harbour is unnamed on the 1:50000 series Discovery Map. Access is by walking across fields from the parking spot near the jetty. 5 minutes
The Crag is about 25m high and characterised by two caves separated by a central pillar taken by Rockin’ with the Pippits and Razor’s Edge.
At low tide it is possible to scramble across to all the routes in the main area. At other tides, access is by abseil down the central pillar or down the Black Slab to a hanging belay.
1. Rockin’ with
the Pippits HVS 25m
Start in the LH cave (facing in) at the base of a prominent slab.
1. 30m Climb the corner of the slab to gain the front of the pillar. Continue pleasantly up the pillar to a rather Sea Pink finish
C.Jackson J.Fleming 5/6/99
2. Razor’s Edge E4 35m
The route climbs the pillar and then follows the prominent rightward traverse over the cave. The main problem is placing protection from a hand traverse position as there are no footholds. The lip of the cave below is razor sharp.
1. 35m 5c Climb the pillar to where a prominent diagonal crack leads right above the lip of the cave. Hand-traverse this past a section with no footholds and a peg runner until possible to stand into the break. Climb the steep brown wall on excellent rock (1/2 Friend) to a loose but better protected finish. Rest taken on peg – frightened.
C.Jackson J.Fleming 6/6/99
To the right of the RH cave is a prominent black slab. At low tide it is possible to abseil down it to a sloping ledge on the left.
3. The Black Slab VS 25m
1. 4c With feet on the slab, climb the corner to grass ledges
The slab can also be climbed at 5c/6a by taking a belay on the bottom right edge of the slab. Difficulty depends on line taken, there are some small cracks for runners.
J.Fleming C.Jackson 7/6/99
4. A Bit on the Side E2 25m
This takes the shallow sloping groove that rises from half way down The Black Slab. Start as for The Black Slab or take a hanging belay below the groove.
1. 5c Climb the wall past a peg to reach a sloping ledge. From here follow the groove past two more pegs until it is possible to exit right into an easier groove. Little natural protection.
C.Jackson J.Fleming 7/6/99
The next route is separate from the others. Approach by traversing west round the bay past a prominent almost-stack with overlapping slabs. Beyond this descend towards the cave beneath the stack and make a short abseil (or climb down) to a ledge above the sea.
On Golden Pond VS 20m
1. 5a Traverse up and right to below a small roof. Make an awkward move to gain the base of an obvious groove. Follow the groove and then the right wall to the top.
J.Fleming C.Jackson 7/6/99