Over the last few years I have fallen off a few routes in Donegal and when this happens, these unsuccessfully climbed bits of rock sit in the back of your mind. I know there is a lifetime of new climbing in Donegal but this unfinished business just draws you back! It's like it has one up on you. A relaxing weekend chillin also included secret intentions of getting these routes done - something Ellie didn't know much about until she was hanging off a sling above the Atlantic!
A winter of trudging around Scotland followed by 10 days of skiing in the Alps has not done much for my rock fitness but maybe off the back of a great season last year I'd retained a bit of it - you never know until you try! I guess having tried these routes already I knew a little bit about what to expect and knew that generally they were quite well protected!
On Saturday afternoon Ellie and I headed to Cruit Island to revisit a line that I first tired in March 2012 or 2013 (can't quite remember). It was during a MI meet based at Gartin and when I first meet a few of the local Donegal climbers. I didn't know what to expect as most of Cruit is about 6m high and the grades range from S - VS. Kev and Patrick pointed out the line to me. It was about 12m high and overhung by about 3m. Up I went and in no time I was pumped, cold and a bit scared. I had a few more goes but with no success. When I arrived with Ellie this time around, I managed the first ascent. It was cool to climb it ground up, the uncertainty is really exciting and I guess it's partly that adrenaline that keep drawing you back.
Kahlua's scratch E5 6a/b **
Paul Swail & Ellie Harvey
Take a hanging belay 4m right of Chimney Sweep and below the steep juggy wall. The route starts by traversing in from the right until above the belayer at 3m height. From here attack the wall direct via positive, steep and well protected climbing. The last few meters entertain the crux where a few puzzling moves up and slightly right gain the top slab!
On Sunday, my attention turned to an arête I tried in July 2013. I took a bit of a whipper off the top of it - which plays massively on your mind! So during the walk I couldn't help thing that my arms would give up and I once again would be plummeting through the air. The crag faces pretty much N so dry conditions and a light breeze help to dry it out. Saying that, on this particular route I did abseil it and chalk the holds and I guess that gave a bit of a heads up of what to expect. I think E6 would be about right for an onsight attempt. It is very well protected and has a very safe fall zone - it was well tested a few years ago!
Kev McGee kindly give up his Sunday afternoon to ab in and hold my rope - thanks Kev and I will return the favour one day. Well as you can probably tell I got up the route. It goes a little something like this.
Rolling in the Deep, E6 6a/b*****************
Paul Swail & Kevin McGee
A well protected and spectacular overhanging arête. A must for anyone operating at the grade.
Take a stance 2m right of the obvious spectacular arête on a sloping non-tidal ledge.
Make easy moves out left to base of arête. Climb it direct passing the crux at a small roof at half height. Excellent from start to finish.
There are more lines to do so I will do a topo once they are sorted. If you are really keen to check it out the drop me a mail.
Let's hope this weather hangs out so the Owey projects can be completed before half of the UK climbing population descends upon it!