Back to The Burren

It’s rather sad that I didn’t do any real outdoor climbing for almost a month. One or two outings to Dalkey, nothing special. I’ve spent most of the time at Awesome Walls, at work or watching Euros.

I was very happy when last week Jirka said he was keen to go to The Burren, co. Clare – a place he hasn’t been climbing  at yet. For me it would be 3rd of 4th visit. This place is pretty special – definitely in top 3 in the country for me.

Most of the action takes place in the Ailladie – 800m long limestone cliff with routes varying in height from 8 to 30m. It really has it all – from easy accessible HS type of warm-ups om the Dancing Ledges, via some classic HVSs (my favourite Great Balls of Fire) on the Boulder Wall, to absolutely stunning, accessible only for the best Extreme graded routes. And for the super brave and bold climbers there are even deep water solo routes.Across the road and a short walk south from Ailladie total beginners can enjoy Ballyryan.

Since I was the only one who actually been to the place before I knew that for this trip we will mainly focus on The Dancing Ledges based climbs, but more about it later.

We’ve agreed for early Saturday morning start, with a planned pit stop in Tullamore to pick up Tereza.

There was another, rather unplanned stop to fix a puncture, but oh well, shit happens.20160709_101923

If you are wondering what is this wagon above – well it’s actually a replacement car, Mazda is currently getting a quick service (that is taking 2 weeks, so maybe not that quick).

Anyway with Team Czechia on board, and all 4 wheels attached,  we were on the way! Luckily it’s relatively short drive  from Tullamore, so we were gearing up by early afternoon.

The plan was simple – climb us much as we can, as the forecast for Sunday was rather gnarly.

Even on Saturday the winds were strong and ocean was rough.

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It just made sense to focus on the Dancing Ledges.

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Above – Dancing Ledges

We started with LISDOONFAROUT 15m HS 4a,  and  GROUND CONTROL ** 16m VS 4c. Some parts of all the routes (especially cracks) were wet and sipping, adding extra excitement and challenge.

Below – Vertical start of Ground Control.

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The weather cleared up a bit and we’ve taken some Jirka Insipred posed photos moved further south down the cliff.

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GENESIS ** 16m HS 4b was next on the agenda.

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Followed by Derek’s “favorite” route of this section: NUTROCKER ** 15m HVS 5a. I’m sure he regretted not coming with us – finally someone would have shown him how its done!

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I must mention here the guy on the left – he’s climbing BONNAN BUI ** 15m VS A fine and popular route. They was a part of a group of 3 Americans from Seattle, who came to Ireland for 2 weeks, to travel the West Coast of Ireland and climb what they can.

Unfortunately he didn’t do enough research on the gear needed in The Burren, and had some  12 cams on him and maybe half a set of stoppers (cams on limestone don’t work that well). He was very frustrated that his cams keeps ‘sliding out’.  It took him 3 attempts and a 5m whipper to finally give up.

Luckily I was able to abseil from the top of our belay and retrieve his gear for him. Well almost all the gear – the nut he took a big fall on will forever be embedded in the crack.

After they were gone I decided to do a quick run through that route as well. I can see why he got stressed out. It’s definitely on the higher end of the VS spectrum.

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We were getting hungry and the weather was starting to break. Time to setup the tents and test out that new Kelly Kettle I bought for our upcoming Iceland trip.

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Kelly Kettle is really cool. Just make fire in it’s base part (using whatever solid material you can find) and enjoy boiling water, or a cooked meal in minutes!

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Now, since there isn’t actually anything other than grass and limestone in The Burren, I had to bring my own wood. The setup is truly great, fast, efficient and leaves no waste. We made tea, cooked rice, soup, and grilled some sausages at the end.

The night fell quickly and it was a rough one. It was very windy and rainy. It was clear that there will be no climbing in the morning. My tent barely survived the night, but for a 30euro Lidl one – I must say I was happy with it.

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Unfortunately the Sunday morning was spoiled by the sight of Coast Guard helicopter and rescue boat. When you see these two, as well as couple of ambulances and Guards on the ocean cliffs, it’s never good news.

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It was clear that someone fell into the ocean, apparently a woman who was fishing of one of the cliffs. Real sad story. Unfortunately it’s not uncommon in that spot. More in the linked article.

To make most of the day, we quickly packed and decided to drive to Awesome Walls in Dublin.

Definitely a great weekend with a really good company. It only shows that it only takes couple of hours of good weather to make it worthwhile going away for 2 days!

 

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