It’ not often when temperatures in Ireland reach +25C. Yesterday was one of these days. When Diarmuid and I showed up at the upper carpark of the Glendalough Valley it was already very hot.
We started our walk and discussed possible routes to climb. Someone warned us that the place might be a little crowded, since IMC had their meet there this weekend.
We opted in for:
SARCOPHAGUS *** 84m HVS (4b,5a,5a,5a)
An outstanding route. It takes the obvious line of corners right of Spillikin Ridge. Excellent protection. Start as for Fanfare and Spillikin Ridge
1. 24m Climb the quartzy groove and pull out right on top of a pillar. Step up right and surmount a bulge easily on large holds. Continue straight up to arrive just left of a pair of parallel cracks. Step right via the cracks and up to a good stance below a bulging corner.
2. 12m Climb the corner to a tree belay below the main corner groove.
3. 32m Climb the corner which is difficult to start but the pace relents at the top. Tradition dictates a sling on the spike at two-thirds height, a salute to the first ascent. Gain the arête on the right and climb the short crack before moving right to a small belay ledge in the corner.
4. 16m Climb the corner above with due respect to the tree.
E. Goulding, A. Ingram, 27/5/1961.
It’s a super classic that I’ve done before already few times, but this time the plan was to try to find the ‘secret’ E1 finish to P4.
3b. Left-hand Finish (5a) Follow the main corner to its end at the stance on the arête. Step left to join a thin crack with excellent finger locks. Finish up The Wake or traverse right to the Sarcophagus belay.
D. O Sullivan, J. Dugdale, September 1990.
Sure enough, there was already couple of groups of climbers on the main face. We’ve also noticed a party of 3 around half way up ‘our’ route. We decided to do it in 3 pitches (1&2 together for Diarmuid, I’d do the ‘regular 3rd crux pitch’, and he’ll finish the ‘new’ P4).
Unfortunately, after D. did P1 it was clear that the part above was super slow, so we had to wait as well. We’ve changed the plan, and did each pitch individually. I claimed P2&3.
On top of that, there was another group approaching from below. Definitely a busy day!
When I topped out P3 it was Diarmuid’s turn to lead again. It turned out that’s not so easy to find that ‘variation’ route , and since we were under pressure not to stall, he just done the regular finish.
Now, after talking to other climbers who’s done the route, we know that one is supposed to traverse right earlier (than D is see on the photo above). It seems sketchy though. Maybe next time!
We quickly topped out and used communal static abseil rope setup by the IMC.
From there we moved left to Expectancy slab. Approach there is always super sketchy, but the route is always worth it. I did it few times already, but never in the HVS configuration.
CRACKS ON THE GARDEN OF EDEN *** 38m VS (4c,4a,4c)
Start at a clean right-facing corner just over 20m up left of Expectancy Slab. A crack leans right.
1. 12m Move up the corner which is difficult to start. Easier ground leads to a belay at a yew tree (treat it gently).
2. 12m Move left to the base of a steep, 3m off-width crack and climb it to a break; continue up the wider part of the crack above to a belay ledge. Alternatively, pitches 1 and 2 can be combined by taking the wall above the starting corner at 4m and following a thin finger crack which leads to the hand crack. This more direct approach upgrades the route to HVS (5a).
3. 14m. An exhilarating pitch up the steep, cracked groove above.
J. Morrison & party climbed the easier lower pitches, 1951.
R. Ohrtmann led Pitch 3 (without runners), 8/3/1953.
T. Ryan (led the hard direct start to Pitch 2), 1974.
Diarmuid claimed P1&2 running it in that nice, direct HVS approach.
I struggled a bit on P3. It was so hot that the super tight shoes I had hurt my feed more and more with every move. I was super tired, but also super happy when we topped out.
We promptly went around to see if the abseil rope was still there, but that was also an idea that a lot of other climbers had, so the queue was rather big.
We quickly got back to the top of the Expectancy slab and abseiled from there.
With all the recent drama about anchors in Glendalough I twas nice to see a brand new & shiny abseil point there. Kudos to anyone who’s built it.
By 8pm we were in the Glendalough hotel enjoying cold drinks with the IMC crew. They come back climbing today (spending the night in their hut). We got back home. I had enough climbing for this weekend 😉
All the photos HERE.