Saturday, June 6, 2009

Rockclimbing in the Burren

The Burren lies in the northwest region of Co Clare. It is the largest area of karstic Limestone in Europe. It is also home to some of the finest rock climbing to be had in these isles.

I had been hoping to return to the Burren for quite a while as on my previous visits to the area each climb had left a lasting impression. The main climbing crag is Ailladie. The biggest concentration of rock climbs lie on this crag.

We travelled up with a few others from Cork early on a Sunday morning. The weather was fantastic in the south, however when we got to the Burren it was overcast and chilly! Shorts and Tshirt didn't help!

Since there were seven of us, we paired off. I went climbing with Noora and Norman. It was Norman's first time climbing outdoors and only Noora's second time! We started on a climb called Ground Control (VS 4C). This is a popular climb at the crag, and sees many ascents during the year. Its not an easy climb to start with. But Noora and Norman didn't think so, they zipped up it in style!

The next climbs we did where Spitfire(E1 5b), and Ladda(VS 4c). On Ladda one of my cams got stuck and with dubious techniques i got it out, nearly taking my head off in the process!.

The next and last climb we did was Gallows Pole (E2 5C). This climb is located on the mighty Aran wall and is the classic E2 of the crag. It consists of two parallel cracks running up the face. There is plenty of protection and the climbing is magnificent! The start is bold with small crimps to gain a good ledge. After that it's into the cracks where i begin to hand jam right to the top. The look on Nooras face was priceless, she thought this climb would be too hard. But again with determination and good technique she climbed the route.

Bringing people to such a superb crag early in their climbing careers is a great experience as the energy that comes from being around people with such enthusiasm is really uplifting. Add to that the amazing setting and climbing and you get the perfect rock day. Well maybe the weather could have been a bit better!

If you are into climbing and have never being to the Burren you are missing one of the classic rock days in Ireland, so this summer pencil the Burren into your climbing calender!

1 comment: