Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First rock climbing day of the year.

On Sunday I went with Frank to the Gap of Dunloe for our first stab at rock climbing this year. The weather all spring had been rubbish and even though we were now into May this was our first opportunity to climb dry rock. The previous week I had pulled a muscle in my back in the gym and I hadn't been able to go running all week. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and a couple of late nights only added to my malaise but it was great to be back in the "Gap" again and I was really looking forward to getting stuck in. We opted to head to rescue rock and soon I was getting the harness on and readying the rope for my first climb. I opted for the relatively easy "Umbongo" a 10 meter Severe route just to the left of Rescue Rock that climbs a lovely arret. The start is easy and before you know it there is a fair bit of air under your backside. Below the top there is a vertical wall that requires a committing couple of moves and well lets just say I struggled for a while before I finally topped out. It had been a while since I led on rock and it showed. Still I was up and Frank easily followed.
Starting off

Almost there

Next we turned our attention to rescue rock itself and we now opted to top rope our routes. The weather was also showing signs of turning and drizzle seemed to blanket "An Tarbh" in the neck of the Gap and the wind was now quite strong. I scrambled up and set up the rope and we then climbed Rescue rock itself 10 meter Severe and Quartz Movement 10 meters VS. This is a lovely route that is quite hard for the grade and had a lovely airy feel to it (top roped of course) and required a fair bit of searching blind for hand holds around the corner. After a bite of lunch we decided to have a go at the classic "Mother of Prague" a 20 meter E1 that keeps its toughest test for near the top. The wind was now really blowing and it made communication with Frank all but impossible. He managed to get as far as the crux but then exited off to the left. I went down to give it a go but with no way of communicating with Frank my heart wasn't in it and I gave up before I really began. We decided that that would be that for today but we plan to return at the soonest opportunity to explore some more. It is always lovely to have a day out with Frank and next time I hope to have more energy for the fray.
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