Monday, January 2, 2012


Paul waited.

He said he'd text me when he was leaving to come pick us up.

Yesterday evening, Sean and I were still psyched to get out again today and threw a message up on Facebook asking was anyone around to head out. A very short time later my phone rang. Paul asked if I wanted a lift to the boulders of Wicklow... HELL YEAH!... And can you fit Sean in too?!

I was delighted and text Sean straight away to tell him we'd be bouldering in the morning. He called us lifesavers and agreed to meet up with Paul and I at around 10am.

When I woke this morning my body was aching. particularly everything! I dragged myself out of bed at 9am and went to make tea and get myself together for the day. Then I got a text from Paul - He was leaving to pick us up... Legged it about the place and then out the door to meet up with him and Sean who I'd text about the change of time... A text which he later admitted woke him up!!

Paul probably waited longer for us than we waited for Tim yesterday... Swings in roundabouts I suppose... Sorry Paul!!

We were off!

Day two and the skies were crispy blue and the temperatures were set to plummet down to freezing or thereabouts.

What I hadn't counted on was just how strong and how utterly cold the wind would be.

We arrived down to Glendalough and set off from the car and to myself and Sean's amazement there were boulderers walking OUT from the Glendalough path and back to their cars.

Sean said - No WAY! It's only 11am, they can't possibly be finished... But they were.

Pete and Duggy among others were on their way out from the boulders having walked in in darkness before 7am. Some of the group had work starting a midday, so their time was up.

Still in disbelief, Sean was psyched about the Irish Bouldering psyche!!

We were just on our way off when Duggy came back from leaving with his group. He had no obligations for the day and said he'd stay with us and boulder for the afternoon.

When we got to the boulders we decided to repeat the circuit that Tim had run us around yesterday. It was just so cold though.

We started off on the slab that one warms up on beside the path and Sean tried it with no hands. He made big bold steps up the face before losing balance as much to the wind as anything and falling back down to the pad below.

The warm up didn't work today. I did all the problems, and got a little further on the Nu Rails but the cold just gripped me and I couldn't shake it.

The wind was unrelenting and freezing.

There was really nothing I could do - in that sort of situation my body starts to shut down. Sean was keen to try the Egg Traverse (7b/7c) again, so I huddled myself out of the wind and under Howards Roof, put on all my layers and took a few photos.

After a short time, I thought - the wind had died down and so I put my boots on and got out from under the roof I was protected by.

I was attacked by the wind again which howled down the valley.

It was important I got out of there and I think the guys were a bit sick of the cold too so we all wondered where we might go. Then I had an idea! I knew neither Sean, Paul or Duggy would have tried 'Another Duffy Problem' (6c) before and seeing as it's down a hole, it would be nice and sheltered.


Over we went to ADP and Sean jumped down into the hole first. With his nose about 3 inches from the main handhold of the line and with the solitary block in front of him, he asked:

'Where's the problem?'

'That's it', I replied.

'Oh right'...

There was a good laugh had about it and Sean said only in Ireland would you find yourself bouldering down a hole, with the sound of a rushing river beneath you and howling winds blasting overhead on a block that doesn't look like it has any line on it!

He called those who put up the problems here, visionaries!

Nevertheless, the problem turned out to be great for the lads and I knew it would suit Paul's style of powerful climbing. He got it quickly and changed back into his shoes and hid himself at the back of the hole we were in to gain maximum protection from the wind.

Sean, Duggy and I threw and threw at the opening hold, and though I had the idea, I was too cold to make a serious effort at it. Sean was getting close to it and then suddenly, Boom! He hit it and topped it out! Brilliant effort and both Duggy and I were happy to head away.

The lads left in a hurry for Dave's Chimney Project down at the Pascals Boulder by the path.

My thumbs and wrists were totally numb and I had trouble getting my gear together, so I followed them on. My balance was shot and decision making was lacking. The wind knocked me over as my ankles, also numb, turned on each step.

Seriously - if I was ever in a situation where it was ACTUALLY cold... I wouldn't stand a chance. It's not like I was in shorts and a tshirt either - I had layers on AND a down jacket etc.

Sean found a nice little spot that was sheltered out of the way and we ate some lunch.

Paul had opted to go try the chimney traverse Dave had been trying on Christmas Eve. As we sat and ate lunch he topped out and seemed to be disappointed he hadn't suffered more!!

Sean and Paul both climbed variations on the traverse - from the path in, from the boulders out to the path, facing different directions - each time, chimneying up the two side-by-side blocks to top the lines out.

I went off exploring, cause I thought that way, I'd keep moving and beat the freeze! Not too far away I found a boulder I thought had potential. I looked under it and saw that someone had drawn an arrow and '7a+ ish' in chalk. I kept moving and had a look at a couple of other things that had no potential at all before making my way back to the guys.

I said to Paul about the writing I'd found and he said, 'Ah yeah, that's King Kong'. I'd always wondered where that problem was, and it looks desperate!

Sean was eager to try BBE (Best Buzz Ever, 7a) and we headed over that way. Sean and Paul were both highly suited to the throw which is followed by a giant swing before topping out. Sean tried the stand start and held the swing before dabbing the spotters below with his foot! Doh! He topped it out but we all new he was coming back around to send it cleanly!!

Send it, clean as a whistle, he did and as he caught the opening throw and dabbed nothing at all, he shouted 'No Dab There!' before topping the problem out.

He made a few attempts at the sit start (7b) but seemed happy enough to leave it be.

We were set to make our way over to the Big Jane boulder across the river and again, I had trouble negotiating my way across the rocks and bog with numb feet and ankles. My hands were lovely and warm though, as Paul had given me his amazingly warm gloves to wear.

I got to the riverside and it was deja vu!

Yesterday when we crossed the river, it was really rushing by strongly and the lads had found a way across and all made it before me. Tim, Sean and Chris all stood at the other side of the river watching me as I began to cross. Then Chris took out his camera to film my efforts and I just felt utterly helpless!! Somehow I made it across, jumping and stepping over from one rock to the next.

Today was similar in that the lads watched on, but not so much fun for me as yesterday, because my ankles actually were a concern. I needed to find a safer way across than they had used and so told them to head on and I'd follow them over. I took a moment to warm my ankles up and found a quieter spot to cross and took my time.

We finished the day in the same fashion as yesterday on 'The Groove' (7c) and Andy's Arete (7a+). It seems to be SO well sheltered there and I felt very positive on Andy's Arete, though it didn't come together today for me.

Duggy sent the line again, and made it look as easy as Chris did yesterday.

Over on The Groove and Paul now has all the difficult pieces on it in the bag, and was happy to take my word for it that the top section was a doddle.

We packed up our bags to the tunes of Sean's music.

The cold will never stop me going out climbing... Next time though - I'll be bringing along at least 3 more layers!!!



  1. That bastard Brennan robbed my chimney. He broke the news to me at Gravity this evening. He just walked up and said I'm sorry and I knew instantly what he was talking about. Ohh well plenty more of them out there I suspect.

  2. He said he was going to call the two variations (traversing from the path to the crag, and from the crag to the path) 'Grace' and 'Elegance'!!... Though really I'm not sure I saw a glimmer of either during his two sends!!

    Maybe that's the point though!!