The autumn trip to Glendalough is surely becoming a classic for Belfast Climbing Club, with this weekend marking its third anniversary. While choosing to go in the middle of October sounds like a recipe for a cold and wet fiasco, the club kept up a positive spirit and were rewarded with some stunning weather.
30 Newsletters and we’re still going! Club members have been busy recently, with lots of climbing going on both inside and outdoors. It’s been a while so there’s a lot to catch up on. Read on for updates and upcoming events.
Donegal IMC Trip
Earlier this month BCC members met up with the IMC for their trip to Donegal in Kilgar. Much climbing and swimming was had and the full report is on the website (see below link). If you haven’t been to sail rock then it is highly recommended!
We’re planning on having our AGM on Thursday the 26th Sept at the Ozone. If you’re interested in helping out with any of the club admin, fancy running for a position or would like to vote then come along.
There is nominations/proposals sheet for the AGM – here. Any member can propose/second anyone for a position or any other motion by emailing the club up to 7 days before AGM. The current constitution is here, section 7/8 are the relevant bits.
Apart from voting there is also a planned update to our constitution. For more detail see below from Rónán.
“As you have probably heard, the club has been given stewardship of a cottage in the Mournes by Dr Henry McKee. As part of the arrangement with Henry, he will maintain ownership of the cottage but will give us essentially full control. He has invested quite a lot of money to bring it up to a good standard to hand it over to us and we’ve been working hard too, helping with painting etc.
As part of the legal arrangements with Henry, the club will take responsibility for rates on the cottage. This could be quite expensive, but we have the option of constituting the club as a charity dedicated to furthering amateur sport. This would allow us to claim exemption from rates on the cottage, and help enshrine a good ethos in the club.
In order to do this, we need to make some amendments to the constitution, the gist of which is nominating trustees who have ultimate responsibility for the operation of the club, and spelling out the aims and purposes of the club as a charity. In practical terms, very little would change as the club already fulfils essentially all of the requirements of a charity. We would have to register with the NI Charity Commission but this is unlikely to be necessary straight away as they have a long backlog – but in the meantime we can still claim rates exemption etc.
The proposed constitution is here, with all changes highlighted. I’m (Rónán) happy to discuss this with anyone who has questions before/at the AGM.”
Agenda for AGM
· President’s report
· Treasurer’s report
· MI fees increase
· Proposed changes to constitution/charity status
Let us know in advance if you’re coming just so we can have an idea of numbers (otherwise there might not make enough biscuits).
Henry’s Cottage (Mournes)
As Ronan said much has happened to the cottage recently but there is still more to do. A lot of paint has been added recently (to both inside and out). We will be organising another session down there on Sunday 8th Sept so if you’re interested in coming down to help and to see the place let us know.
Whatsapp group and impromptu trips
The Whatsapp group for organising impromptu trips has now been set up. This is for organising going climbing/club events. Be aware that responses to posts may vary between a flood of answers or nothing at all but don’t be shy if you’re looking partners. It will be open to all club members – if you want to be included please email the club with your phone number and the title “Whatsapp group”, or contact Rónán on facebook.
Feel free to keep posting up on the facebook group about short notice trips outside to Mournes and Fair Head. One of the best uses of this club is to help get people partners and get out climbing. This can be tricky as it can be a matter of chance if people are free or not but don’t be shy if you’re heading out.
11th to13th Oct Wicklow Trip
The club will be returning to Wicklow and the IMC hut in October. This is a great spot perfectly positioned within walking distance of Glendalough. Please give us a heads up if you’re planning on coming to allow for coordinating car sharing. https://www.irishmountaineeringclub.org/hut/
Sport Climbing Trip
There are moves afoot to organise a sport climbing trip to the Costa Blanca in late November. This is still a work in progress but if you’re interested, talk to Vicky if you see her at the wall.
We’ve updated our membership form on the website recently. Here is the link to sign up if you haven’t already.
The link is also in our 'Climb' or our 'Contact us' page on the website.
Are unchanged and as follows (see you then)
Boulder World Tuesday 7pm - 10pm
Ozone Thursday 7pm - 10pm.
BCC Club Secretary
From 2 - 4 August a group of Belfast Climbers decided to roam west in a case of cross-club relations to join the IMC meet to Kilcar in Donegal. The day started off swimmingly by taking a necessary tributary off the motorway through various Antrim towns to pick up Kyle later than expected at 8am. However, soon we were back on course and Donegal was beck-oning. After a necessary pitstop for fuel and an unfortunate spinal injury in the water closet of Tescos we arrived at Slieve League to greet our IMC friends. Looking at each other to assess our sanity we precipitously headed to the belay to descend despite the stream of protestations from the Dublin crew. Kyle in a spate of delight started his ascent of Main Mast (E2), well known as one of the best multipitch E2s in the country. As Kyle went up his gear rained down as a karbiner and his phone tumbled into the Atlantic below; despite this his reign was not stopped and he safely reached a make shift belay (when he ran out of rope). Looking out towards Roaring Forties (VS) we spotted fellow BCC member Alistair. We greeted him with a flood of joy and enquiries over the climb – he greeted us by stating, “It’s been emotional”. However, soon the sun greeted from the sky, soon Main Mast was complete and soon the rock dried. Despite this, the IMC members had already departed Sail Rock for hot tea and more watery showers leaving the 3 BCC members with an ab rope and all the rock to play on.
Vicky and Jamie next decided to try Roaring Forties themselves with Vicky leading 1st and 3rd, Jamie the 2nd. Soon, they fully comprehended the previous “emotion” of Alistair. The rock was loose, crumbly and fickle- severe going on E6. Massive kudos to Alistair for leading the 2nd pitch (the most crumbly) in the earlier, less than ideal, conditions. The horrendous first 2 pitches gave way to a fantastic 3rd but, as Jamie summarised, perhaps not worth climbing the first 2? Meanwhile Kyle used the ab to shunt a few E5s etc on the face as well as take a questionable dip in the Atlantic in search of his phone. With our fun complete for the day we headed to the pub to join the IMC and reunite with Alistair for a fantastic meal before heading to the campsite for beer and slumbers.
The next day Jamie woke Vicky and Kyle early with a meek clamouring, “I want to climb”. Without much delay Vicky, Kyle, Jamie and Alistair headed to Muckross and were there for 9 o’clock soon to be joined by about 10 from the IMC. The steep overhangs of Muckross were intimidating for most. However, Kyle still managed to lead Cois Farraige (VS), Elvis twice (E3) and Stormy Petrel (E4) with very little difficulty. Jamie and Vicky were also successful with Jamie leading Tricky Dicky (VS), Primula (VS), The Barb (E1) and Elvis (E3) and Vicky leading Froth (HS), Nuts and Berries (HVS) and Joy of Frogs (HVS). Meanwhile Alistair seconded the most routes of the day and made some much appreciated coffee. Much banter was had with the IMC with shared climbs, a drone and chit chat. However, they might be perturbed by how willingly members of the BCC take their tops off as 75% of our cohort exposed vast quantities of skin over the weekend while a more civilised 0% of Dublin skin was displayed.
Overall a fantastic weekend was had and (hopefully) we shall have a joint meet with our new friends again soon!
Report by Eva
Thursday the 11th of July, day 1.
The Belfast group consisting of Eva, Rónán and Lisa left Belfast with great anticipation and a car packed so well that only years of practising Tetris made it possible. After a long and uneventful journey with just a short stop at the infamous Obama Plaza in Moneygall, we arrived at our destination - Cronin’s Yard. We put up our tents just in time for the arrival of Vicky, Kyle and Alistair.
Friday the 12th of July, day 2.
Friday morning started with cloudy weather, perfect for climbing up the highest peak in Ireland – Carrauntoohil. We hiked up to the Heavenly Gates, where we started our climb up the Howling Ridge, stunning 450 m V-Diff grade route which, for some of us, was an introduction into ridge climbing. We completed the climb in two groups of three, using Alpine style techniques. All the efforts, sweat and Alistair’s tears were worth it once we reached the peak with these beautiful views (which disappeared as soon as we neared the top!). From there, we continued our ridge scrambling towards Beenkeeragh in the mist. After a few “Are we there yet?” moments, we reached Ireland’s second highest peak and were ready for our descent down the gully, with some beautiful views over the Hag’s Glen. While some of us decided to embrace the cold and freshen up in the river, Rónán and Lisa went ahead of the group to prepare some well-deserved barbeque.
Saturday the 13th of July, day 3.
Saturday was a sunny day with perfect conditions for some rock climbing in the nearby Gap of Dunloe. We stopped at an incredibly easily accessible Brennan’s Leap, with short yet strenuous routes ranging from HS to E3. All of us had our go at leading and even got to try to top-rope the hardest climb here (Deadline, E3 6a), after Kyle’s impressive lead seconded by Rónán. As the weather more resembled the conditions in the south of Europe, some of us decided to cool down our burned bodies in the nearby lake.
While Vicky headed down toward Kerry airport to leave us dirty rock climbers for the white elegance of Wimbledon, Rónán did a quick run up Carrauntoohil to get some more presentable pictures of the view from the top.
Sunday the 14th of July, day 4.
We continued our climbing in the Gap of Dunloe, this time at a crag called the Bothán. Another good day of climbing, with Lisa leading Agent Orange (HS 4b), Eva leading The Ego Has landed (VS 4b), Rónán and Eva leading Raven (HVS 5a), Kyle and Rónán leading Ljubljana (E1 5c), topped off with Kyle leading Disco Legs (E3 5c) and everyone else having a go at it on top rope. The day was once again finished by a jump in the lake.
Monday 15th of July, day 5.
Monday morning was a good reminder of the importance of checking oneself and one’s possessions before leaving climbing crags, but all was good once Eva’s wallet was found after a quick paced and refreshing walk on the top of Bothán. Afterwards we set off for the long journey home.
To conclude this report, the Kerry trip was a definite success, with a combination of beautiful weather, good company and some picture-postcard rock climbing.
This is a quiet time of year for indoor climbing but club times will go ahead as normal over the next few weeks, except for this Thursday (11 July) when the Ozone will be closed.
The weather is reasonably good, so keep an eye on the club facebook page to see who’s heading out.
Moorhill Quarry in Newry (UKC page here) is a recently developed roadside trad climbing venue. There have been rumblings of access issues but these appear to be resolved.
From Michéal Murphy:
Peter, the owner of the gun and airsoft club, has placed a pad lock on the upper gate and asked that the code be shared with other climbers so that we can use it as a car park.
The code is 3544..
He will have someone spray the weeds to make the parking area larger and to combat the giant hog weed. He is also happy if we use their shed at the top.
He stated that he was more than happy to share the area with climbers and is grand for climbing to take place while they are airsofting...
On the issue of health and safety he said they are using low pressure guns that are out of range of the rock faces and have consciously erected their shooting area away from the rock. There may be 5-6 routes on the far side of the quarry you may wish to be careful of if they are airsofting but the other ~45 should be ok.
The club will be decamping to Cronin’s Yard in the heart of the McGillicuddy’s Reeks in Kerry over the weekend of 12 July.
For members interested in coming please fill in this form by Thursday 4 July.
Cost will be €32 (for camping) plus fuel costs.
It's (roughly) our second birthday coming up this month so we thought we would organise a climbing trip to celebrate!