(by Gerry Moss, November 2008)
Climbing in winter at the sun-kissed Wicklow crag.
Wasn’t last Tuesday a lovely day – an ideal opportunity to introduce Steve (recently retired) to Barnbawn’s micro-mediterranean climate. Blue skies, sun-kissed rock, and a breeze sighing through the pines overhead. Here’s Steve and Herbert soaking up the sunshine:
Belated congratulations to Terry on the 2 new routes he established here some weeks ago. Himself and myself had a look at the line of The Edge HVS 5a a few years ago, he almost cracked it then, but decided to leave it for another day and it has been waiting for him ever since. The two routes are a worthwhile addition to the collection, and I suspect most climbers will consider The Edge to be a bit nearer to 5b than 5a.
In the interim we have not been standing idly by, and below you will find details of two routes we added during last winter. The description for the second one, Traverse of the Bods, is a bit lengthy, but it is far and away the longest climb on the crag and provides some entertaining moments (the name is a nod to my two companions on the day).
This shot shows Sidewinders (in red) and the first pitch of the traverse (in blue):
The climbs described:
Short, delicate and difficult to protect in the upper section. It can be greasy after a few days rain and is best tackled when dry. Best, too, in the morning as, like the others climbs on this side, it faces east and catches the sun early.
Start at the extreme R of the crag, as for Offside, below the R-hand end of the deep, sloping crack. Pull up to stand in the crack. Make a long, awkward step down and around to the R onto a good foothold. Traverse R using undercuts to gain the edge of the flake. Continue R on an intermittent crack and, when this fades, move up the face to a gap and tree belay. (G.Moss, H. Hertzmann, Winter 2007)
Traverse of the Bods HVS (4c, 5a)
A right-to-left girdle of the crag, best done in 2 pitches, to avoid rope drag.
Pitch 1, 4c.
Start as for Offside, at the extreme R of the crag, below the R-hand end of the deep, sloping crack. Pull up to stand in the crack and traverse L to its end. Step across L and continue with the foot traverse on Cascarino. When this ends move L above the overhang on Damp Start Crack to reach the arete. Step down L onto the upper part of the ramp on Eye of the Needle and move across onto the hanging slab on Swing Lowe. Up this to belay above the exit on Eye of the Needle.
Pitch 2, 5a.
Move down into the gorse-filled gully and across to the stance below the crux of Buachaillí Bána. Make a delicate diagonal descent across the short slab of Scud Guys (crux) and move around the nose to the stance below the crux of Bonsai. A short fingery traverse across the steep wall gains the narrow ramp on Saw Doctors. Step down onto the main slab and traverse pleasantly L below the crux of Lineker to just below the top of OOh! AAh! Backclimb down this to belay on the ground.
(G. Moss, H. Hertzmann, L. Convery, Winter 2007)
This shot shows the second pitch of the traverse, and Terry’s route, The Edge (in red):