(by Gerry Moss – June 2013)
New Routes in Rocky Valley
What a spell of marvellous weather we’ve just had. Hard to believe that a few weeks ago we were enduring the coldest Spring for 50 years. During that time, with the quarry cold and wet, and a visit to the mountain crags always a bit of a gamble, we climbed on the quick-drying Holly Tree Crag in Rocky Valley.
On a particularly cold morning we traversed a little left to have a look at the adjacent crag and were pleasantly surprised to find climbing potential on a sunny, south-facing section. We gave the crag a bit of a spruce-up and enjoyed some pleasant climbing, with Brendan and Eoghan getting a taste of the buzz that comes with putting up new routes. Details of our efforts are listed below.
Silver Spring Crag, Rocky Valley.
This small, south facing, sheltered crag lies about 50m left of the of the original crag (Holly Tree Crag) and just right of a small stream (the Silver Spring). It catches the sun from early morning, is sheltered from most winds and is a very pleasant and relaxing spot. A good spot for beginners learning to lead or for warming up before tackling the climbs on the main crag.
Approach. As for Holly Tree Crag, then traverse left from the top of that crag. The climbs are described from L to R.
1. Briars. Diff.
Start at the left edge of the crag, at the foot of a block. Step up onto the block and climb directly to a short diagonal crack. Pull up on to a good ledge, move around left and step back right onto the face, which is followed to the top. Belay on a small holly
E. O’Neill, G. Moss. 14/05/13.
2. Fissure Grianmhar. V.Diff.
Start near the left edge of the crag, below the wide crack to the left of the holly tree. Climb the crack, passing a rocking block, and surmount the small overhang (crux) on good holds.
G. M. 18/4/13.
3. Branch Out. Severe 4a
Start immediately right of the holly tree, below a corner that narrows at the top. Climb the left edge until it is possible to bridge across right, move up and back left and climb to a heather ledge. Finish up the crack directly above the ledge.
E. O’Neill, G. M. 14/5/13.
4.Ga Gréine HS 4b.
Start immediately R of 3 and directly below a short see-through crack in the small overhang at the top of the face. Steeply up into a short groove, then climb directly to the overhang which is taken on good holds. Climb the blunt rib directly above the heather ledge.
G.M. E.O’N. 14/5/13.
5. Nutcracker. VS5a.
Start 3m right of 4, directly below the short arete. A bouldering start is followed by steep moves up the arete. Finish up the blocky corner on the right.
B. Burke, H.Herzmann, G. M. 15/4/13.
6. Little Pelstein. Severe 4a.
Start 2m right of 5 and just right of the wide, shallow corner. Move up and across L to a ledge below the corner. Climb the corner to a heather patch, finishing up the wide diagonal crack on the right.
H.Herzmann. B.B. G.M. 15/4/13.
7. Rambling Rose. HS 4a.
Start below the R-hand of two short grooves. Climb the groove, step up left and climb left of the holly tree, moving left into a short blocky corner to finish.
B.B. G.M. 6/5/13.
8. BeeLine. VS4b.
Start 1m R of Rambling Rose, below a short corner running up to the holly tree. Bridge up the corner and climb just R of the holly tree, finishing steeply on the R.
B.B. G.M. 13/07/13.
9. Silver Apple. M. S.
Start as for Beeline. Bridge up until it is possible to move R to the edge of the slab sloping up R. Gain height and pull up onto the face, which is followed to the top.
10. May Moon. V. Diff Start just right of the little spindle tree at the foot of the bottom right of the crag. Climb the wide ramp sloping up right to where it ends, after about 6m, at a small overhang. Step across left onto the face and follow it to the highest point of the buttress. G.M. M. Casey. 25/5/13
Mags on Briar, Diff.