Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Art's Cross

Following a few discussions and posts on the short span message board about the big mother arete in Art's Cross, I decided to post some information about it. Officially it was first visited back in early 2007 when Dave Flanagan got tipped-off by O'Hanlon. However I have good reasons to believe that Seamus Crowley had already explored the place the previous year.The place is definitely worth a visit as it is quite awesome, even for non-climbers. There are a good few boulders around, which comes handy for warming up.


The main boulder has probably the most beautiful line I have seen in Ireland. Its western side is the first you should see when arriving: a 5m / 15ft high prow with two fairly blank aretes (actually the left one is too round to be called "arete").

We spent a good while trimming the wig all along the top edge so top-outs are now possible. The landing area is very grassy. However there is a stream passing right at the bottom, and although it is quite narrow it is deep enough in the ground to break an ankle if you land in it, so make sure you come with enough pads to cover a good landing area. We also have cleaned and climbed a few lines around. The first boulder we tried was the low overhanging arete at the back: either really hard from sit-start or too easy and too short from stand start. We also tried a class overhang problem 10m further down (passed round a corner). Unfortunately a horrible spiky rock is standing right below your ass... The big one itself has a few variations on its south side slab either really hard or fairly easy.


The boulder field lay in the upper part of the valley nested at the bottom of Art's Cross Crag. Dave's team arrived from the Wicklow gap. Although this walk is quite long, it's a good opportunity to visit the Glanakeera boulder known to some as the "Sheep's head boulder". However if you are not to keen about long solitary walks, there is a shorter approach from the gleenremore brook valley. From Hollywood, drive towards the Gap (R756). At Coonmore, drive straight instead of following the main road to the left (do not pass the Kings River) and follow the electric overhead lines. Follow that road for a while (rough, 4x4 welcome) till it finishes in a path. From there continue on foot. Pass a gate and a bridge, then right and walk up hill following the side of the forest. Once you've past the forest continue up hill and stay on the left side of the valley (good chance of meeting the deers). The total walk in is about 45 Mn.
I have located it on my google bouldering map (check side panel on the right) and don't forget that you can use OSI online to explore Ireland.

Good Luck.


Dave Flanagan said...

Good post Pierre. I know Seamus explored that valley before I know not sure he found that boulder though, as he send me some photos and it wasn't amounst them. I think its worth going the longer way to this boulder to take in the other bouders (there are 3 good boulders on the hillside to the east), if you have come that far ...

Anonymous said...

What pretty pictures you put up, Pierre. Mind you, I appear to have done a Grace Jones.


Pierre Fuentes said...

Can you explain to the non-native speaker that I am what a Grace Jones is?