Mournes Routes

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    With the new forum lacking any recent routes, it seems that given the Trad season has begun (and will probably end in three days time) now is the perfect chance to kick start this thread.

    Forgoing the traditional practice of getting clean wankered on St Patrick’s Day for a different meaning of traditional; Stuart, Roisin, Alex and I headed down to the Mournes on Sunday evening (16th March), the destination was Lower Cove. Pitching up at Annalong Wood with some tea and a few cans of Bass Ale we settled down and waited for the next days climbing. Making for the crag at the leisurely time of 10.30am, we proceeded with the first routes of the day and of the season.

    Pillar Variant *** – S 4a (Niall/Alex)

    Whilst this was not the first time I have been to Lower Cove, this was the first time leading Pillar Variant. Simple, straight forward climbing (none of this variation nonsense…) taking the obvious holds up the face. Gear is grand. One for newbies to trad to get on! Belayed Alex up, noticing the arrival of 12 other QUB club members.

    With Alex not in the mood for leading, and content to second up some harder routes I opted for a look at a few routes that had tickled my fancy when I was last at Lower Cove. Having been inactive this year on the climbing front mostly due to a mixture of shoulder injury following two cases of coming off my bike and being in final year, I thought it would be most unlikely that I could manage anything above VS this time round… surprisingly I was wrong! With encouragement from the forever psyched Kilroy in the form of “jump on it, sure life is too short anyway…” I did just that!

    Ways of Escape * – E1 5c (Niall/Alex)

    Takes the start for Trogs Trot (VS 4b), a route that meanders around the Third corner buttress and over the top of the entrance to Cove Cave. Instead of turning the overhangs on the right by traversing over the top of the cave entrance, Ways of Escape takes the direct line through the overhanging bulge. Let’s just say this is one cracking crux sequence. Gear is superb on the route which instils confidence in the leader. Being a bit on the tall side, I struggled to get my body in the right position after the crux. Bit of body tension, a grunt, a few expletives and somehow getting hold of an undercut and I was past the difficulties… but pumped stupid!! Amazing!

    Dandered round to have a look at the route that Kevin and Eoghan were on, and upon hearing that it was one of the best routes he has done, geared up and got ready to go.

    Dark Side of the Moon ** – E1 5b (Niall/Alex)

    Wow! Sport route style climbing indeed. Sinker jugs, good gear, powerful type moves and pumpy as sin! Crux was interesting (made more interesting by the lack of gear I placed – SILLY!). Rained during the climb on several occasions – typical Irish weather. Top pitch was a no go. Soaking wet and greasy as hell (Or as Tom Prebble would say: “Like an Italian in the shower”), and not one to do when you can’t feel your fingers due to the cold. Took a heather covered variation and called it a day after that.

    In the words of Stuart Abraham: “I’m shagged!”

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by nbrowne.
    The Club Cat

    I concur.

    Except that the ‘heather variant’ we took was about the most scared I’d been all day. Pumped, one shoe lace undone, and a guaranteed awful pendulum into the cave wall if I fell, all on greasy slopers.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by The Club Cat.

    good effort Browne! looking forward to trad times!


    Friday. Hen.

    Superbowl HVS 5a Rónán, Lisa

    Ahhhhhhhhhh Hen routes ahhhhhhh I’m scared ahhhh do the move woooo didn’t die. Yay. Oh,t he route’s done.


    Also Sunset and Volcano. the left hand VS finish to Sunset is a bit scary.


    Ways of Escape is fun.


    I didn’t die wooooooo 😀

    St Patrick’s Day gathering at Lower Cove.

    Pillar Variant – Sinéad, Emma

    Felt amazingly awesome to get back on some cold granite. What an awesome warm up route lovely moves .

    Here’s where the adventure began of nearly dying. 

    Agag’s Wall- Emma, Sinéad

    Having led this class route before Emma decided to gave it a go :). While Emma was around half way up the route, all hear “rope below” – whilst ducking I was greeting by a full whallop on the back from a 50m rope (guys, it hurts). Having narrowly escaped broken neck number one and being an awesome belayer not letting go of the dead end ,myself and Emma decide to go and to a 3* multipitch called Brewer’s gloom.

    Brewers Gloom- Sinéad, Emma

    Fantastic climbing, whilst at the first belay (which is positioned at the side of a major traverse) it began to rain. So we decided to get the helpful boys Rooney and Kev to set up abs for myself and Emma to back off.

    The eventful day continues…
    Having abseiled to the ledge where pressure point E6 and swing low is (just about enough rope to get us there) Emma downclimbs to get down, but I decide to go up (a bit of a slab) a bit in order to obtain easy access to get down. Low and behold in my mind I was thinking maybe I will put my rock shoes on even though the slab is wet for my brain to bounce back “mann up and stop being a jessie”. So I reach for some grass/reeds to help me up the slabs happy days. Next handhold a solid wee branch (whoop). Then, feet slip branch breaks and a 2oft fall happens… roll down the slab for about 10ish ft (all the while thinking calmly and silently ” spinal injuries, broken wrist, broken leg – I am going to die now”) then comes the interesting bit as Emma is downclimbing a small rock outcrop I bounce of her in to the arms of my saviour (Grewster) action man!!! whilst being cradled in Grew’s arms in shock adrenaline started to kick in (never experience that much in my life – its like shaken stevens).

    I was ridiculously lucky to get away with the few injuries which I sustained, it could have easily been a hell of a lot worse.

    points of the day:

    • Do not throw a rope down a crag without checking there are people actually climbing.
    • Concentrate more whilst walking lol
    • If you need anyone to save you from a inevitable death it is the man of the major quick reflexes and superman Mr. Grew (in all seriousness thank you betsi)
    • I am a very lucky betsi
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Sinead.

    Cottage weekend with UL

    Fantastic weekend in the cottage with the limerick guys. Fri night, had the craic with the guys from limerick involving a bit of drinking and climbing dead trees in a quest for things to burn. Sat, most of the UL guys headed out on a walk while Steve McCaffrey, Eva, her sister, Davis from UL and myself set off for lower cove for more vertical pursuits:

    Elvis,  E3 6aDavis, Dynosteve.

    A nice wee route comprising a scary swing out of the roof on a solid jug followed by a series of awkward mantles on slopers and painful jams.

    4th Corner,  D, Eva, Steve McCaff.

    Due to bad directions on my part the route was extended by 30m to a belay close to the start of the decent gully.

    Given to Fly, E3 6a, Dynosteve, Davis.

    An excellent if eliminate line up the right arete of brewers gloom. Questionable gear and a peg that seems to be held in the rock mainly by the prayers of the climber make it a test of will more than anything. The hardest part of the route is forcing yourself not to make the two moves to the left into brewers gloom and easier ground. This led into…

    Brewers Corner, E1 5C, Dynosteve, Davis.

    A one move wonder but worth the effort. After faffing below the crux for a good 5 minutes I finally managed to find a reasonable bit of gear that wasn’t a ball nut.

    Swing Low, E1 5b 3c, Davis, Dynosteve.

    Possibly one of the nicest E1s on cove though doing it in one pitch leads to insane rope drag. A combination of this ( which resulted in a constant 3 meters of slack in the rope ) and a shower while half way up made this an interesting one to second.

    Brewers Gloom, S 3c 4a 3c, Dynosteve, Eva.

    Decided to lead it in one pitch, BIG MISTAKE!

    As people packed up I decided to go for a quick jaunt up 4th corner with a new finish. As it was soloed I cant say decisively but would be something like…

    Dirty Limericks, HVS 5a?

    From the heather ledge at the top of 4th corner attack the left hand wall directly below the bulge, delicate moves up the protruding crystals to the second horizontal break followed by a high rockover to a slopey finish.

    Back to the cottage for alot more drinking and banter.

    Things iv learned from the weekend: 

    • E3s on lower cove are hungry for manflesh.
    • Casual sectarianism is something every mountaineering club has.
    • I dont want to know what happens in the barn.



    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Dynosteve.

    Ignoring the forecasts of doom Siobhan and I headed to lower cove armed with copious amounts of optimism.

    Les Jeunes Filles en Jupes d’Ete (A.K.A the French Route) E2 5b ***

    Not something you would expect to find in the Mournes. Juggy overhanging pockety climbing. Within 30 seconds of setting off the mist arrived, making it an interesting combination of atmospheric and terrifying! about a third of the way up is a torso sized rickety death flake which inspires confidence by flexing as you straddle it and mantel onto the ledge. If it rips then it will take all of your gear with you and you would end up either rolling down Annalong valley or get turned into some form of French Pâté. After this It breify turns into sport climbing, clipping stuck gear and a peg while it starts to get more over hanging. Arms burning like the fire of hades I arrived at the top section to find it flowing with water. The most terrifying top out ever!

    After possibly the slowest ascent of the french route ever, a battle on second with the route getting wetter in the mist and then an adventurous walk off. we decided to escape to mauds for unhealthily large portions of cake!




    As this hasn’t thread been used in a while I shall resurrect it!.

    Sunday = Lower Cove day!

    Collected the beard and the lank and power walked into lower cove in blistering heat and thermal trousers…

    Once moist levels had dropped and it was deemed acceptable to climb

    Swing Low *** E1 5C Yorkshire, Beard, Lank

    First time climbing in a month and it was glorious! very much my style. Steep with some glorious jamming. Lead through in one which wasnt too bad. careful rope management and some self seconding at the top makes rope drag minimal.

    Brewers Corner E1 5C Lank, Yorkshire, Beard

    Unfortunately for lank his shoes were just not technical enough for the 3C first pitch. Shamans are just not down turned enough for the mournes. Lead through brewers gloom into brewers corner in one. One move wonder second pitch with good (non ball nut) gear. Lank did good.

    Kram VC 4C Beard, Lank, Yorkshire

    nice little route with not the best gear. Got the blood pumping in Beards beard and the curse words flowing.


    As its was all sunny and what not Betsie, Cheese Roller, RON, Land, Psych and Myself decided to head out to Hen for an evening session.

    The Boys of Summer E1 5C Yorkshire, Psych, RON

    lovely route. Steep, safe with glorious jamming.

    The Age of Innocence HVS 5b Psych, Yorskhire, RON, Lank

    so much better than it looks from the ground. Dirty looking chimney leads to a lovely upper section. Holds are for pussies and according to Lank so are shoes, arriving on the blank slab at the top barefoot!


    We then went round to play on a new route Psych has been looking at. Skin shredding crystal crimping madness!






    If Lord of the Rings was set in the Mournes


    To start off this trip report, I shall follow in the footsteps of Master Cadden and apply some good tunes (mostly for the beats) to this for y’all to listen to as you read this award winning trip report. Today’s tunes are complimentary of my own taste in musik, many of which some may find odd, but if you want to listen to something different, you cannot because I’ll only be linking these- peppering them throughout *deal with it*; tunes will vary according to the tone I want to set so enjoy mes amis!

    This week’s shenanigans bring us to the beloved Lower Cove, first explored by many a (hungover) Fresher on the annual ‘Fresher’s Trip’ and re-explored once again (hungover) from time to time by your avid climber. Lower Cove, for those who don’t know it is located deep in the fiery chasm; that is the Mourne Mountains. The location of Lower Cove provides quite a nice walk in with picture opportunities all around, or for those less fitted for the “stroll”, the walk provides a breathy hike; with a good way to get seriously warmed up.
    The spontaneous trip to the Mournes on the misty yet bright Wednesday morning, sought to spur my mind into questioning key issues (shit talk) about the purpose of climbing, the disputes within climbing, bolting (triggering) and why Trad-ists, are so particularly skilled in the art of having no fear of Death whilst carrying an extremely heavy rack (steady on).

    The day started off relatively well; rising bright and early to meet with Mr. Colin collecting both Eoin and I from our individual digs, and thus setting forth towards the Mournes to rendezvous with Sir Kyle Vlad of Trad, and later Master Cadden the local Wizard of Donard. On route to the meeting point, we stopped for the traditional coffee break at the local shop-filling- station-location. However, in this special episode we decided to stick to a healthy diet of bikers crisps, some “half dipped chocolate flan biscuits” for Mr. Colin, some Oats biscuits for Eoin and of course, 2 litres of L’eau (water for those not bilingual), instead of buying the coffee that we all should’ve had. After a quick stop for stocking up on supplies, we fired on towards location uno; Lower Cove car park.

    Arriving in one piece, and meeting with Sir Kyle, we all trekked towards Lower Cove. The walk was a tiring one for all parties but nevertheless psych was retained as Eoin and I would experience Trad for the first time, Kyle and Colin would show us the ropes (hue) and all would have a jam packed day. We made our way to first corner where we set up camp, and looked at the possible routes to climb in Sir Kyle Vlad of Trad’s handy guide book.
    For a first time traditionalist, one will find fascination in the use of various equipment used to prevent death; although it must be noted that the prospect of death in climbing is inherent despite various equipment. Two half ropes are sometimes used in this area of climbing, one for the clipping of one to the gear placements and the other I don’t know, I didn’t learn that much it’s not school lads.
    Whilst pending this information, I was self-appointed photographer, and took visual notes of Colin’s placements and pretty solid climbing of a V.diff named “Tyro”. Impressed and excited to try, both Eoin and I decided to give the route a whorl, with Eoin seconding the climb and I following suit. One thing I found interesting was the crux of the route; A bridging of a small chimney with high foot holds (if you wish), before grappling nice juggy holds, and then a nice stepping up to the top. All in all a fun route, which I wouldn’t mind climbing again, next time hopefully placing the gear.
    After climbing down again, through the Gully, we all decided to chill for a bit after one climb (do you see why skipping coffee was a terrible idea). Following the quick break, Sir Kyle was eyeing up a pretty gnarly E2 so named the ‘Meat Grinder’, awesome.
    With Kyle racking up, we all gathered round, biscuits and crisps in mouths, Colin on belay, and observed Kyle ascend like an angel with no wings wedging small pieces of metal into tight spaces (he’s done this before). Sailing up this E2, Sir Kyle Vlad of Trad set up an anchor at the summit for Colin to second the route and withdraw Kyle’s gear. Colin did a pretty good job seconding, but not without falling victim to the meat grinder’s name. Blood was spilt this day. After Colin had equally sailed to the top, I decided that I was the captain now, and had to give this E2 a go…on top-rope. The route starts off with stepping up onto a small horizontal ledge, and hands grabbing onto some small sparse jugs at neck height, then working your way up into vertical cracks, with hand holds then being used as footholds. Passing a blood speckled hold (R.I.P. Colin), I came to what I believe to be the crux of the route…until you realise that the crux is a layback, and attempting it as not a layback is very silly. Up past the crux, you can ascend quite easily, trusting your feet and making a quicker ascent if you force yourself to stretch for great high footholds. From there, horizontal cracks are your best friend, providing excellent jugs and a happy climb to the top.

    (Leaving y’all with a chill tune, I expect you to fade the music out yourselves when you’ve finished reading)

    Arriving at the top, I discovered a Master Cadden Wizard of Donard and beyond, lying on the edge of both the crag and life; exhausted after climbing Donard and trekking to meet us at Lower Cove. We decided then, as the sun began to set, that it was best to call it a day and take the (nicer) walk back to the car park, where the plan to get a trad-itional chicken kebab (recommended by the Wizard himself) at Herron’s.
    I won’t bore you with the shit-talk made at Herron’s, but questions in summary for y’all to think about;
    Why does Herron’s put the Chicken beneath the chips? (To Colin’s dismay)
    Why do people hate the pictures taken by others of them, but take the same picture of themselves and like it better (Cadden logic…)
    Why do flowers die when they lay so close to Caddens heart? (my jab)
    Is Cadden’s long-term plan to steal my Beanie viable? (Cadden’s edgy plan)
    Is Kyle’s mental way of thinking being warped from staying in Caddens presence 24/7? (My internal thoughts)
    And finally, when will September end because wake me up this report is too long.

    So anyways, Thanks for reading, for those who stuck it out, and hopefully you’ll hear from me soon if I have the time and resources, because as an English student, free time is hard to come by…… bye!

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