“Well, what else were you going to do today?”

When I first looked for music to accompany this report I (of course, which will become apparent soon) hopped on “The U Tube” and searched bouldering music.  I was immediately bombarded with playlists, containing shitty loud dubstep (not even good dubstep) as well as those far-too well used songs we have heard in every boulder film ever.  Instead I have gone searching a-far and found this little gem.

I was approached by the ever psyched Mr Toby Vye contacted me and proposed that there be a climbing event, or something of such a nature, as the weather was due a window of no rain.  This quickly became a window of less rain, rather than none, but still enough to justify an outing.  And so it was that we planned to go to Binnian, for either trad or bouldering, as we both hold a fancy to both methods of movement.  The plan, and time, were set in stone.

In usual fashion of Ireland and the Mournes, the next morning our plans immediately were threatened.  The weather was looking cloudier than the forecast.  “No bother, maybe it will clear a bit” I thought.  As though to try to thwart us in particular, the weather worsened.  Around when Toby landed at my abode the clouds dissolved into a haze of particalized water (that is mizzle to the keen observer).  Now this is far form ideal, but as I had yet finished my coffee, I offered a cup to Toby-san and we began channel surfing to wait for the weather to pass.  Now as we moved through prime day-time TV (including classics such as Jeremy Kyle and Homes Under the Hammer) we came to the extreme sports channel, where we saw some adventurous lads in a ski film, of all things.  It was through this observation we noted, that everything they were doing we could do.  Now this seems a large claim, but under fine analysis we saw that extreme sports videos have a set of rules to follow, allowing those in the know to participate.

  1. It’s not called a video, or film for that matter, always shall it be known as an “Edit”.
  2. Between 60% and 80% of the footage must be “Beta roll”, in other words that filler stuff like; eating snacks, talking to the camera, lifting gear up, and getting out of cars.
  3. The final 40-20% is actual material of the sport, but must be (of that 40-20%) 80% failure, with a build up to the 20% success.

We decided to spend the day making a sponsor me video for ourselves, as we had now seen how easy it is to make a climbing film.  Finally the weather had improved to the point of climbable, so we set out.  Now Binnian was way out of our league at this point, largely because it was late in the morning and has a big walk in, as well as the fact that the top was still totally covered by scary clouds (with fangs and things).  So once again I suggested the ever Glorious Hen Mountain.  A jump into the climb-mobile and we teleported magically there, and began walking.  Now we had decided that some amount of bouldering could be mixed with the trad, to sate both desires at once.  As thus, we carried one mat between us and a rack with halfs, and set off.  About the time we reached the bottom of the gully where Greg resides (the shelter stone) we noted it was rather gusty (nearly lost the mat over the mountain).  Weighing the mat down with our bags in a sheltered area, we went to check all the faces in case some refuge existed, though none did.  We did however do some “bouldering” at a spot of rock, claiming difficulty from 5+ up to 8b+, dependent on if the sheep shit from our boots had pre-marked the holds for us.

Taking our pet boulder mat for a walk on Hen.

pet boulder mat

Eventually we packed it in, due to worsening wind, and a large cloud army advancing from the south (likely the IRA, or International Rain Army as they are known).  At this point is was still only about 12:00.  Yes….yes…..read that again, you were correct the first time.  This was totally unacceptable, for many reasons too complex to go into involving summoning of chakkras and such.  So we did the only thing thinkable other than go to hotrocks wall.  For a while now I have played with the idea and always dismissed it, though today it seemed the only option.  We went to The Rockpool.

Now, I may not be able to see you, but I can smell the puzzled looks on your faces right now.  “The Rockpool? What is this? A craig in the Mournes not known to me?”.  Well I too was once so minded, but I have seen the light.  You see the best way to explain what The Rockpool is about is its like an indoor boulder wall outside.  The wall is; short, very overhanging, covered in holds, ranging from glassy sharp crimps to sloppers and pinches.  For these reasons there are no REAL routes, only self-made problems, selecting the exact holds allowed based on how hard you wish to climb.  Now this is perfect for outdoor boulder training, get strong, get used to real rock, and all only less than a minute walk from the carpark.  It is a hidden gem for training, though you can’t log any of the climbs.  Having a partner to help create problems is a requirement I would say.

The last comment on the spot is accurate, not sarcastic, though the next section is entirely bollocks.

It was at this time that we decided to become the area’s main developers, as this was clearly a prime undiscovered area.  We immediately began trying to emulate the photo on page 252 of the Mournes Guide book, because why not?  Through this process we set out our personas as developers.  Quotes for the “Edit” included, but were not limited to;

“Conor is a true visionary. A man with an eye for a line so beautiful, so pure, so clean. It was an honour to even pull on the same holds as him. A passionate local activist, he’s advancing the concept of what’s even possible in the Rockpool” – Toby Vye

“These lines are so futuristic, but if we can even pass on the idea of them to the next generation, that is still something to be proud of, a legacy of sorts” – Conor Cadden

Those with access to the guide may compare each of our attempts, both attempted from memory of the photo, though if I am honest I think we were slightly off to the left.  (Yes this is a shameless tops-off-for-power photo shoot).

The recently migrated strong-man, Toby Vye


Local climbing activist, Conor Cadden


Ultimately the day lead to the development of several problems; Toby’s Traverse, Cadden’s Castle, Photo Problem, Deadpoint Delight, and The Proj to name but a view.  Even now there are many more potential lines and challenges to be found and sent.  So all in all, the day was a successful failure, mainly because of the weather, but we did learn that The Rockpool is a fun outdoor training spot which can be used to salvage a trip to the Mournes when such a thing must occur.  There is also the convenience of various coffee shops near-by (which were availed of after the weather finally became unbearable, even in the sheltered spot).

The Rockpool being developed by an up and coming gobshite

rockpool development

To quote the great Porkey Pig, “That’s all folks!”

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