News 2016

Title:  2016 Fairhead Climbing Meet
Date:  07/06/2016

Stunning weather and super-star climbers combined to attract almost five hundred climbers to the 2016 Fairhead Climbers meet. 

Organised by Paul Swail the Fairhead Climbers meet has continued to grow in popularity in recent years. This year saw the biggest ever attendance at the meet, the combination of excellent weather for the duration of the meet as well as a slideshow and talk by superstar climber Alex Honnold drew climbers from all over Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Austria, Poland and the USA.

Many climbers took advantage of the excellent weather and arrived well in advance of the official meet dates, and by Friday there was already plenty of chalk on the crag and boulders.

Over the the weekend of the meet Rob Hunter and Veronica Lee introduced, guided and encouraged a large group of climbers in the immense boulder field below the crag. Veronica estimated that there were up to a hundred people bouldering on Saturday and Sunday. 

The main crag of Fairhead swallowed up the hundreds of people choosing to climb in the near perfect conditions. The large numbers of climbers did result in a few queues at the bottom of the more popular routes, but what would a climbing meet be without some social chat at the base of the routes. 

The talking point of this year's meet was that Alex Honnold was at the meet. Alex set the bar high with a solo of Ricky Bell's hard classic The Complete Scream (E7 6b). Alex made a quick abseil inspection of the route before making the decision to climb the route ropeless. On Saturday night Alex entertained a packed shed of almost four hundred and fifty climbers with his take on climbing ethics in Ireland. The highly entertaining and at times provocative talk had the crowd mesmerised and chuckling at the American's observations and opinions on how we choose to play our climbing game.

photo by: Chris Weidner

A strong team of visiting German and Austrian climbers, all members of the DMM climbing team added even more pizzazz to the already star studded meet. It was a joy to watch Peter Wurth, who describes himself as mostly a boulderer and a novice trad climber cruise his way up Hells Kitchen Arete (E6 6a). The other visiting climbers enjoyed all that Fairhead had to offer (except for the midges) and made fast work of many of the crag's harder classic lines. 

Alex Sweikart on pitch two of Wall of Prey

Local young climbers climbers also put on many fine performances during the weekend. Saul Calvert, Rory Cummings, Jake Mc Connell and Ciaran Curran are quickly getting to grips with the climbing style at Fairhead and would seem to emerging as the vanguard of the upcoming generation of local climbers. 

Not to be outdone by the young pups a number of bearded and bellied older climbers kicked off their come back tour at the meet. Managing to get up routes with sheer will power and guile they proved that there is still plenty fight left in the older hounds. 

The most prolific new-routers of the crag, Calvin Torrans and Clare Sheridan added another five new routes. The five routes were cleaned over the spring and climbed by Calvin and Clare just in time for the meet. 

The entire meet is only possible thanks to the amazing hospitality of Sean McBride and his family, the owners and caretakers of Fairhead. Sean's immense generosity and kindness allows the meet to happen and for climbers from all over the world to enjoy climbing at Fairhead. 

With the Fairhead meet now firmly established as a key event in the Irish climbing community's calendar and its growing popularity with climbers from all over the UK and further afield, the meet is sure to grow and develop over the coming years. Aside from the weekend of the meet it would be great to see more people climbing at Fairhead throughout the year, be it on the crag or on the boulders. 

 

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