On Friday I lead Indecent Assault in Dalkey quarry. This is a route that assumed a fierce reputation and went unrepeated for 19 years despite being located roadside in an urban quarry, right in the heart of Dublin city. Nearly two weeks ago I dropped a rope down it to try the moves and see if it was feasible. Really I was looking for something to occupy me during short windows of free time from home - I found that by using a mini-traxion I could cram more hard climbing into a focused hour than I used to get in a whole day of climbing in the quarry. I figured Indecent Assault could be something I could work on for weeks or even months without any real pressure to get done. On that first session I managed the crux 6C rockover but couldn't fathom the top out sequence. A week later I returned for another quick play. It had been on my mind and at some point during the week I thought of a sequence that might work. It did! I managed to "mini" the crux section from the gear to the topout twice without falls. That was all well and good but my complicated sequence felt so insecure that the prospect of leading it yet didn't really stick in my head. Four days later I met Brian out in Dalkey and was abseiling down the line to check the gear and clean the lower half of the route. Before long I had placed what gear there is in the flake and climbed the route from ground to top twice on the "mini" without warm up or falls. Still felt too touch and go to lead though. It's a weird one, when you're at the crux looking down, thinking of slack and rope stretch the gear looks too low. But from the ground the gear looks 2/3rds of the way up and totally safe. With the mindset that all prep is good prep I cleared some pointy sticks from the landing zone and took some of the branches off the tree that might catch a falling climber and cause a flip. I was ready to sack it off and go climb something else when Pat came up with a classic line "sure lead up to the gear just to get a feel for it". Good idea!
I set off on lead with Brian on belay and Pat watching. The lower half climbs like a 3-star HS and then I was standing hands free at the last gear looking up. At this point I was on auto and I rambled up through the increasingly committing moves to the shakeout before the crux. Fuck! A quick shout down to Brian to check for slack and ask him if he's ready to catch me. I begin the rockover to the crimp. Then the hip twist, right heel-toe cam in the undercut, bring my right hand back down, fuck, right foot step through to the blind edge and left foot leaves the good hold to take up position on the piss-poor smear. Then the move I was dreading. Match the shitbrick crimp and smack the left into the base of the groove. Harder than on the mini but I'm still on. Everything felt greasey. I'm about to grease off, can't chalk, might as well fight on. Fuck the sequence, left hand to the next grease free hold, foot slip but I'm locked in between two gastons. Run my feet up to high smear and cross over to layaway and top. I may have screamed :)
Felt nice to climb something hard without the fitness to make it feel comfortable and boring. It was a case of fighting to the top on this one and not giving in to a fall. I hadn't had that on a route for years!
Psyched for more headpoints and so happy to have climbed this route in particular. Dalkey was where I began climbing and this route represented the ultimate route to me when I first got hooked on climbing. Getting to the top felt like finishing something I started when I took my first steps on rock in the quarry. And the best part is theres lots more to do!
Thanks to all the characters who worked hard, went for it or just pricked around in the quarry cleaning, climbing and developing these routes people take for granted - they're superb and under rated and have history which makes them all the more memorable
The holds look bigger on Instagram
Route with a view