New film chronicles Canadian climber Will Gadd's adventure on the sea stacks of Ireland
A year ago, Canadian climber Will Gadd explored the sea stacks off the coast of Ireland, including a plan to tackle the tallest and as yet unclimbed Chaos Stack. A stunning new video chronicling this unique expedition with Gadd alongside local climber and guide Iain Miller has just been released by Red Bull.
“I had no idea that there was really good sea cliff and sea stack climbing,” Gadd says. “It looked really cool, but it took a couple of years to find the time. I went over there more as a curiosity than thinking the climbing was going to be that good.”
When Gadd got there, he was impressed and noted some similarities between the stacks in Ireland and those near the town of Squamish, B.C. known as the Smoke Bluffs — regarded as one of the best cragging areas in the world for granite.
“The rock is fantastic, and the sea cliffs there are world-class rock climbing,” he says. “It's just the sheer quantity of stone there, and it's high quality because it's been beaten by the sea weather for eons. If you're a climber, it's about as good as it gets, honestly.”
Because some of the sea stacks were only connected by land bridges in low tide, Gadd had to climb in a drysuit on some occasions just in case he got swept away by the waves.
“You’re trying to time it like you’re surfing or something in reverse,” he explains. “You go whipping across this bridge, but later in the day there’s no way to do that, so then we had to swim back across these channels. There were big waves coming through because it is the west coast of Ireland.”
Apparently, it was worth it.
Gadd says, they would often stop along the way to other climbs because they found an even better one. He says he found at least a half-dozen new lines that would be high quality anywhere in the world, only nobody knows about the ones in Ireland. Add that to the endless variety and number of sea cliffs worthy of a climb, and he’s already interested in a return visit.
“You could spend a lifetime doing something every day in there,” Gadd says. “Ireland doesn’t have much climbing history. But if that were actually in Britain, if it were in England or anywhere in Britain, it would be world-famous. People would go there and go climbing a lot.”
Anytime Gadd met up with any locals while he was out and about on a climb, they would be surprised to hear what he was doing.
“We’d be out there with ropes and things and people are like, ‘Oh, what are you doing?’ And I’d say, ‘Going Climbing,” Gadd explains. “‘Really? There’s climbing here?’ would be the response. They were quite excited once they heard how good it was. It seems to me that they’re quite proud as most people are of their country, but they don’t look at it with the same eyes.”
Catch the full video of Gadd’s trip at the link below.