Monday, March 8, 2010

The Lick on Carrauntoohil

The Lick a grade 3 ice climb
I went up the "Lick" on Carrauntoohil yesterday. The "Lick" is an ice climb which starts at about 680mtrs and rises in a series of steps to about 950mtrs. It doesn't often come into condition but there was just enough there to give it a go. Tim Long joined me and suitably booted and suited we started up the climb at 11.30am. The bottom was banked out with snow but soon the climb proper started. I led the first section of about 30mtrs. This was very thin in the middle and nescessated a move onto the rock for about 7mtrs. There is practically no protection to be found here and the exposure is quite serious. The wind was very strong and communication at any distance was impossible so when I reached a snow bay Tim joined me. Axe belays were the order of the day and we decided to use the 20mtrs of rope which I had forgot to take out of my bag to complete the climb. This worked out perfectly as most of the remaining steps were of about 12 to 15 meters long. We made good progress and summitted at 2.15pm. The climbing was mostly on hard water ice and some of the bulges gave vertical steps of up to 7mtrs. All good stuff and a very nice grade 3 climb. A rapid descent of a nicely banked out Curved Gully finished off a fine day out. The cold weather is set to continue for the rest of the week so we shall see what that brings. One bummer was that neither of us thought to bring a camera and some dramatic shots went a begging. I took one with my phone from the bottom but whole climb looks flat. Still it will give the excuse to do it again.