Today I headed back to Kerry to have a day out with Kevin. It had been a while since we had an outing and this time we opted for a hike on the Reeks instead of our usual epic run. That was more to give my still recovering ribs a chance to heal fully. We were undecided as to what exactly we would do but eventually opted for the Hags Tooth Ridge on Benkeeragh and to head over to Carrauntoohil and take it from there. Disappointingly the weather was once again iffy and it was raining at the back of the Hags Glen when we left the car ( a brand spanking new Ford Kuga..posh) but we were in high spirits nonetheless. There is never a problem with the flow of conversation when we are out and today was no different. Topics ranged from our reasons for doing what we do ( mountaineering wise) to music and "Twitching" of a type :o).
Anyway the fun starts straight away once you cross the stream under the tooth.We immediately left the normal route and opted to tackle as many of the various rock-steps that lead to the base of the tooth proper. Despite the drizzle and occasional bout of heavier stuff we set about the various black slippery steps with relish. Kevin as usual was fearless and went up some really tricky bits, even pulling over the occasional overhanging rock. I on the other hand opted for easier sections but even some of these were pushing my limits. The route itself is graded as Scramble Grade II but the climbing we did was at times difficult and we were of the opinion that at times we were climbing harder than Howling Ridge. Anyway we eventually arrived at the small top and then continued up the now more fragmented ridge towards the summit. This does offer the odd interesting interlude before we finally arrived at the summit of the second highest point in the country. The wind was now quite strong and decidedly chilly but we still enjoyed a welcome bite to eat.
The chill was considerable so we didn't tarry and set off across the ridge towards Carrauntoohil. We made short work of the 400ft to the summit and then set off without delay towards the Devils Ladder. As we neared this we decided that we would head down the Heavenly Gates as time was a little pressing if we were to have time to enjoy a coffee in Killarney. The continuing damage caused by passing of the thousands of climbers that now frequent this area is all too evident and this in only one of several ways up/down the mountain. We both feel that at some stage a decision will have to be made to protect this fragile environment and build well constructed paths that might halt the ever widening spread of destruction. Anyway we arrived back at the car a bit wet, a bit tired but well happy to have had another grand day out. I feel fortunate indeed to have friends who, hail rain or shine, always make our outings a real treat. The poor weather ensured that the camera stayed in the rucksack so no pictures today. Here,s to the next time.