|The lower slopes of Curved,..totally full.|
By the time I reached the second level of Coumeenoughter it was plain to see that there was still copious amounts of snow in the gully and that it was still completely banked out. I could also see that there was a party in front of me so at least there would be some steps to follow. Upon reaching the gully my worst fears weren't realised and the snow wasn't as soft as I feared. There was no need for crampons but I did use one axe which plunged in and through the snow a bit too easily. The gully is initially narrow before swinging around to the left in open ground and once again becomes narrow all the way to the top. It lays back at about 35 degrees with occasional sections maybe five degrees steeper. In leaner conditions it can have some nice icy steps and the bottom section becomes much more tricky but today it was a homogeneous snow slope. Progress was easy and it was like climbing steps of a stairs but it was still nice to be in what looked rather than felt a winter environment.
|Looking down from the narrow upper section.|
|Soft and warm it may be but its still great to be here.|
Upon reaching the summit the cloud still hung about so there was no view to be enjoyed. I rested awhile and set off towards Maolan Bui or The Bone. This added a further 400 meters of ascent to the day as I had to go over Cnoc na Toinne and Cnoc na Cuillan before reaching the bone. It is fair to say that I was tired by the time I got there and the heavier boots and bag and perhaps my lack of good living etc were showing. I dropped easily down the long spur and back to my car. Perhaps the next mountain I will set foot on will be in Scotland.
|Back down enjoying spring sunshine. Benkeeragh still looking a bit wintry|