Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spring or Winter?? No Rockclimb on The Reeks

A surprisingly wintry summit of Carrauntoohil

Its fair to say that this weekend didn't go exactly to plan. A good forecast meant I was all set to head back to Mount Brandon on Saturday with the plan being to do a big old two day round with a bivy on the ridge overnight. So I got up and packed up all I needed for the trip and set off in good time. It was a lovely weather morning with a chill in the air but blue skies being the order of the day. All was going great until I was entering Tralee (45miles from home) and I started to get the uneasy feeling that I had forgotten to bring my boots. A quick stop and my fears were realized and I was left with no option but to turn around and head back home (my old pair of crocs just wouldn't have cut it). So I spent the remainder of the day catching up on some gardening duties at home and looked forward to heading to Carrauntoohil on Sunday with Denis with Curved Gully Ridge being the target.
A nice sunny rock climb he saud

Icy hard snow

Winter still hanging on in the gully

There had been a light frost overnight but the day promised to follow yesterdays example and be a beauty. We set off back in good spirits and were looking forward to the technical challenge that this route brings. It was something of a surprise then to arrive back at the mountains and see that above 700mtrs was looking a bit wintry and there had obviously been a fairly severe frost and maybe even some snow. Still we put everything we needed into the bags for our climb and set off into the Hags Glen. Our hopes of a sunny blue sky day were also quickly dashed as there was clearly some precipitation falling in the back of the glen. We made our way steadily up through the levels and as we got to the lake we even had some snow falling. We arrived at the base of the route and it was decidedly chilly and even though the rock was clear of snow and ice down here I wasn't over confident that that would be the case higher up. To make the decision easier it started to snow fairly heavily so we turned away from the climb and made our way over to Central Gully where we found that it was fairly complete with hard frozen snow which required several slicing kicks to make a small step so we could make progress. Soon the gully was behind us and we climbed to the summit and enjoyed a now sunny and calm top. We continued all the way to The Bone and descended back to our car. It had been an enjoyable outing despite the disappointment of not doing our route of choice. It is hard to be too down when you come home with a touch of sunburn and been in the midst of a beautiful landscape for the day. More great days lay ahead.
Out of the gully  and wonderful views


The Bone