Wednesday, December 21, 2016

THE RAMP ON THE BULL...CNOC NA d'TARBH

It is a bit flattened out here but this is the start of the route..looking up from the bridge
On Sunday myself and Frank went for a final blast of mountain air before Christmas to the Kerry mountains. A fine weather day was promised and tking advantage of it I decided to have a look at "The Ramp" on Cnoc na d'Tarbh or "The Bull" as it is often called. This is a seldom used route that makes its way up the very steep ground that rises from "Turnpike Rock" and the narrow skew bridge at the narrowest point of the Gap of Dunloe. Immediately after you cross the bridge you climb up the bouldery ground, initially to the left before turning right above a rock step and aiming for a wet notch on the right of a large black rock step and the route starts here.
You can't really see it but trust me there is a big drop on Franks right side

Back down into the Gap


Exit step

It is not really difficult but it is at times very exposed and there are a couple of places that lets just say I wouldn't like to have to reverse. The first of these is at the start where you climb the dry rock on the right of the wet notch on reasonable but not "bomber" holds before you reach the steep grassy ramp above. This is followed until the ramp narrows at a notch where the rock on the left is overhanging and to progress you have to hunker down into the notch and then step to the right (good holds) onto or over the exposed edge where a very large drop awaits a mistake. It is only a couple of moves but I dare say it is not for those of a nervous disposition and the feeling is relief when you are past this spot. Follow the ramp up to almost its end and then a short easy five meter rock step awaits on the left and you leave the ramp behind. It had been ten years or more since my one and only climb of this route and I had expected that there was only a long slog to the summit remaining but after the step the way seemed barred by further large bands of black slime covered rock with horrible looking gullies between them. We traversed to the left for a hundred meters and more but we seemed to be constantly foiled by these awkward steps and we were being pushed lower and lower so we turned back (reasoning that we had missed something) and soon we spotted a way up. It was still a bit awkward and Frank lost on of his poles down a hole but we got up and then all that remained was the slog to the 655mtr summit. We enjoyed a nice spot of lunch here before then climbing the nearby Cnoc an Bhráca 731mtrs. After that we "enjoyed" the long walk across the bog to Strickeen and descending along the track back to the valley floor before walking the three kilometers back to the car. It had been great to climb this route again, though it is certainly one to avoid when the rain arrives. All in all it had been a lovely and interesting day. Thanks Frank.👍 
Not a bad view from the summit

Suffering..more days out needed