Monday, January 10, 2011

The Reeks January 9th

Regal Carrauntoohil

Beautiful ridge on Eastern Reeks

After driving 40miles on treacherous roads to walk with Killarney Mountaineering club I was disappointed to discover that the planned day out had changed due to the icy roads and they were settling for a quick up and down Purple mountain. Having overindulged in just about every way over Christmas I felt I needed a more substantial outing so I headed to the Reeks instead. The day was sunny and almost windless. Snow was lying to about 300mtrs and the prospect of a walk along the Reeks ridge was very appealing so I decided to head up Cnoc na Peiste and head across to Carrauntoohil. I put on the full winter gear and headed off from the car at about 11am. Once I started climbing I soon had to lose a layer but it felt good to be out and about again. There was not any great depth to the snow and the ground beneath was frozen so progress was reasonably rapid. The interminable slog up to the lake in Coum na Peista eventually passed and I reached more interesting ground at the ridge up to Cnoc na Peista.There was no real ice on the rocks and the snow was soft so there was no need to don crampons. All too soon the rocky section was over and I reached the summit.

Mixed ground on Cnoc na Peiste ridge
A little wispy cloud was clinging to the top but this only added to the atmospheric feel of the place. There was some evidence of cornicing and a little drifting but these were easily avoided and I progressed rapidly along the ridge. On a day such as this there are few finer places to be. The cloud lifted and the views in all directions were lovely. The biting breeze and the alpine scenery ensured that interest was constant. I also had the whole place to myself.  Eventually hunger made itself known and I had a quick lunch on the summit of Cnoc na Toinne. This is a lovely eerie slap bang in the middle of the Reeks ridge. Being A little lower than the rest the view back to Cnoc na Peiste, Maolan Bui and Cnoc na Cuillan and accross the Hags Glen towards Carrauntoohil and Beenkearach is magnificent and impressive.

View back from Cnoc na Toinne

View across to Beenkearach
 Rested and with hunger sated I headed down to the top of the Devils Ladder and started up the soul destroying 1000ft slog to the summit of Ireland. Just keeping the head down and keeping putting one foot in front of the other the top is eventually reached. The views are great but the presence of noisy others ensure I don't linger too long and I make my way down and head for Beenkearach. The ridge connecting the two mountains provides a lovely little scramble and is quite narrow and exposed in the early sections. These difficulties are easily bypassed along an exposed track on the eastern side. This, in the snowy conditions still kept me fully alert until all difficulties are past and I gambolled along the airy crest and wearily up to the summit of Ireland's second highest peak, at 1009mtrs a mere hundred feet lower than Carrauntoohil. The weather was changing so I headed down in the direction of Knockbrinnea straight away. The initial 400ft of descent was a pain as it was over boulders covered in snow. Progress was cautious to say the least yet I still managed to have a couple of semi controlled tumbles. Thereafter I made good time and eventually arrived back at Lisliebane and the car. All and all a good winters day out.

Carrauntoohil and the ridge.

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