Friday, January 21, 2011

A winters night camp on Mangerton.

On Wednsday afternoon I on impulse decided to head to Mangerton in Kerry and since I was meeting Frank Kluzniac the following day I decided that an overnight camp was in order. There was a full moon and frosty air as I set off from home at seven in the evening. I was on the trail by eight . It was a beautiful still night and everything was aglow in milky moonlight. I didn't need a torch and as my bag wasn't too heavy I made good progress upward

s, stopping occasionally to try to capture the otherworldly beauty that was all around. As I rounded the bulk of Mangerton North there appeared a stiff breeze. As I progressed higher this strengthened to strong wind. I continued on up to near the summit plateau trying to find a spot out of the wind where I could pitch my tent. I spotted a level area which was somewhat sheltered and proceeded to try and erect the tent. The wind was still catching it an eventually I admited defeat and returned to the Devils Punchbowl where I found a more sheltered spot.

The tent went up quickly and after preparing myself a hot drink and taking a few more photos I settled down for the night. A long cold noisy night followed. Though I was snug enough the wind was still causing the tent to flap about. I read for a bit but then settled and tried to get some sleep. Despite all I was pleasently surprised that I slept for several hours until 5.30. A call of nature gave me the oppertunity to once again enjoy the views and I quickly retreated into my nest. Sleep returned and I woke again at 8.30. A quick decamp and return to the car gave little time to savour the stunning anpenglow of the first rays of sun hitting the Reeks. A breakfast of porridge and soup and bread and I just arrived in Killarney to meet Frank at the appointed time.

Frank and I headed to the Reeks for a climb of Carrauntoohil via Curve Gully. The biting wind was again in evidence as we left the the car. All snow has dissappeared from the mountains but they are still a joy to behold. Time passed quickly in Franks company and we made good progress up and into the gully. A little ice was in evidence afrer the recent frosts but it will be some time before any ice climbing is seen on Carrauntoohil. Curve is normally full of loose stone and can be awkward to scramble up. Today it was nicely frozen and easy to ascend. There is considerable evidence of rockfall and slippage to be seen after the severe cold period of the early winter. A couple of small nevé patches high up was all that remained of the snows. We had a nice lunch on top and we passed the Devils Ladder and descended the Zig Zags back to the Hags Glen. We parted with the promise to head out again soon.
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