Monday, February 13, 2012

Curve Gully Ridge, Carrauntoohil

Debonair Scotsman

Majestic Reeks

Frank leading into the tough section
Frank and myself went to Carrauntoohil on Sunday to have a look at Curve Gully Ridge. The morning was a little cloudy but showed promise and we were hopeful that the rock wouldn't be too greasy to climb. Franks fitness is coming on in leaps and bounds and he covered large steep uphill slogs in good form. Anyway as we rose higher so did the cloud and by the time we arrived at the base of the route the day was very pleasant. The rock didn't look too bad either so after we had a bite of lunch we suited and booted we set off. The route as the name suggests forms the right edge of the second half of Curve Gully. It rises steeply in a series of steps and provides nice sustained climbing of moderate standard with a few short sections of severe. The route is about 150meters long and finishes adjacent to the summit.
The Hags Tooth
Steep but good grippy rock
Lots of easy belays
Typical climbing

People on the Beenkerach Ridge
I led up the first pitch which presented no great difficulty. The one thing about the route is how much loose rock there is so great care has to be taken so as to avoid dislodging blocks down on those below. There are plenty good belays to be found and I quickly set up a spike belay. As the day was a bit chilly I was climbing in light gloves and I managed to fumble and drop my belay device so I had to use the Italian hitch for the rest of the route which worked very well. Frank easily followed and set off up the next section. After about 40ft he came to a steep section which is normally turned on the right but Frank being the epitome of a Scottish Braveheart ignored the easy option and went in some style up and over the direct and I suspect true route. Anyway I followed and when I came to the said section I was well impressed with what was a fine lead. We made good progress and pitched the difficult sections and moved together on others. Lest I be too kind to Frank he too dropped his belay device, but in the end of the day in made no difference and we arrived at the summit in great spirits. Down O'Sheas gully and a quick traverse across to the base of the route and I found my device. Another great day and plans afoot for more exploration of the rocks in the neighbouring vicinity.
My best side
I'm not standing on a rock...honest

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mangerton North

Frank and me went to Mangerton North again today to have a look at the buttress that rises steeply in a series of steps to just below the summit. We walked past it two weeks ago and we thought it looked very promising. It would only offer three or so short pitches but we are going to try and explore more rock climbs this year and this seemed like a good start. We climbed up an easy gully from the Horses Glen and traversed from the top to the buttress. We were very disappointed to discover that the rock was covered in a layer of mouldy slime that made it desperately treacherous. We decided against the first section and we went around it and thereafter had a look at each section in the hope of finding anything climbable. Alas it was not to be and the faint mist that accompanied us from the car was fast turning to a heavy drizzle that made conditions even worse. We completed our walk on the top of Mangerton and descended the tourist track back to the car.

A very promising looking piece of rock
Despondant or wha
 When we were about three quarters of the way down we came four people, one of whom had twisted her ankle and was unable to put any weight on it. The mountain rescue had been called. Frank and I put her sitting on a couple of walking poles and she placed her arms around our shoulders. We carried her down a few hundred meters when the rescue service called back and informed us that a full rescue had been initiated and they would prefer that the casualty was left where she was and that they would deal with it. It would have been tiring but I feel that we would have got her down ourselves and perhaps just a few bodies to offer a helping hand would have been sufficient. Still I hope she is all right. Anyway we are resolved to return to the buttress later in the year when the weather is dry and warm.