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
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