Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winter Wildcamp on The Reeks

The light was almost gone by the time I had my tent up
On the spur of the moment I decided to head to the Reeks and spend a night high up in the hope of enjoying a spectacular sunset and sunrise as well as watching the full moon rise over the mountains. The weather is cold just now with polar air streaming down from the north. I was also hopeful of seeing some ice starting to form on Carrauntoohil with the prospect of using my ice axes towards the weekend. It was therefore with some disappointment that I saw a cap of cloud atop the mountains. There was also a stiff breeze blowing so it seemed that the crisp frosty night I had hoped for wouldn't materialize. Ah well I was there now so I headed up anyway. I left the car at two pm and set off in the Hags Glen. I decided to head for the col between Knockbrennia and Benkeeragh. This is at 830mtrs and has the advantage of a water source nearby. I arrived in good at around 15.45. I dropped my rucksack and set off looking for a good site on which to make my home for the night. I wandered about for a bit and finally found a spot. I then set off to retrieve my bag and spent an increasingly frantic twenty minutes looking for it among the rocks. What a silly pillock. Anyway I eventually found it in the gathering gloom and pitched my tent. By the time I was set up the light was almost gone so any possibility of pictures was also gone. I settled down for the night, cozy in my tent and well sheltered from the strong biting wind.

 I was hopeful that the promised frosty weather would arrive before the morning and a nice sunrise could be enjoyed. Alas that too failed to arrive and I woke to the same conditions as when I went to bed. I was above the freezing level and the tent had a coating of ice when I emerged. After a quick breakfast I decided to head over Benkeeragh and go to the top of Carrauntoohil  even though there wasn't a view to be had. So, after carefully crossing the icy ridge, I arrived at a wintry summit. The sun was trying vainly to break through and I opted to descend via the Heavenly Gates. This gives one the best views of the great ridges that soar up the east side of the mountain. When I reached the valley floor the sun was winning the battle and the tops were occasionally in view. I was a little disappointed but at least it was a mountain experience and it gives me the excuse to return another time for another try.

A clearing on the way
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