Monday, December 1, 2014

Howling Ridge VDiff on Carrauntoohil

Yesterday was the 30th of November, not that you'd have thought it as myself and Frank left the car park at Lisliebane in a beautiful calm sunny weather day. I had a bitch of a cold that had developed into a bit of a chest infection and I reckoned that a day out in the fresh air was just the ticket to try and shift it so I went with the redoubtable Frank for a day on the hills. We couldn't have wished for a more perfect day and with the promise of dry rock we decided to climb Howling Ridge VDiff on the east face of Carrauntoohil. It is always a pleasure to do this route and it places one in enviable mountain scenery. I was looking forward to it but with a degree of trepidation as I would have to wait and see how the body would react. I wasn't long finding out as I was quickly breathing hard and sweating, and that was just on the walk in. Frank was his usual patient self and we took our time and this allowed me to keep on an even keel and progress upwards. There were lots of people about, making the most of the beautiful day. We eventually arrived at the start of the route at the aptly named "Heavenly Gates" where we saw a party of five on the first pitch just above us. We were unencumbered by ropes and we climbed up and past them. I wasn't feeling the best and in my weakened state I was resolved to concentrate and take great care as it wouldn't be a forgiving place to make an error. The roped party were taking an inordinately long time to make progress and I questioned them as to whether they would have time to complete the route at the pace they were moving. They seemed to  take this on board and they mover more quickly after that. We progressed nicely upwards and all the while enjoyed the stunning views all about. All too soon the route ends and the steep slog to the summit is never fun but it was great to arrive at the sun kissed top, adorned once again by the imposing cross. This had been criminally cut down a week beforehand but the local community had rallied and re-erected it. Whatever ones thoughts on the religious side of things, for most people the cross was a symbol of a goal attained and offered a photo opportunity as proof of a great day out. Everyone on the summit that day seemed very pleased to have it restored and many were posing for photographs beside it. We enjoyed a nice bite to eat before continuing across the Benkeeragh Ridge and then down to our car. I was pretty wrecked by then but it had been a stellar day with views to match. Thanks Frank for another doozie.
Frank striding ahead

Cruach Mhor

It never fails to impress,,,Carauntoohil

The East Reeks

In the meat of it. Great rock fun

A slip would not be good. Frank having fun, I think!

Brocken Spectre

The final section of the ridge

Looking back down the final section


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Frank on the Benkeeragh Ridge

Great views

The Last Rays

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