Monday, May 25, 2015

Mullaghanattin And Curve Gully Ridge..A Lovely Weekend

Just after leaving the car looking at the back of the round.
 On Saturday I went down to Mullaghanattin 773m with Frank. It had been a while since I was last here and it would be only Franks second visit. For years there have been access issues on the south side of the mountain and this has meant that I hadn't done the beautiful and very natural horseshoe that goes around "The Pocket" since 2003 so I reckoned that it was high time that I revisited this side. I collected my new La Sportiva Trango Cube boots at Kerry Outdoor Sports before we set off and this meant that it was 11.50 before we left the car. The day was warm (relatively speaking) and humid and there was some cloud clinging to the tops but on the plus side it promised to stay dry and we had gotten a couple of friendly salutes from some locals before we set off. We did the circuit in a counter clockwise direction so we had a steep 400 meter plus pull to our first top Cnoc Riabach. The broad ridge continues northwards from here but the going isn't easy as over the next couple of kilometers there were lots of little ups and downs. once the ridge reaches point 594 mtrs the ridge turns west and a steep 100 meter climb follows before the easier summits slopes are reached. Frank was moving well today and we caught up with and passed another group before the summit. Alas we were in the misty cloud but once we reached the top we enjoyed a relaxing bite to eat in the benign conditions.

Frank looking determined...or is it knackered.

Looking across towards Knockduff

The Pocket

Steep ground all around..Looking towards The Reeks
 We didn't tarry too long and we set off down before tackling the next three tops. This involved a further 270 meters of ascent to add to the more than 800 meters already done. We were once again under the cloud and we got handsome views to the north and west as we made our way along the pleasingly airy ridge. It was lovely and warm as we descended and the sun shone almost continuously. By the time we reached the valley things felt really quite warm but we were in great spirits and really enjoying the day. For sure it wont be too long before I go back to this, one of the finest horseshoe walks in Kerry. Thanks Frank.

Lough Reagh

Looking east across the round.

On Sunday I returned to Kerry with Denis O'Brien for an outing of a more technical nature,,,Curve Gully Ridge (Severe) on Carrauntoohil. This is my favorite route on the mountain as it is sufficiently interesting and difficult to feel like climbing it is an accomplishment and it has the added bonus of finishing almost at the summit. The last time I came here with Denis the rain had made the rock less than inviting and I backed off it at the start but today it was lovely and dry and a much more pleasant prospect. We made the long climb up to the start of the route and we were looking forward to the prospect. This would be Denis' first time on the route and he was really keen. He is an accomplished mountaineer who had climbed extensively in the Alps and among his summits are The Matterhorn, The Eiger and in South America --Aconcagua at almost 7000 meters. The cloud was again shrouding the summits but unlike yesterday there was a distinct chill in the air by the time we arrived at the rock.

Topo of the route
We donned out hardware and I set off up once we were ready. I always find the start of this route the trickiest but once I was established on the route we made good progress. Denis I believe really enjoyed it and is already looking to make a return visit. The route comprises of a series of steep sections with easier scrambly sections between. The crux of the route it near the top and provides a steep wall but the holds are excellent and protection is readily available. Once beyond this we moved together for the final steep but enjoyable fifty or so meters. We turned some heads on the crowded summit as we arrived with all the accoutrements of the climb dangling from us but we were delighted with the effort. A nice lunch and we returned to the valley via the Heavenly Gates. The coffee and cake in a busy Cronins Yard went down a treat. Well done Denis and I'm looking forward to our next outing.
Always a delight to see as we walked into the Hags Glen

Denis having a good time

Excellent fun in prospect.

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