Monday, December 14, 2015

The Andy Kirkpatrick Show and A Climb On The Reeks

After the delights of a sunny day on Friday the weather were back to its dismal wet norm on Saturday. There was however one thing to brighten the day...I was heading back to Killarney to see the "Cold Mountain" talk given by the famous "hard core" mountaineer Andy Kirkpatrick. He is a guy that seems to specialize in extreme cold big wall climbing and this talk was about his trip to Antarctica last year. He is a funny self deprecating guy whose talks tend to vary from the account of his latest adventure to the stories that make him who he is. This one was no exception and covered both the expedition and his personal "issues" and problems. Sometimes his brutal honesty was a bit uncomfortable to listen to but he didn't let it spoil the overall comedic content of the show. Personally I wish he would give a deeper nuts and bolts insight into the difficulties and complexities of climbing these big walls in full winter gear but it was still a very enjoyable evening. It was a little disappointing  to see such a small attendance but perhaps the awful weather had played a part in that. I did however win a Thermarest mattress in the raffle..Happy days

Andy Kirkpatrick on the summit of Ulvertanna in the Antarctic.

 That took care of Saturday and as I stayed in a Killarney B&B overnight I was able to meet Denis O'Brien on Sunday morning in town and we headed to The Reeks for a bit of a burnout. Denis is a very fit climber and I knew there would be a good workout to be had today. Unfortunately I awoke to the joys of a stuffed up head and basically aches and pains all over which put a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm but I reckoned that once I was out in the open air I would feel better and so it proved to be the case. There was a good improvement in the weather in the sense that it was merely overcast but not raining as we set off from Cronins Yard. Anything like a ridge or gully was out of the question so we opted to climb Brother O'Sheas and head from Carrauntoohil over to "The Bone". That would give around fifteen kilometers and 1300 meters of climbing so it would be a worthy outing. I was pleased to find that I was feeling much better once I got going and we set a good pace all the way to the top of the mountain. The wind was a good fifty miles an hour here and the high traverse all the way to the bone promised to be invigorating. We didn't tarry and made rapid progress the whole way. No views were to be had but the company was good and it was great to hear Denis' enthusiasm and plans for his trip to climb Ama Dablam next year. We made it back to the car in five hours flat and it was now I found myself very weary. An early night ensued.
Denis O'Brien

Looking back out over the first level

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