Sunday, October 9, 2016

Curve Gully Ridge Carrauntoohil (Severe).

The route follows the red line

Today I went with Frank back to Carrauntoohil for a climb of Curve Gully Ridge (Severe) which is my favourite way up the mountain. A very foggy drive saw the dawn arrive clear over Killarney and by the time I was up at Lisliebane it was a beautiful morning. We set off into the Hags Glen yet again and climbed up the three levels of Coumeenaughter until we reached the base of the climb. Most of the time this shaded spot means that the rock can have a slippery slimy feel but not today. Right from the get go the rock felt super grippy and secure and I was immediately relishing it and enjoying the climb. The first seven or eight meters passed quickly and I scrambled up for another twenty or so to a nice belay...we were off.
A super morning

Frank looking fit and keen

Looking back from the second level

Pitch two has a tricky unbalancing step not far into it but once above that it is a scramble again for another twenty meters until you reach a steep wall. Now there follows a superb thirty meter plus pitch of excellent quality climbing. Sustained and varied and full of interest and all in an airy exposed setting. No wind and warm(ish) rock meant it was a pure pleasure to be out and about. Lots of people were to be seen down below as they made their way up O'Sheas Gully and no doubt we made an interesting sight on the rock high above. On previous outings up this route I have favoured a slightly meandering route on this pitch but today I took a pure direct line on the crest of the rock and it was just sublime. I was buzzing by the time I was at the belay and there was more to come. The almost 40mtrs that followed contained the "crux" of the route and again offered wonderful sport. Again a direct line up the steepest of the rock was taken and good gear and juggy holds on the overhanging exit meant once again I was buzzing at the belay.
Lovely rock

Frank half way up pitch 2

Pitch 4

Nice and narrow in places

So after four pitches we were past the difficulties and a lovely steep scramble allowed us to move together to the top. Another great thing about this climb is that it finishes practically at the summit which in such wonderful weather was quite crowded. A well deserved lunch and rest allowed us to enjoy the views and as we set off down I was delighted to run into Tim Long and Jimmy Laide. Tim and myself have a long history and we have had many a great day out in the past. Some things never change and our greeting went something like this.."tiz great to see you-you auld bollocks" (me) to which the reply was.."and you too you prick". Twas like putting on a comfortable old overcoat...I came over all warm inside. It was however a surprise to see him out and about as it is only five weeks since he had knee surgery. One tough cookie. We continued on our way down the Heavenly Gates and back to the car. New plans are afoot. Thanks Frank. Twas great.
Great day to be on the summit

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