I visited the reeks yesterday with a work colleague Mr James Moore. They are now sadly denuded of snow but still beautiful. We decided to do the Lough Googh horseshoe. this is a fairly short circuit but involves 1200mtrs of climbing and traverses the Cnoc na Peiste ridge. This is a very pleasant grade 1 scramble. It was James' first time doing this type of thing and he professed to enjoying himself. The day was dry and a bit windy so a good day on dry rock was had by all. We got back to the car and changed our clothes just before the heavens opened. Lucky or what????.
I went up the gully at the back of Coumeenmore to Cnoc na Cuillan yesterday. This was my first time here and it was a good experience. The bottom was not in condition but the top 200mtrs gave a very nice grade 1 outing. There are a few small steps on the lower half that were just about in condition and the upper half was a lovely wide gully which gave some nice exposure. The snow was icy and only the points of the crampons were biting in. The weather is set to get milder so perhaps this was the last chance to put the crampons on here for a while. From the top of Cuillan I went along the ridge to the devils ladder and then enjoyed the delightful slog up to Carrauntoohil. Down Curved Gully again and back to the car. Another good day.
I went up the "Lick" on Carrauntoohil yesterday. The "Lick" is an ice climb which starts at about 680mtrs and rises in a series of steps to about 950mtrs. It doesn't often come into condition but there was just enough there to give it a go. Tim Long joined me and suitably booted and suited we started up the climb at 11.30am. The bottom was banked out with snow but soon the climb proper started. I led the first section of about 30mtrs. This was very thin in the middle and nescessated a move onto the rock for about 7mtrs. There is practically no protection to be found here and the exposure is quite serious. The wind was very strong and communication at any distance was impossible so when I reached a snow bay Tim joined me. Axe belays were the order of the day and we decided to use the 20mtrs of rope which I had forgot to take out of my bag to complete the climb. This worked out perfectly as most of the remaining steps were of about 12 to 15 meters long. We made good progress and summitted at 2.15pm. The climbing was mostly on hard water ice and some of the bulges gave vertical steps of up to 7mtrs. All good stuff and a very nice grade 3 climb. A rapid descent of a nicely banked out Curved Gully finished off a fine day out. The cold weather is set to continue for the rest of the week so we shall see what that brings. One bummer was that neither of us thought to bring a camera and some dramatic shots went a begging. I took one with my phone from the bottom but whole climb looks flat. Still it will give the excuse to do it again.
The weather is great here at the moment. Frosty nights and sunny days with a real hint of spring. Yesterday was a good day on the reeks. I went up Curved Gully on nice neve to the top of Carrauntoohil and continued on to Cnoc na Peiste. All in all a lovely day. Its great to need crampons at this time of year.I'm hoping to do more intereasting stuff in the near future.