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“This mountain is too big!”

… said no one ever about any Irish mountain. Carrauntoohil standing 1038m tall was the ‘main event’ of our most recent trip. And so last weekend, Sonja, Padraic, Monika and I headed over to Kerry.

The plan was simple – leave Dublin on Friday early afternoon, setup a ‘base camp’ at Cronin’s Yard and head over to the top of Ireland’s highest peak via the Howling Ridge route.

From 2016-04-Kerry

Cronin’s Yard is a nice campsite, with a Tea Room, showers and even some cabins, if a tent is not your thing!

It’s main feature – it’s a starting point of many Macgillycuddy’s Reeks hikes/climbs. In short – if you are interested in glamping – that’s your spot!
We got there early and got welcomed by John Cronin himself and some of his best friends:

From 2016-04-Kerry

 

Glamping in its full glory!

From 2016-04-Kerry

 

This trip was also a testing ground for couple of new things – 2 of them are seen on the below photo – New Lidl branded tent, and a new ride. Our 17 years old Vectra got finally retired after 10 years of taking us to Irish places.

Both, the tent and the car worked out great.

From 2016-04-Kerry

 

Saturday morning: We packed the gear (40m ropes, some trad gear, loads of slings) and set off not that early – around 10am, with a goal of getting to the top and back safely. The hike up to the base of the mountain was pretty nice. Weather was amazing, blue sky and all of that (not a single drop of rain!).

From 2016-04-Kerry
From 2016-04-Kerry

It was earlier decided to split into 2 pairs, rope up and move together when possible. It was rather new experience for all (but Padraic) involved, but conditions and terrain were ideal for this kind of stuff.

From 2016-04-Kerry

 

After a short while it was rather obvious that more experienced Irish-German team will outpace us. They did however wait for us at some more comfortable spots.

From 2016-04-Kerry

 

Another pro of Sonja and P going ahead of us was the fact that they could take amazing photos of us from above:

From 2016-04-Kerry

On the downside however, it meant that they did waste probably 2h just waiting for us.

Eventually we all made it to the top together:

From 2016-04-Kerry

 

After a quick snack & discussion about the descent route – our expedition leader – Sonja – suggested Bro O’Shea’s Gulley as a means of getting down.

From 2016-04-Kerry

It was a nice walk, with some scrambling elements. Nothing Serious.

The whole thing – door to door took just over 9h – but as I said before – it wasn’t a race, and the weather definitely allowed for easy pace.

From 2016-04-Kerry

Upon return, more glamping!

From 2016-04-Kerry

 

And some closer interactions with of our fellow campers:

From 2016-04-Kerry

 

The following day was much colder and not so nice anymore. Short drive to the Gap, and couple of roadside HS/VS climbs at Brennan’s Leap:

From 2016-04-Kerry
From 2016-04-Kerry

At that point it started to rain, and it was rather clear that the weather wont get any better…

I’ve decided to cut the loses and just drive home. The guys were planning on staying extra day – and finish the Sunday with few more climbs at Bothán crag. The crag is clearly visible from the bridge on the left.

The full guide to all the climbing in the Gap of Dunloe can be found here: http://wiki.climbing.ie/index.php/Gap_Of_Dunloe

I was home by 7pm (after stopping for a brief visit at my sister’s ).

Monika was home 24h later. The weather in Kerry on Monday was even worse than on Sunday, so they made a call to pack it up early, hit the road and stop in Kilkenny for some classic Irish Sports Climbing.

From 2016-04-Kerry

If I’m not mistaken Ballykeefe Quarry   is the only real outdoors bolted place in Ireland.

To summarize – it was an excellent trip – with fantastic group of friends. Hopefully we can keep it up and visit even more places (come on Fair Head!) with even more friends (looking at you Del!)

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my travels

Everybody knows…

…that there isn’t too many sun days in Dublin in April, so when they do come (more often than not in the middle of the week), one wants to go out and spend that time outdoors.

Dalkey is the most obvious choice, and to fully enjoy the sun – we usually go to the Street Fighter Area. That’s exactly what Monika, Andrew and I did today.

The plan was simple – stay in the sun as long as possible.

We started with Street Fighter, VS 4c. It kind of feels nice when I can warm up on stuff that 2 years ago was beyond my leading ability.

From climbing random

To maintain the sunny exposure I’ve set up a top-rope one Erewhon, E2, 5c. This 10m route is excellent. I love it. It’s a pity it’s so poorly protected – you can maybe put 1 tricam into borehole mid way through and even that probably will not hold, hence leading it is rather not something I’d be ever doing.

From climbing random

We gave it couple of goes. I found it enjoyable, mainly due to the co-op approach we’ve taken to figure out all the moves. We’ve eventually got all them discovered, however some will have to come back to actually connect them in one go.

From climbing random

After that there was still good 45 mins left on the clock, so we quickly moved up to the Eliminates wall and I led again the UP SLIDE DOWN, VS 4c. I feel though I kind of cheated, by taking Eliminate B Dash line on the unprotected bottom part…

Monika & Andrew quickly run it up  with no issues. Looks like it’s a lead time next time!

From climbing random

The weather was absolutely amazing and we were all very happy spending this evening outdoors!

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More Dalkey

Weather forecast for today didn’t look particularly good. Max of 10C, no rain, moderate west breeze. Since the quarry is so close to where we live, it’s no brainer for us to go and have a look – worst case scenario – we’ll just pack up and go to The Wall.

So I’ve sent few invites to my regular partners but got mostly ignored (can’t blame then, I would’t be going my self, if not the fact that I can actually see the top of Killiney Hill from my kitchen window). Louis was the only one who was more than happy to join us.

We’ve agreed to meet at 12.30 and do some routes. It’d be a season opening for him – and only 2nd time outdoors on the rock for me – so we’d keep it moderate.

The place was actually packed – mostly due to the fact that IMC just started their annual new members programme, attracting some 50 new bodies – and they were mostly all out today ‘occupying’ almost all popular climbs. This is actually a great thing, as there is nothing better than loads of happy faces (most of them who never climbed real rock before) going at some of the quarry’s best classics.

From climbing random

However we were first to the Eliminates area of the East Valley starting out with some warm-up routes.
Eliminate A (VD) – I lead – Louis and Monika followed.

From climbing random

and

Eliminate B Dash (VD) – Louis lead, Monika and I followed.

From climbing random

 

In the process we run to some familiar faces – Peter Wood showed up with some new members, as well as Conor O’Connor, among others.

It was getting busy, so we decided to do one last route in that area – a rather intimidating (first protection is at some 9-10m) Up Slide Run (VS, 4c)

I never lead that one before, only seconding it once last season – so it was rather good feeling to have it ticked off now.

From climbing random

We moved to the West Valley, and as expected it was even busier there. We run into Sinead Rickerby ( I thought Yosemite climbers don’t do Dalkey), who was showing how it’s done on Jameson 10 (VS, 4b).

From climbing random

We walked around for a bit, until Louis spotted his old nemesis – Dirty Dick – a VS 4b) ‘2 moves wonder’ which defeated him last season. There could be only one decision – we go for it!

Fist jamming on Dirty Dick, VS, 4b.

From climbing random

Thing to note – Use Blue, not Yellow cam to protect the top. Yellow will just walk out and slide down the rope, as seen on below photo.

From climbing random

It got quite chilly, luckily Louis didn’t take long and the route was quickly conquered and added to the list of things we never do again. 😉