“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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Upon return, more glamping!

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And some closer interactions with of our fellow campers:

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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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