Wednesday, September 15, 2010


One of my goals of the Ireland/U.K. trip was to take a shot at the highest point in Ireland...Carrauntoohil.  At 3,414' it doesn't sound to bad, but I was not lulled into a false sense of security with the relative "lowness" of this mountain.  Weather, lack of trails, and some scary steep stuff would make this a big challenge.

Looking up the bowl I'd climb
The DRC group dropped me off above Glencar and planned on meeting back in town (at the pub) some 4-4.5 hours later.  I had a pack with plenty of gear and headed off up the "concrete road".  The first steep pitch was not bad and soon I was climbing  at a nice even run and feeling great.

My planned route is called the Black Mare ascent and it is called the "safe route to the summit".  The first check mark was crossing the stream at 442 meters.  I had a little trouble finding a good crossing point but not much time was lost.  I'd made it up from 185m to 442m in 19:34.

At the lake shore
Now there was no visible path as I made my way aroudn Loch Com Lothair and Loguh Eagher.  I made it to the base of the Black Mare ascent in another 34:35 (total time now 54:59). 

Looking back just as I start the big climb
The weather began to worsen as I shifted from running to climbing and climbing to hand over hand scrambling.  I was checking the map a lot and starting to get worried.  I was not 100% sure of which gully to ascend and started to think I might get stuck below a cliff with no way down (it was very steep at this point).  With just under 200m of climb (670') to go to the summit and maybe only 400m of distance I decided it was best to retreat while I still could.  The weather really closed in by then and I think I made the right choice.  I turned at 1:33:45.

Looking back on my ascent
I was back down to lake level in another 32:50, then made my way around the lakes running easily in the howling wind and sometimes pouring rain.  The stream crossing was a bit tougher as the water had risen, but I managed it okay.

At my highest
The rest of the run down the hill was pretty easy jogging on the concrete road and then a long (37:59) run down from the trailhead to Glencar.  I was a bit disappointed about not reaching my objective but did get in some fun climbing/running and some excellent views.  All in all a day of over 3:45 over running/hiking in the highlands of Ireland was well worth it.  Maybe I'll be a bit luckier in my next mountain attempt....
Looking up at the top and deciding to turn around

This is what the bowl looked like on my way out.

1 comment:

pbazanchuk said...

Climate there looks just like New England. A little less green and a little more brown and I'd have thought it was the White Mts.
Looks like some good mtn. running to be had there.