There is a thin line between technical climbing and scrambling. Scrambling is defined as easy climbing requiring use of hands and feet but not usually ropes, belays and protection.
In other words it’s the bit between walking and climbing, or maybe it’s just easy climbing. But however you define it, scrambles are often the most exciting and interesting way up a mountain. The MacGillycuddys Reeks in Kerry have many wonderful and truly classic scrambles. The fantastic airy Binn Chaorach Ridge, The jagged Hags Tooth Ridge, Cummeenapeasta Ridge and Curved Gully on Corrán Tuathail along with the amazing Faha Ridge on Mount Brandon on the Dingle Peninsula. Through to lesser known routes, a good scramble’s a bit like adding chillies to your mountain day.
Whether you choose to have KerryClimbing guide you on one of these fantastic routes or you plan to take part in our Scrambling Skills course you are sure to be in for an excitingly wild exhilarating day!!!
Some of our top choices of scrambling routes :
An extremely Challenging graded route – 7+ hrs and 10km. Situated on the eastern side of Com Caillí/Hags Glen, these impressive jagged peaks are all just shy of the airy 1000 metre mark and possess a much wilder (and quieter) feel, away from the crowds and much busier well worn trails of Carrauntoohil.
This route affords breath-taking views of all of The Reeks and into The Black Valley and takes you along a spectacular knife edge ridge – a truly thrilling route! Requires a very good level of fitness, confidence on sheer rocky terrain and being comfortable with heights. Previous scrambling experience is recommended.
Stumpa an tSaimh (Hags Tooth) Ridge:
A fantastic scramble of 6.5 hrs + and 14km. This is a route for the more regular hill goer and takes in Irelands 2 highest mountains – Corrán Tuathail and Binn Chaorach. A high level of fitness is required gained from daily exercise. Being extremely competent, confident & comfortable with heights, sheer drops and being prepared to use your hands is essential as this route involves well over 1.5km of a steep airy jagged rock ridge.
Faha Ridge, Mt Brandon, Dingle Peninsula:
A sensational and ever interesting scramble with mind-blowing views throughout 5 ½ + hrs and approx. 9 km
In the whole of Ireland there is no place that has such a wealth of historical monuments, Gaelic culture, literature and spectacular rugged scenery than can be found on the Dingle Peninsula. Brandon is regarded by many as the finest mountain in Ireland and the massif forms a backbone to the peninsula. Views from here on a fine day (or even not so fine) will rival the best to be found anywhere in the world!!!
East Ridge, Brandon Peak, Dingle Peninsula:
Without doubt one of the very finest Scrambles in the whole of Ireland providing absolutely sublime climbing on utterly superb rock. Situated on the North of the beautiful Dingle Peninsula, the 3rd highest summit in the Brandon Massif is a wonderfully attractive peak, more prominent from many angles than its bigger neighbours.
A game of two halves, the precipitous pinnacle terminal nose leading to a more laid-back upper crest. The bulk of the sensational scrambling comes in a burst low down on the route, where sound rough Kerry sandstone, bird’s eye exposure and some exhilarating challenges provide an magnificent and winning combination. From the top it’s just a rough ridge walk, but still extremely airy and superb. A grassier descent via more sharp-edged ridges concludes this astounding and breath-taking horseshoe.
Scrambling Skills Courses
The intent of our Scrambling Skills Course is to give you the skills to safely climb the rockier peaks and routes and not put yourself at unnecessary risk. We will focus on the most important elements of scrambling safety: route finding, hazard assessment and movement skills on loose steep terrain and on snow and iced rock.
The course will focus on developing the movement and technical skills required for tackling scrambling type ground such as found on the main Reeks ridges, Crib Goch in North Wales and some of the classic Scottish ridges such as the Cuillin Ridge of Skye and Aonach Eagach of Glencoe.
To get the most out of this course you need to have extensive summer hill walking experience. Some experience of scrambling would be useful but is not essential.
Confident and competent movement skills are key to scrambling. This course will focus on developing these core & sound movement skills coupled with efficient route finding and the technical skills to tackle scrambling type terrain confidently and will be tailored to suit everyone’s experience and aspirations, enabling us to plan the programme to cover the following main topics:
- Ascending scrambling routes whilst developing safe and confident movement over rocky terrain.
- Basic rope work and belaying using the rope alone, sling and crab.
- Selecting natural rock anchors and their use.
- Personal abseiling with the rope alone.
- Route choice and route finding and assessing when to use a rope.
Note that more advanced rope use and technical aspects of mountaineering are not be covered on our Scrambling Skills Courses.