Reeks Winter Conditions Update
There is very little information regarding the current Irish mountain winter conditions on the internet. We have made an effort to rectify this by providing our Reeks Winter Conditions Updates. As we live, work and play in Ireland’s highest mountains, the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks of county Kerry, we are ideally placed as a means of information regarding route conditions and current weather on the ground. These updates though very helpful & useful, should not be taken as totally reliable. Conditions can and do change extremely rapidly and may change overnight so a latest weather forecast is important. Of course opinions about quality will always vary according to the enthusiasm of the individual.
02/03/17 Updated at 10:00
Further update as footnote at 20:00 on 03/03/17
Current Observations :
Another very cold day in the mountains with strong winds & almost persistent precipitation falling as snow down to approx. elevation of 800m and rain below this. Snow level at approx. 750m but extremely soft covering below 850m. Freeze level at approx. 880m. Most recent falls are of graupel >> and hence making any exertion extremely tough and arduous. Turf only frozen above 900m approx. and only where exposed, on N/NE facing aspects and not insulated by covering of snow.
Coimín Íochtarach/1st level: Very thin layer of slushy snow
Coimín Láir/2nd level: Decent covering but extremely soft.
Coimín Uachtarach/3rd level: Good covering of snow but extremely soft and unconsolidated.
Gullies from Coimin Uachtarach/3rd level:
O’Sheas: Contains snow for its entirety but thin, soft and unconsolidated.
Curve & Central: Containing snow for entirety. Bottom narrow cleft leading from Coimín Láir/2nd level is banked out with soft and unconsolidated polystyrene beads like – “graupel”>> type snow, making the going tough and exhausting. Soft and unconsolidated/extremely thin in places and only freezing above 900m approx. Extreme care needed as slight possibility of puncturing through to under flowing watercourse. Avalanche risk – Low
Main High Ridges : Ridges of Binn Chaorach – Corran Tuathail – Cathair, and Cruach Mhór – Cnoc na Péiste now have a decent covering of snow with rime slowly beginning to build especially on northern/northeastern aspects and where exposed to wind and looking truly wintry & superb. Traverse of these is sure to provide a hugely rewarding and satisfying outing and will definitely not disappoint. Coomloughra horseshoe would be a truly sensational outing.
Ice Routes: Left wall/Left face direct of Curve gully has its normal cascades of ice form impressively and this would already provide a nice alternative of grade III ice climbing for those with the relevant skills wishing to avoid the main gully and ice screws definitely required for this.
Today we climbed Curve Gully and descended via The Devil’s ladder which provided welcome shelter from the sandblasting hail and sleet from the South West, No ice whatsoever in the Devil’s Ladder which made the descent straightforward but slushy snow in its top 30m.
Latest Update at 20:00 0n 03/03/17
Outlook : Tonight there will be further rain, heavy at times, with the risk of flooding. Cold with lowest temperatures of 3 to 5 degrees in moderate to fresh northerly winds. Expect this precipitation to be of sleet and snow in the mountains
Saturday will be cold and breezy with rain, heavy at times. Highest temperatures of 7 to 9 degrees. In the south-west the rain will ease during the afternoon , with some bright spells developing in the late-afternoon or evening. Winds will be moderate to fresh, locally strong and gusty north-westerly.
Current Conditions at 100m: Currently 5°, calm with a very slight breeze, overcast skies and light rain.
Please note that Walkers and climbers are advised to stay away from all steep ground in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks unless they are experienced in winter mountaineering and are fully equipped for extreme winter conditions. The Devil’s Ladder and O’Sheas Gully ARE considered “steep ground”!!! Crampons & Ice axe and the knowledge of how to use them are a mandatory and essential part of standard kit in snow and icy conditions. Do NOT try venturing into the mountains without them!