Today it was the turn of Ray from Gorey and Rachel from Tralee to fully Experience the Adventure as we climbed the awesome Howling Ridge in absolutely perfect conditions.
The gang were never so up for it as we had postponed a previous date to climb it due to an unfavourable forecast, but today couldn’t have been better with scorching hot sun shine and fleeting light clouds increasing the atmospheric ambience of the whole thing!!!
We departed Cronin’s yard at around 10am after a relaxing mug of foamy coffee in their tea room and tipped away in the Hags Glen under no pressure as it felt we had the whole range to ourselves…I love getting into these mountains mid week as you manage to avoid the large numbers which frequent these hills come the weekend and at times you may only meet another half dozen or even less!!! Still made good time up to the Heavenly Gates considering our relaxed vibe and was surprised at the erosion on the final scramble up to the “Gates” with the large boulder which had for a few years anyway been wedged in the narrow gap of the “Gate” now resting instead half way down the steep scramble slope. Been pushed off intentionally I suspect by some well meaning individuals hoping it might clear off some of the looser boulders on its descent.
As we geared up and went through a few bits’n’bobs before commencing our climb we were joined at this lofty perch by another party of 2 Slovakian climbers who we had met already 100mtrs below at the Emergency hut. Here they had asked us for directions to the climb as they poured over their spread out 1:50000 map of the Reeks…. Glad we’d happened along I reckon!!!! We led off first and climbed easily and blissfully up this superb classic on bone dry warm rock at a nice easy pace, fully appreciating the views and stunning vistas across to the Eastern Reeks and beyond. We were in no rush or haste whatsoever and just wanted to savour every last moment on such a pleasing and remarkable day.
This was Rachels first ascent of Howling and Rays second after he’d had a very different ascent should we say in horrible testing conditions on a previous occasion and so we they were both keen to take it all in and just have the craic and enjoy it…..and so we did!!! We topped out to at approx 2 o clock and even had the summit to ourselves and so chilled for a while before we took the obligatory pics of the cross and headed on our descent to the Devils ladder…We arrived back in Cronin’s at around half 5 ish and finished off a perfect day with a nice cold can of 7up….Ah the simple pleasures!!! A truly Magnificent day in the majestic mountains of the Kingdom… Well back up Corrán Tuathail tomorrow guiding a group up the somewhat more gradual route of the Devil’s ladder…
Life is good…and so is the forecast 😉
Howling Ridge is a steep, well defined route which cuts up the north-east face of Carrauntoohil. It is graded V Diff in summer and goes at various grades in winter, depending on conditions.