Climb Carrauntoohil Howling Ridge was an idea that came to me thanks to Piaras Kelly, who runs www.kerryclimbing.ie We met briefly in September of 2014 at the Crows Head Crossing where once I found out he was a guide I asked him about multi pitch routes on Carrauntoohil Ireland’s highest mountain. He told me about Howling Ridge and the plan was made with John Houlihan and myself doing our first route together in almost thirty years.
Watch the Video Climb Carrauntoohil Howling Ridge
I had to ride my bike from Allihies to Kenmare with a rucksack to meet up with John and his camper van. We drove onto Kilarney and then to the car park at Lisleibane. We set off at 12:30 to walk into the start of the climb. Just before the start there is an emergency hut where we stopped for a bite to eat. We then scrambled up a groove called the “Heavenly Gates” where you arrive at the start of “Howling Ridge”. The climb is rated at V-Diff which would have been very easy for us back in the day. We had a little bit of looking around to find the start and then roped up for the climb which finishes just a few metres from the summit.
We had a thirty metre 10mm rope two lightweight harnesses and a small rack of gear, with some handy long slings. We wanted to carry as little as possible.
Climb Carrauntoohil Howling Ridge, most of the time we moved together Alpine style as we were both happy with the exposure and the difficulty of the climb. John lead maybe three sections with me belaying him, and then to his disgust I suggested once I reached him the third time that I would lead on through. He passed me his gear and I carried on doing the crux of the climb….
Saying that, as he came up I filmed him so he pretty much soloed it anyway. We made it to the summit of the mountain in an hour and thirty minutes. Both arriving at the highest point in Ireland together, also both for the first time. It was a beautiful day and we stayed there maybe thirty minutes talking to a few other people who had walked up.
I think the climb was a great way of getting to the top, and if you have a head for exposure is probably less tiring than walking up. Indeed I found the walk down “Brother O’Sheas” hard work on my knees and it took three hours from top to get back to the van.
If you fancy doing this climb but feel unsure of your expertise give Piaras Kelly a shout, look up his details at www.kerryclimbing.ie
Climb Carrauntoohil Howling Ridge
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