30 April 2010

Company Adventure Challenge, Killarney

Upcoming Adventure Trips in Killarney

Guided Climb of Carrauntoohil - €75
Sat 1st May
Sat 15th May
Sat 5th June

Carrauntoohil Night Climb - €85
Sun 20th June

Climbing for Girls - from €50
Sat 1st May
Sun 2nd May

Kayak Trip (Half Day) - €50
Sun 6th June
Tues 15th June

Kayak Trip (Full Day) - €75
Fri 14th May

Mountain Skills 2 - €160
Sat 15th & Sun 16th May

Learn to Rock Climb - €160
Sat 22nd & Sun 23rd May
Sat 12th & Sun 13th June

Learn to Kayak - €160
Sat 29th & Sun 30th May

Full Moon Kayak Trip - €75
Sat 29th May

Singles Adventure Weekend (Men Wanted) - €295
Sat 26th 7 Sun 27th June

Mountain Skills 1 - €165
Sat 3rd & Sun 4th July

29 April 2010

Festivals & Cultural Events in Kerry & Cork

Upcoming Festivals & Cultural Events

Why not combine some cultural fun with your adventure this summer, to make a great short break in the South West of Ireland!?

We'll provide the adventure, whatever your level and interest!

For culture and festivals, here's some suggestions...
Féile Na Bealtaine: Dingle/An Daingean: 27 Apr – 03 May www.feilenabealtaine.ie
Ballydehob Jazz Festival: Ballydehob: 30 Apr – 03 May www.ballydehobjazzfestival.org
Baltimore Fiddle Fair: Baltimore: 06 - 09 May www.fiddlefair.com
Listowel Writers' Week: Listowel: 02 – 06 Jun www.writersweek.ie
World Bodhrán Championships: Milltown: 04 – 07 Jun www.worldbodhranchampionships.com
West Cork Literary Festival: Bantry: 04 – 10 July www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie
Killarney Summerfest: Killarney: 16 Jul – 01 Aug www.killarneysummerfest.com
Puck Fair: Killorglin: 10 – 12 Aug www.puckfair.ie
Rose of Tralee: Tralee: 20 – 24 Aug www.roseoftralee.ie
Kerry Film Festival: Tralee: 30 Oct – 06 Nov www.kerryfilmfestival.com

As the summer is our busy period, book early to avoid disappointment.

We'll be happy to discuss options with you, including suggestions of places to stay, eat and drink!

24 April 2010

Learning The Ropes

These are some ideas when it comes to setting up a top rope climb.
The system I'm describing also transfers directly across to the system you would set up if you were lead climbing and had reached the top of your climb.
This blog isn't suitable to read and then put into practice, but rather to read as a back up after having done one of our training courses, or learnt from experienced climbers. It would be highly dangerous to use this blog as an instruction manual without the right training.

1. Be fully geared up well in advance of approaching your set up area.
2. While setting up, face towards the cliff as much as possible, to avoid the possibility of stepping backwards over the edge.

3. Flake out your rope neatly, to the side of your set up area, with both ends clearly visible.
4. Tie into your rope with a re-threaded figure of eight and stopper knot. Once tied, double check your harness is fully fastened!
5. With your back momentarily to the climb, face the back of the set up area and establish a 45 degree angled area for a 'set up zone' where you will look for anchors.
6. Always work with three excellent anchors. If in doubt with one of your anchors, take as much time as you need to find the right ones.

7. The crabs on each anchor should have their wide ends pointing towards the climb and have their screw-gates pointing towards the sky.
8. Take the rope leading from your harness and drop it into the left crab. Screw up the crab.
9. Move towards the climb, allowing the rope to run through your hands. The section of rope moving through your hands towards the crab, you need to clove hitch onto your rope loop with a large crab. Make sure you're clove hitching onto your rope loop and not your harness loop/abseil loop.

10. For a second time, take the rope leading from your harness and drop it into the middle crab. Screw up the crab.
11. Move towards the climb, allowing the rope to run through your hands. The section of rope moving through your hands towards the crab, you need to clove hitch onto your rope loop, with the same large crab. Now screw up this crab also.
12. Although you may feel safe with two anchors clipped onto you, trust and depend on nothing until you have all three anchors clipped onto your rope loop.
13. For a third time, take the rope leading from your harness and drop it into the right crab. Screw up the crab.
14. While you're back at the anchors, check all anchors are still excellent and check the crabs are screwed up.
15. Move towards the climb, allowing the rope to run through your hands. The section of rope moving through your hands towards the crab, you need to clove hitch onto your rope loop, with a separate crab to the first one you used for your clove hitches.
16. You should now be connected to three separate, independent anchors and unable to move anywhere.

17. Sit down at full extension of your rope loops, directly above the climb.
18. You should be one metre away from your climb right now, however the end result needs to be you sitting directly on top of the climb, able to look down the climb and talk to the climber below you. This means you need to, one by one, starting with the last clove hitch you tied, feed slack rope through each clove hitch, allowing you to shuffle forward on your bum until you're in the ideal position.
19. You need to be sitting properly on the ground. Each rope loop behind you needs to be very tight and all three of them need to be equally tensioned. This will take some time to get right.
20. Stop and check; are your anchors still excellent; are your crabs screwed up? are your rope anchor loops equally tensioned; is your harness and rope loop correct; are your clove hitches tightened?
21. Flake what's remaining of your free rope into a small pile beside you.
22. Throw the free end of the rope down the climb to your climber; who will tie into the end of the rope.

23. Put your climber onto belay, which also clips onto your rope loop, on it's own crab. Set up the belay plate so that as you belay you can pass the dead rope out and behind you easily. You should also be able to lock off easily if you need to.
24. Your climbing calls need to be clear and are as follows:
Climber to Belayer: 'Take In'
Climber to Belayer: That's Me'
Belayer to Climber: 'Climb When Ready'
Climber to Belayer: 'Climbing'
25. The rope between belayer and climber needs to be taut at all times, so as belayer you may need to ask your climber to slow their climbing, or even pause for a moment, so you can keep on top of your belaying. Having a slack rope between the two of you is dangerous.
26. Once your climber reaches the top of the climb, get them to move, still on belay, to a safe haven, well back from the cliff and the ropes.
27. Only when you have checked with your climber, and double checked, can you take them off belay. Once you do take them off belay, let them know again that they're off belay.
28. When you're finished with the climb, you can stand up, still connected to all anchors, and move back a safe distance from the cliff.
29. In the reverse order to how you set up the ropes, begin un-clipping the ropes from you and your anchors. Each time you finish with a crab or anchor take if off/out and put it onto a gear loop of your harness, so you lose nothing.
30. As you release slack rope from the system you had set up, your climber can flake the slack rope across to them, keeping it out of your way.

23 April 2010

Cliff Hanging Girls

Did you know that proper rock climbing is actually more about technique and balance, rather than strength and brute force?

‘I’m often hearing feedback from people that rock climbing is dangerous and difficult and really only for guys’ says Nathan Kingerlee, of Outdoors Ireland, ‘but that’s definitely untrue. Movies like Cliffhanger don’t help with this misconception! Rock climbing is very much about balance and being graceful, with some of the best climbers being female.’

Whereas guys can rely on their strength to pull themselves up cliffs, women usually stop and think about what they’re doing and plan how they’re going to make the next move. Unfortunately a lot of women who would like to try climbing don’t know this, or are put off by misconceptions, or worried about being under pressure surrounded by guys.

To this end Outdoors Ireland have organized a weekend’s rock climbing just for women, where they can try it out and learn the ropes, with no guys around, so no need to feel under pressure.

‘We’re calling it Climbing for Girls and it will be a chance for any interested women, of all and any ability, to come and try it in the Gap of Dunloe, with friendly support, small groups and plenty of fun!’ says Kingerlee.

There will be a mixture of easy rock climbs to try and then harder climbs for anyone looking to push themselves.

All Equipment Provided
Half-Days & Full-Days Available
Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd May
Price From €50
Pre-Booking Essental
For more details contact:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63.

22 April 2010

Team Building

Team Building in Cork last week, in association with UCC and Enterprise Ireland. Thanks everyone for a great day!

18 April 2010

May Killarney Adventure

This May Bank Holiday Weekend try something a little different!

Choose from standing on top of Ireland's highest mountain, exploring caves by kayak in the Lakes of Killarney, rock climbing on sandstone cliffs in the Gap of Dunloe, a weekend of rock climbing just for women, or a full moon kayak trip.

Climb Carrauntoohil, Ireland's Highest Mountain
Climb through glaciated corries, past deep mountain lakes and along ice-carved ridges to stand on Carrauntoohil's lofty cloud-strewn summit!
Sat 1st May
€75 per person

Kayak the Lakes of Killarney
Explore the deep, sparkling Lakes of Killarney by kayak or canoe! Beginning at 15th century Ross Castle, paddle into Lough Leane, discovering wooded islands, limestone caves and local history.
Sun 2nd May
€50 per person

Rock Climbing in the Gap of Dunloe
Spend an exciting morning discovering the fun and adrenaline of rock climbing, on warm sandstone cliffs, just outside Killarney.
Mon 3rd May
€50 per person

Full Moon Kayak Trip
Discover the Lakes of Killarney by moonlight, as you use the full moon to kayak along dark wooded shores and among silent islands. Explore the limestone caves from your kayak by torch light. Land on the ancient, mystic ruins of Innisfallen Abbey for fresh coffee, while you savour the breathtaking sight of Ross Castle illuminated by moonlight.
Sat 1st May
€75 per person

Climbing for Chicks
Learn to rock climb and abseil at your own pace, doing as much or as little as you like, with friendly support, qualified instructors and no pressure!
Sat 1st/Sun 2nd May
From €50 per person

Book for two days and get a third day for half price;
or book two people and get a third person for half price!

For Details Contact Nathan/Ruth:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63

Upcoming Places

Carrauntoohil Ascent - 21st April, 1st May, 15th May

Men for Singles Adventure Weekend - 24th & 25th April

Kayak & Canoe Skills Training - 24th April

Kayak Trip on Lough Leane - 2nd May

Rock Climbing & Abseiling - 3rd May

Climbing for Chicks - 1st & 2nd May

Full Moon Kayak Trip - 1st May, 29th May

Mountain Skills 2 - 15th & 16th May

Learn to Rock Climb - 22nd & 23rd May

Kayak Skills - 29th & 30th May

To Book Contact Nathan/Ruth:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63

12 April 2010

Mountain Safety Info

Click on these links for more details on:
Map Reading & Navigation

Taking A Compass Bearing

Taking A Compass Bearing

What To Look For With Hiking Equipment

Preventing Mountain Incidents

Check out our two-day Mountain Skills Courses

Backpack & Liner
Survival Bag
Hiking Boots (ankle support)
Mobile Phone
Waterproof Coat & Trousers
Map (Laminated or in Ziploc Bag)
Compass (Silva Type 4)
Hat & Gloves
Spare Hat & Gloves
Food (Sandwiches, Fruit, Chocolate, Nuts)
First Aid Kit (Plasters, Compeed, Gloves, Antiseptic Wipes, Triangular & Sprain Bandages)
Water (1.5 litres min)
Torch & Batteries
Sun Cream
Warm Clothing (Layers, No Cotton/Denim)
Hot Drink
Spare Fleeces x 2

Check out the Great Outdoors Store for equipment

Map Reading: Colours, Symbols, Contours, Scale, Measurement
Map Setting: Point Map Direction You're Going
Contour Features:
Flat Ground, Steep Ground, Spot Height, Spur, Col, Re-entrant, Change of Slope, Corrie
Navigation Techniques: Handrailing
Distance Estimation: 1 Grid Box is 1km
Timing Estimation: 1km per 15mins approx. Add on extra time for going uphill

Small Steps
Good Balance
Side Stepping

Be Organised
Start Cold
Don’t Sweat
Use Zips

Getting Lost
Spread out in a line
Retrace your steps carefully
Blow your whistle
Listen for the lost person blowing their whistle
Get help if you can't find them quickly
If you are lost sit down and wait for help

Mountain Hazards
Mist / Cloud
Loose Rock
Lack of Preparation
Temperature (Cold & Hot)
Uneven Ground
Lack of Knowledge
Wind (Direction, Strength & Wind Chill)
Bog / Wet Ground
Poor Equipment
Fitness / Illness
Snow & Ice
Streams / Rivers
Lack of Team Awareness
Thunder & Lightning
Lack of Teamwork
Rock Fall
Poor Decision Making
Steep / Slippery Ground
Over Confidence

Wicklow Mountain Safety Promo

Thanks to the Great Outdoors, Dublin, for supporting our promotion.
Roll on next Sunday for more of the same! Places are still available.

7 April 2010

Melanie's Weekend

Adventure Weekend in Killarney in March 2010

Saturday, March 27th we drove to Killarney via Limerick to enjoy our prize of an Adventure Weekend at Outdoors Ireland, staying at Scott’s Hotel. Jukka originally from Finland and myself, both fifty plus and fit, were looking forward very much to kayaking in the lakes and climbing Carrauntoohil.

Scott’s Hotel, located in the town centre, conveniently has underground parking. The two story reception with a stunning frieze of trees was light filled when we arrived around 5 to be greeted by a big welcoming smile. What a treat to stay in a luxurious, very spacious suite with balcony and panoramic view of the mountains. Later that evening we met Nathan, of Outdoors Ireland, to confirm arrangements for our adventure weekend. Nathan exudes enthusiasm and energy. He predicted perfect kayaking weather for the following day.

At 9am Nathan drove us to Ross Castle in the Killarney National Park. The mirror-like lakes reflected the islands and dramatic mountains. Ducks, swans and birds were busy. We were nine optimistic, inexperienced kayakers, aged from 12 to 57. Nathan had the best of gear ready for us. Our first time getting into the wet suits was tricky. The colourful canoes were waiting on the grassy banks. Nathan ensured we were all safely togged out and explained the right way to kayak. We gently slipped into the water and wobbled in the sunshine. It was like being in bumper cars, and we felt like kids on a great day out. And soon what seemed impossible became fun.

We paddled out to the lakes past the rushes and reeds. Each kayak had its own personality. Mine simply wanted to go backwards. Nathan shepherded us all, explaining, encouraging and advising. He taught us the right way to kayak, and we practised. Two guys were padding a sit up Indian canoe. We laughed, we chatted. Then oops, splash, and one of us fell in. Nathan was there immediately to sort this out, and soon the man overboard was back in his canoe.

We landed on a beach where copper mining dates back 4,000 years. Nathan told us about the history, geography and wildlife of the area. Most poignant for me, when Nathan told us about the swimming deer he had observed swimming across the lakes. This brought to mind another man who over 13,000 years ago, observed two swimming reindeer and carved them into the tip of a mammoth tusk by humans: http://tinyurl.com/yfqmvpv

On the beach I kept a pebble that was green with copper oxide. The beach was sunny, serene and surrounded by majestic mountains. I picked up a pebble that was green with copper oxide. With increasing confidence we kayaked to the caves. Limestone islands that we were to kayak through. Dappled sunshine bounced off the echo filled cool interiors. It was magical. We heard about Inisfallen being a 6th century university and monastery that the Vikings raided for gold. We heard about the monk who would be sent off to hide in these caves during the raids...

Kayaking was surprising easy to learn. At speed with ease we novices were now travelling across the lake. We laughed, and enjoyed the sunshine. We headed reluctantly back to the grassy banks we started from. More laughs when we tried to get out of our wetsuits. We had a brilliant morning kayaking with Outdoors Ireland. We started as strangers we ended as friends.

Buoyed up with our kayaking confidence we decided to spend the afternoon rock climbing, never having done it before. Driving past Kate Kearney’s cottage, Nathan stopped at a sheer rock wall of about 20 meters. On the other side of the valley the Kerry Rescue Team were practising on a very challenging rock face.

Nathan quickly had all the professional harnesses, helmets, ropes and shoe ready for us 7 enthusiasts. He secured the ropes on top. We then learnt precise instructions about crabs, by-lines and the importance of keeping the ropes free of grit and muck. For me just looking at Tim, climbing up the vertical rock face was exhilarating. We all had a job to do, we worked as a team. The climber had to trust the rope holders. Such determination was shown by the climbers. I was extremely proud of how well Jukka climbed, despite being the oldest and possibly the heaviest.

Unfortunately climbing is not my forte. I did try but simply could not manage to get going more that a few metres. But I never laughed so much. And know that I really need to get fitter.

Nathan dropped us off the Scotts hotel, muddy but very happy. We had a delicious 3 course dinner in Scott’s Hotel. The smiling staff were so welcoming. We went to bed early, very much looking forward to climbing Caurrantoohil on the Monday. Overnight the weather turned ferocious. It rained, it snowed, and the wind blew. Nathan contacted us, and we agreed to cancel the ascent of Carrauntoohil.

Instead we enjoyed the luxury of another leisurely, tasty breakfast. As we had raingear and hill walking boots we decided to walk locally. We visited Muckross House. The deserted grounds were autumnal in atmosphere and the misty views richly coloured. We came across spectacular Yellow Waterlilies similar to what you find in Thailand. Con Brosnan, who worked in the grounds, went to a lot of trouble to find out they are called Skunk Cabbage. Con, a local man told us the best viewing places and where the azaleas were starting to flower. The tour of the inside of Muckross house was lead by Brid a local guide, with a very clear Kerry brogue and insightful stories about the houses history, characters and interior.

We then went to Torc waterfall and walked up the many steps behind it to the bridge. Every turn brought another breathtaking view. Though still raining we drove up to Ladies View. The browns, russets, and tinges of spring green made the mountainous views luscious. We had forgotten how magnificent the views and nature are in Kerry.

Our visit to Kerry was brilliant. Thank you, Nathan of Outdoors Ireland for your professionalism and enthusiasm. Thank you, Patricia of Scotts Hotel for the luxurious accommodation and smiling welcome. And we will be back as we still want to climb Carrauntoohil.

1 April 2010

Carrauntoohil Guided Climbs

These are upcoming dates for guided climbs of Carrauntoohil.
We will have more dates coming up and we can also run private climbs.

Sat 3rd April
Wed 14th April
Wed 21st April
Sat 1st May
Sat 15th May

For accommodation in Killarney check:
Railway Hostel – www.killarneyhostel.com
Robeen House B&B – www.robeenhouse.com
Scotts Hotel – www.scottshotelkillarney.com
Randles Court Hotel – www.randlescourt.com
Killarney Park Hotel – www.killarneyparkhotel.ie