30 December 2010

Come Back Snow

Thanks a million to Paul, from Dublin, who emailed this article from the Evening Herald down to me. I'll never forget the views we had the day these images were taken; probably my best day ever up on Carrauntoohil! Nathan

27 December 2010

Timing (For Mountain Skills)

Timing is a technique used for Mountain Skills/Mountain Navigation, especially over distances of more than 500 metres, or over steep, broken ground. It's mainly used in bad visibility or for night navigation.

Timing is measuring the distance you will be walking between two points, then calculating how long it will take to walk that distance.

You need a 1:50 000 OSI Map, Silva Type 4 Compass and Stop Watch.

Stage 1
1. Break your journey into short, manageable legs, for example, from a spot height to a saddle.

2. Measure your map leg distance, using the millimetre ruler of your compass.

3. 1 millimetre = 50 metres
If you measure 18 millimetres, between your spot height and your saddle, then the distance is 900 metres.

4. Naismith's Rule: Average Hill Walking Speed - 5km per hour
This Breaks Down As:
5km per hour
1km per 12 mins
500 metres per 6 mins
100 metres per 1 min + 12 seconds (call it just over 1 min)

5. So if your distance is 900 metres, use the above table to calculate the time it will take to walk:
900 metres = 10 mins + 48 seconds (call it 11 mins)

Stage 2
You now have your main timing figure of 11 mins, which is how long it will take to walk 900 metres; however you need to allow for any uphill climbing, which is going to slow you down.

1. Count how many uphill contours you cross and for each uphill contour you cross, add on 1 extra min. So if you cross 8 uphill contours, add 8 extra mins to your original time.
11 mins + 8 extra mins for uphill contours = 19 mins total

Stage 3
Ignore downhill contours; only allow for uphill contours.

Stage 4
You now know it will take you 19 mins to walk from your spot height to your saddle.

1. Start your stop watch once you begin walking and if you stop to check your map make sure you stop, then re-start, your stop watch each time. Don't forget this!

2. As you approach 19 mins you want to be carefully looking out for your destination point, as you should allow a couple of mins margin on either side of your calculated time.

3. You should be at your destination after 19 mins. If not ask yourself if you may have overshot it.

4. If you haven't overshot it, walk on for an extra 5 mins only and you should have arrived at your destination.

Timing is a great technique, used in conjunction with other Mountain Skills techniques, to navigate with.

It can be an excellent Cut Off Point, which tells you that you should walk no more than, for example, 19 mins, plus an extra 5 mins if necessary, to reach your destination point.

Getting Lost/Getting Found Blog
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Any Other Tips Or Advice? Leave A Comment

Snow Report 27th Dec

Approx Summit Temperature: 4 Degrees C Minus Wind Chill
MacGillycuddy Reeks Stripped Of Snow, Apart From Possible Some Wet Snow In Gullies

23 December 2010

Snow Report - Christmas

No Snow Reports Until 28th Dec
Conditions Likely To Hold Same As Below Photo
Fairly High Avalanche Risk In Gullies, Such As Curve & Central

22 December 2010

Snow Report 23rd Dec

Temperature @ 150m: -5 Degrees C
Approx Summit Temperature: -8 Degrees C
Snow Depth Approx One Foot, Much Deeper In Gullies
Soft Powder & Unconsolidated

21 December 2010

Carrauntoohil's Gullies

Cloud and spindrift streaming over Carrauntoohil's summit

O Shea's Gully visible as the widest gully on the right.
Central Gully starts over half way up O Shea's, on the left.
Curve Gully is the long narrow, most leftward, curving gully, which leads straight to the summit.

Snow Report 21st Dec

Temperature @ 150m: -4 Degrees C
Approx Summit Temperature: -10 Degrees C
Large Amounts Of Powder Thawed/Blown Away, Although Still Plenty Underfoot & Gullies Still Full. Some Hardening Of Snow & Wind-Slab Beginning To Form

19 December 2010

Snow Report 20th Dec

Temperature @ 150m: -3 Degrees C
Approx Summit Temperature: -5 Degrees C

Snow Report 19th Dec

Temperature @ 150m: 3 Degrees C
Approx Summit Temperature: -4 Degrees C
Freezing Level Just Below Summits
No Real Ice Forming
Question Mark Over Security Of Vast Amounts Of Powder Snow Build-Up In N & NE Gullies Such As Curve Gully

Most Snow Ever On Carrauntoohil

Yesterday, Saturday 18th December, was the most snow I've ever seen on Carrauntoohil and the MacGillycuddy Reeks. It was soft powder snow, unfrozen and unconsolidated, so it made for a long day, with pleasantly sore legs the following day!

Approaching Carrauntoohil through Hag's Glen.
O Shea's Gully visible on the right of the summit.

Ascending towards First Level, roped together for security.

First Level, with Hag's Glen in the background.

Incredibly thick and soft powder snow, at least a foot deep.

Climbing from First Level to Second Level.

Nearing Carrauntoohil's summit, having climbed O Shea's Gully.

Summit cross in sight!

17 December 2010

Snow Report 18th Dec

Temperature @ 150m: 0 Degrees C
Approx Summit Temperature: -5 Degrees C
More Snow Fall Last Night

Christmas Gift Vouchers 2010

We've delayed for as long as possible, as I'm sure people are being bombarded with voucher adverts and Christmas songs! Now however, with snow falling steadily outside my office window and a week to Christmas Eve, seems like a good time to mention our Adventure Christmas Gift Vouchers. They can be bought online and posted to you the same day - so if you're thinking of getting something a little different, or even want something adventurous yourself, get in touch or print this page off and leave it lying on your coffee table!

To Arrange A Gift Voucher Contact:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63

Snow Report 17th Dec

Temperature @ 150: 2 Degrees C
Approx Summit Temperature: -4 Degrees C
Soft Snow Falling Thickly - Drifts Will Be Forming

16 December 2010

When Darkness Falls

Becoming caught on the hills in darkness can be a minor issue; or it can be a major problem resulting in injury or mountain rescue.
The difference between it being a minor or major issue mainly comes down to preparation, knowledge and experience.

It goes without saying to have a well equipped back pack, with all your usual spare gear and safety gear.

Really think about this spare gear though – if you’re becoming cold and damp as night falls and the temperature is dropping even more; is the one lightweight fleece at the bottom of your bag really enough to rewarm you and keep you warm?

Emergency food should not just be a couple of extra chocolate bars, but rather high energy, slow release food; like extra sandwiches, a container of pasta or nuts and fruit.

Ideally have a head torch per person, but failing that certainly have some type of torch per person. Don’t use wind-up torches; they’re useless for night navigation! Also, very importantly, carry spare torch batteries.

Once you realise that hurrying won’t help and you will be caught in dusk; don't get stressed. Stop and take ten/fifteen mins to assess your current location, decide on a safe escape route including navigation points along the way; stock up on food and drink even if you’re not hungry and thirsty as you need your energy and concentration levels kept high.

What can happen is that you find yourself rushing, splitting your group of hikers and making silly mistakes in an effort to get down off the hills as quickly as possible. Instead accept that you are going to be down later than planned and to have the confidence that you can deal with navigating in dusk and darkness.

Map Reading Skills, Compass Bearings, Timing and Pacing are essential skills for navigating safely off the hills in darkness. Doing an Outdoors Ireland Mountain Skills Course in Kerry or Wicklow is an ideal way to develop or recap/improve your knowledge.

Check out this blog post about finding yourself if you do become misplaced.

As part of Mountain Skills 2 you spend time on the hills at nighttime, practicing night navigation.

This is something you can practice yourself as well, somewhere near to a road with no cliffs nearby!

Half the battle of dealing with benightment, is having experienced it previously and knowing that you can deal with it and have the skills to get yourself out.

Any other tips or advice? Please do leave a comment...

13 December 2010

Winter Mountaineering Courses - Kerry

Best Shots Of Winter 2010

Outdoors Ireland's North East Gully

Reporting From Curve Gully

Alpine-Like Beenkeragh Ridge

Carrauntoohil's Summit, Above The Clouds
Click Here To Book!

Guess Where!?

Can You Guess What Climb The Two Specks Of Climbers Are On?
Leave A Comment Below...

Snow Report 13th Dec

Approx Summit Temperature: 4 Degrees C
All Decent Snow & Ice Gone At Moment

Snow Kite in Kerry

snowkite from kite-wayTv on Vimeo.

11 December 2010

10 December 2010

Snow Report 11th Dec

Snow Only Remaining In A Couple Gullies, Including Curve & Central
Beenkeragh Ridge Atmospheric
Temperature @ 150m: 5 Degrees C
Approx Summit Temperature: 1/0 Degree C

Mountain Skills 2

We have places available on a Mountain Skills 2 this weekend.
Running at Reeks Lodge, in Kerry and taking place in the MacGillycuddy Reeks; this two-day course will cover Map Reading Techniques, Compass Bearings & Skills, Night Navigation, Steep Ground Work, Emergency Procedures & Mountain Rescue.

Mountain Skills 2 is fully approved by Mountaineering Ireland and is part of the Mountain Skills Scheme.

Click Here For Details
To Book Contact Nathan:
+353 (0) 86 860 45 63

Snow Report - 10th Dec

Most Approach Slopes Stripped Of Snow
Approx Summit Temperature: 3 Degrees C
Ridges & N Gullies Holding Some Soft & Deep Snow

8 December 2010

Snow Report - 9th Dec

Temperature @ 150: 4 Degrees C
Approx Summit Temperature: 0 Degrees C

Curve Gully - Carrauntoohil

7am Hag's Glen start for a dawn climb of Carrauntoohil's Curve Gully.
Heather pausing half-way up the north face for a quick report!
Check out the frozen Devil's Spy Glass Lake, far below her...

Heather, earlier in the morning, negotiating the first step.

Snow Report - 8th Dec

For today's snow conditions see the two above videos, which were taken in Curve Gully on Carrauntoohil's north face.

Temperature @ 150m: 2 Degrees C
Approx Summit Temperature: -3 Degrees C
Snow Loose/Soft But Holding For Easier N & NE Gullies
Ice Weak & Thawing

7 December 2010

Snow Report - 7th Dec

Low Cloud - No Visibility
Temperature @ 150m: 1 Degree C
Approx Summit Temperature: -3 Degrees C
Slopes Snow Stripped Apart From N & NE Facing Gullies
Ice Becoming Loose - General Slow Thaw
Freezing Level Below Summits & Light Snow Falling Currently @ 4pm

6 December 2010

Freezing Conditions - 6th Dec

Temperature @ 150m: -1 C
Approx Summit Temperature: -8 C
Ice & Snow Pack Still Semi Frozen

5 December 2010

Kerry Winter Climbing Extended

After a superb week of Winter Walking & Climbing in the MacGillycuddy Reeks, conditions are allowing us to extend bookings for tomorrow, Monday 6th, plus Tuesday and Wednesday. Freezing conditions are holding good now, with decent powder snow on the summits. No experience is needed and all equipment provided.
Click Here For Details

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

Snow Conditions - MacGillycuddy Reeks

Temperature @ 150: 1 Degree C
Approx Summit Temperature: -3 Degrees C
Some Slight Re Freezing Of Ice After Recent Thaw
Freezing Level Below Summits

4 December 2010

Today's Winter Climbing

Snow Conditions - MacGillycuddy Reeks

Temperature @ 150m: 4 Degrees C
Summit Temperature Approx: -1 Degree C
Snow Retreating, Although Holding In NE Gullies
Freezing Level @ 2pm Is Above The Peaks

3 December 2010

Snow Conditions - MacGillycuddy Reeks

Some Thawing Action Yesterday & Last Night.
Rain Falling @ 150m. Fresh Snow Fall Higher In Reeks.
Temperature @ 150m: 4 Degrees C.
Approx Summit Temperature: -2 Degrees C.

Irish Winter Climbing!

Grade 1/1+ Irish Winter Climbing In MacGillycuddy Reeks

2 December 2010

Our Winter Playground

Freezing Conditions - 2nd Dec

Hard Ice Forming in North East Facing Areas
Summit Temperatures Approx -9 C
Temperature @ 150m -4