Sunday, 14 May 2017

Black Mare Gully up Carrauntoohil

Carrauntoohil from the other side for change and much less know ascent route. Black Mare Gully is located at the eastern end of the Coomloughra Glen and it starts from the Hydro Road car park. 

Climbing up the grassy Black Mare Gully

Follow the steep concrete road until you reach Lough Eighter and  then, instead of climbing up for Caher route or Skregmore to Beenkeragh ridge, continue on the left side of the lakes rising up slightly. The path might not be clearly visible in places, but with having the lakes on your right hand side you can't go wrong.

Caher Ridge in front of us
The views of the lakes and the valley on a clear day are just fantastic and luckily we could enjoy them, despite a few showers, as we walked straight towards the steep slopes of Carrauntoohil and Caher, having Caher Ridge just in front of us. Soon we arrived to the top of the last of the three lakes and started climbing up to the bottom of the gully. The gully is very steep and grassy with some small loose stones. It's much less climbed than the other gullies (O'sheas, Central and Curved) and that makes it more difficult. There's no obvious path, you just have to find your own, avoiding standing on loose stones when possible and using your hands when needed.

Half way up the gully

Looking towards Caher
It can be very slippery after the rain. This side of the mountain  remains in the shade for most of the time and stay wetter for longer. And we were climbing it just after the rain... 
We had to hold on to the grass with our hands with each step. It was a bit awkward sometimes but we managed to the top without any major problems.

At the top of the gully you join the path which is Caher route and a part of Coomloughra Horseshoe. You're only 10 - 15 minutes away from the summit and its only about 300 m of a gradual climb north-west direction.

The view from the top of the gully

From the top after lunch break we descended via Caher route following the ridge to the top and then down and up again to Caher West Top. All it's left after that is a long and gradual descent, just perfect to kill your knees if they didn't suffer so far. And if they're still ok after that, the last steep section of the concrete road will do the job. But you'll of course forget everything about the knee pain the day after (or maybe two) and go climbing again as soon as possible. That's what we always do. We're addicted with no doubt :)

Caher, another climb before descending

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