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Corrán Tuatháil by the Heavenly Gates

Date: 13th August 2011
Submitted by: Columba McLaughlin

 The original plan was to climb ‘Collin’s Gully’ on the Eastern Cliffs of Corrán Tuatháil. My rationale for not doing it was complicated and included descriptive terminology such as: Grassy, Loose, Wet, Slimey, Narrow, Damp, and 3 Waterfalls if the weather was rainy. In good winter conditions, it is a Grade 4 and in summer conditions it has been given a Hard Severe mountain grade. I said to Noel that a HS in wet and slimy conditions would be more like and E10. However, Noel’s rationale for climbing it was very simple, ‘it’s time we did it’ he said.

 So the plan was hatched and the date was set. The fact that it rained for a week before we headed down to Kerry, and also rained on the way to Kerry, did not dampen Noel’s spirits. He was having nothing to do with this wet lark. I very subtly suggested a Plan ‘B’ if there was too much water coming off the mountain down into ‘Collin’s Gully’ but somehow it wafted away in the Ether.


  The next morning we awoke to a dry and an overcast sky and after breakfast off we went to Lislibane Carpark on the Northern side of Corrán Tuatháil. The ‘Reeks’ had their hats on so we put on our wet gear. Noel took a 30m rope and I took a half rack of gear (Medium to Large nuts, hexes and friends).  In about 2 hours, we reached the ‘Heavenly Gates’ and immediately saw that ‘Collin’s Gully’ was not for today. Nonetheless, we were afforded a good chance to explore the 1st section and to get some idea of the 2nd and 3rd levels. After studying the 1st part of Collin’s Gully, we started to view ‘Howling Ridge’ and saw a group of 3 (in which 2 were Female) climbing on 3rd Pitch.

 After this, we headed along the path and up to inspect the start of ‘Pippets Ridge’. This ridge forms the southern wall of ‘Collin’s Gully’ and swings up alongside the Left Fork of ‘Collin’s Gully’. ‘Pippet’s Ridge’ looked very enticing and we both put it on our agenda for another day. A short distance past ‘Pippet’s Ridge’, we came to ‘Luigi’s Gully’. In winter conditions, this is also has a Grade 4. But today there was a stream running out of it. Nonetheless, we had a good look at its lower 1st section.


 We decided to take a short cut to the summit and went up the steep boulder strewn Eastern face on the Southern Flank of ‘Luigi’s Gully’. The mist and ligh

 t rain was intense from about 900m. So we wrapped up well. From the summit we decided to descend via O’Shea’s Gully.  However, we met a group of English people who were trying to locate the track to ‘Catháir’ on their map. For future reference, to access the track to ‘Catháir’ from the summit of ‘Corrán Tuatháil’, it is best to leave the summit of Corraan Tuatháil on a South Westerly direction for about 30m until you come to the top of ‘Curved Gully’. From here a faint track heads off in a Southerly direction. At this point we gave the group specific directions to follow towards ‘Catháir’ and we carried on our descent by passing the top of ‘Central Gully’. In poor visibility, there is a temptation to keep close to the edge of ‘Central Gully’ but this could be dangerous to the unwary as the drop offs into the ‘Gray Place’ are very direct.

 Before long we were at the top of ‘O’Shea’s Gully’ and we descended to the highest lake in Ireland in ‘Comín Úchtarácht’ (Highest Glen).  I have often wondered about the Visual perception illusion where the water exiting the Loch Comín Úchtaracht by the waterfall seems to be higher than the actual Lake. Nonetheless, it was very visible today and even Noel admitted that the illusion was very clear.


 The descent to ‘Comín Lár’ (The middle Glen) is a brief scramble. But it takes away the tedium and helps to focus the brain. It was great to be in touch with the rock again. This is a very small glen and the descent to ‘Comín Íchtaracht’ (Lower Glen) involves a rugged walk along huge boulders and then a steep zig-zag path to ‘Comín Íchtaracht’. Before long we were at the top of the 3 rock steps and we soon down climbed these to the safety of the ‘Hag’s Glen’. In a short while we were back in the car and off for some liquid refreshment and a well earned steak dinner J A great ending to a very rugged and challenging route on ‘Corrán Tuatháil’.


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18 Aug 2011

Nice one Columba, but there are other good peaks in Kerry. You should try one, you might be pleasently surprised! Mullaghanattin, Hungry Hill, the Glenbeigh Horshoe, the L.Cloon circuit- all brilliant!

19 Aug 2011

Hi Columba everybody's got a favourite hill, could u not have picked a closer 1. Can get 2 cairngorm quicker than kerry! Just climbed tryfan with sam. In sunshine!!!!!!

21 Aug 2011

Thanks Alan, certainly food for thought. We have 2 projects remaining that we want to do on Corrán Tuatháil. Your suggestions are appreciated and will be taken on board. Mullaghanattin has always tempted me and along with the other 3 will now have to be tackled :)

21 Aug 2011

I'll have to get back to Tryfan - a fabulous and asthetic mountain. Its a great scramble and the continuation up 'Bristly Ridge' is brilliant. However, I must do Grooved Arete sometime. If any CCC have a similar notion, let me know :)

Photo of Route