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Date: JAN 2010
Submitted by: KEITH MONAGHAN


7/1/10. On Alan’s advice Sandra and I headed for Barnsmore to Perrin? Gully.  It’s the last steep gully on the right as you go through the gap travelling toward Ballybofey.   The river was frozen and easily crossed and short hike took us to the bottom of the gully. Its wasn’t completely frozen unto about half height but there was some good ice steps above this. Couple of pitches of easy winter 1.  On exiting we headed for the top of the hill and floundered in knee deep snow. Lunch in bright sunshine and a decent via the forest and back home for the school run.

However a phone call later that evening and I was heading for Errigal hostel with promise of a frozen poisoned glen.  I picked up Pete McConnell on route and we headed North West. The Glenveagh road was closed so a long detour via north coast before arriving at the hostel.  It was immediately apparent upon arrival that Columba had been on some sort of medication with a glazed look and large grin. I thought he required some light refreshments so dragged him and Alan to the local hostility to share a few beers and Iris Robinson jokes.  An hour later and the glazed look and changed into a wild stare so I lead the expedition party back towards the hostel . I won’t mention Columba’s little slip on the pub steps but did admire his quick recovery followed by a glance in our direction to see if we had noticed his Torvil and Dean impression.  

An earlish start next am and a long dander into a frozen poisoned glen. Never before had I managed this without requiring at least 2 pairs of spare socks and waders.

Pete and I hiked up the steep ground on the right side of Castle buttress and into the 1st obvious gully. The 1st pitch was quite easy leading to the bottom of a short ice step.  Pete started up this step on what looked like solid ice but at about 15 feet up the ice came away from the rock and Pete came down landing on my leg with a few crampon points and then slid below me onto a steep snow slope.    However the ice screw belay held firm and Pete, in his usual fashion, raced back up past me. 2x50m meter pitches of easy grade 2 lead to the summit.  

We headed around and down the windy gap and the knackering deep snow trudged back up towards the second obvious gully. Columba arrived in front of us and we had a bit of lunch. This gully had a 5 meter vertical ice pitch to start which Pete made short work followed by a steep ice/heather ramp to the summit.  Good winter grade 2+.

We returned again by the windy gap followed later by Alan and Ian. Sadly I had to head home just as Valli and Marty arrived but had a great Donegal winters day.  

14/1/10 saw 6 of us heading to Fort William and Kimbers apartment,  just as the fine weather broke. Avalanche report was horrendous with high winds and poor vis so day 1 saw us on a long 5 mile hike to Leachach bothy, before a steep assent to the summit of Stob Ban in the Grey Corries which, from the guide book pictures, is beautiful steep conical mountain.  Next day was little better so we took a return train journey to the remote Corrour station and an ascent of Beinn na Lap. Lunch was taken outside the stunning Loch Ossian hostel where there were clear signs of a vehicle race track all over the ice on Loch Ossian!  Sunday started with a few glimpses of sun. Billy Cross and I headed to climb on Aonach Mor but again the top was in whiteout with gales and loads of snow pouring down what we could see of the tops of the gullies so no climbing was to be had. The others tried a bit of cold skiing lower down the hill. We then went climbing in the Ice Factor for the afternoon.  Weather crap but crac was mighty.


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