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Easter Sunday in the Snow

Date: 31/03/2013
Submitted by: George Carleton

I joined Mike, John and Maeve on Easter Sunday in the Mournes for a late blast with the Ice Axes and Crampons.

I knew that there was a lot of snow on the mountains but I didn’t appreciate the scale until I seen it for myself. The snow was well over the height of the Mournes Wall in many places and there were signs of avalanching on the west side of Bearnagh.

We started off by climbing a couple of iced up gullies on the NW side of Bearnagh, near the bottom of Hares Gap.

I had brought very little climbing gear thinking there would not be much in climbable condition but Mike having more faith brought a few ice screws which he made good use off.   

Mike led what looked like a grade III/IV seconded by John, while Maeve and I soloed an easier gully to there right.

We then made our way to the Tors tramping up the now consolidated snow slop to the left of the Slabs, it was tough going and felt more like an alpine summit approach than a day out in the Mournes.

We bumped into Paul Swail who we had seen with a partner tracking up the mountain with skies on their backs and were making ready to ski back down again.

Maeve and I attempted a line on the Summit Tor which I think was called Discovery, graded D in summer. It looked relatively easy from the ground but on getting ¾‘s of the way on snow covered rock and soft ice I decided to back off.

It was great fun though and with my hands getting the hot aches and spindrift lashing me in the face it felt like a proper winter mountain day. 

Having had a full day’s winter fun on a spring day we then made our way back down to the Meelmore car park.  

Photo of Route