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Author Topic: So, anyone do anything fun/difficult recently? (Other than Everest) :)  (Read 16048 times)

MoT

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Did the annual Twelve Bens Challenge walk last weekend in the west of Ireland (hillwalking challenge). On paper looks very straight forward but is bloody hard! :)

Took me 13 hours 8 mins - was hoping to beat my best time of 12 hrs 30. Around 70 people took part - I came in 29th. Four checkpoints along the route that you had to meet. The challenge took in the full mountain (hill) range of the Twelve Bens in Connemara, Ireland (except Diamond Hill),  plus one or two additional peaks. Mainly hillwalking but some areas required reasonably straight forward scrambling. Perfect sunny day but very cold on the tops.

Approx distance 31200m
Total height ascended 3408m
Total height descended 3410m
Max height only 720m

Some pics from the day:


The route


The trail profile


Fintan and Andy just after Derryclare


Approaching the first checkpoint. Benbaun in the background, the backbreaker halfway through the challenge


Might as well have a picture of meself to prove I was there at least!


Benlettery (left) and Bengleninsky (right) seen from Bengower


A great panorama from near the top of Ben Lettery showing most of the route. It starts near the lake on the right and comes around the horseshoe towards the camera, then back down to the peak on the left. Then you walk down behind it through the valley, contouring right to climb Benbaun behind Benbreen in the centre of the picture. The route continues on to include all the peaks in the distance on the left. I twisted my ankle on flat ground shortly after taking this picture - fortunately I managed to complete the challenge!


Looking down to the 3rd checkpoint from Benbaun. The peak in the background is Benbreen


View from Bencullagh back over the range after 23km. The legs were like jelly at this stage


Tired and emotional at the end! Two twisted ankles, lead weights for legs and a big hole in my stomach. The stew was just the thing we needed at the end of a lonnnng haul!

Ok - it's not quite a mixed route in the Alps, or a multipitch cliff face in Yosemite but it damn well nearly killed everyone who took part - well except Miko Keane who finished in 8 hours 10mins.  O0
« Last Edit: Jun 14 2007, 04:41 by MoT »
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Hey MoT!

that is great!  8) Wish I could have joined you (though I am not sure if I could do it in 13 hours, let alone 8!)

Great images, it looks like a beautiful area, though the race looks brutal. !hanks for the report.

ps: where are the other 11 summit images?  >:D
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MoT

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I've kinda numbered them all wrong on the filenames. I only took a handful of pics. Too cold on the summits despite the sunshine. Anyway it'd have taken me 15 hours if I was stoping for photos on EVERY summit!  :laugh:  ;D It's funny the way we take loads of pictures in subzero temperatures on the big mountains but in our own local area we won't put up with a little bit of windchill on a sunny day in June  ???
« Last Edit: Jun 14 2007, 04:53 by MoT »
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Roger

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Hey Mot

Good story and pics, wish we had fun events like that here in Oz that I was aware of.

My fun thing recently was Muztagata in China, well the fun part was travelling from Beijing to Urumqi by train (48 hrs), overnight and shopping there then a train to Kashgar (24 hrs).  I was the only westerner on the train to Urumqi. I also spent a week or so in Kashgar and bought some lovely stuff. The trip out to Karikol Lake was also good (7 hrs X 4WD). Remote China is a fantastic place. I am currently planning something in the TAR which is one of the most remote places on earth.

I am also attempting to get into Carstenz and Mt Trikora in West Papua as independently as possible and man that is one hell of a challenge getting permits and detailed maps.  I have the contacts now Im just working on gaining access.

All the best

Roger
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m.c. reinhardt

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Great adventures MoT and Roger! MoT, what a grueling 13 hours! I love the panorama pic from near the top of Ben Lettery...beautiful! Roger, your trip to Muztagata in China sounds amazing. Good luck to you with Carstenz and Mt Trikora. As you know, the permits and logistics will be your biggest challenge!

Well, you guys will love this. My latest adventure was this past weekend...I climbed the infamous Mt. Whitney!!! Trunl, eat your heart out (sorry Trunl...I couldn't resist). I still need to scan a few photos of my Whitney hike in Oct. of 1987. The oversized white Suncloud sunglasses I wore to the summit are so 1980's! But hey, there were rose colored lenses!

Mt. Whitney TR (acclimatization hike for Kili)
I drove down from Vancouver, WA on Thurs./Fri. (long drive)! I took an acclimatization hike to Lone Pine Lake (on the Main Mt. Whitney Trail) Fri. afternoon. Started my hike on Sat. morning with perfect weather. Left Whitney Portal (trail head) at 10:00 am and arrived at Trail Camp (12,000 ft.) at 5:00 pm. Set up camp and got lucky...no wind! The next morning (Sun.) I left TC at 7:15 am and arrived on the summit at noon (14,505 ft.). I was feeling surprising well and stayed on the summit for an hour.  It was so rewarding and the views were tremendous (the word grandiose kept coming to mind). Again, perfect weather all day Sunday. I had the best time and met some great people who I have only known through the Whitney Portal Store (great web-site for any info on Mt. Whitney). Here are some pix. Just click on image if you want to enlarge.

 

The pic below was taken while driving home...I happened to have my camera right next to me (I love when that happens)! MC   :)
 


   


   
« Last Edit: Jun 15 2007, 02:01 by mc »
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Very nice MC! Thanks for sharing and congrats on summiting and getting down again. I always wondered what it looked like on the summit of Mt Whitney   :angel:
It looks amazingly quiet, were there no other people? I thought it would be full of hikers all summer?

I love the nature, you captured it well; the campsite looks great as well. And the dog seems to be driving, you should photoshop the driver's left arm in the colour of the dog's hair  ;D
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Roger

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Nice pics MC and I am glad you enjoyed the hike, solitude and magnificent views and weather.  I just wish I had mountains like I see in your photos. I would be out every second weekend trekking them. Not many hills here in Sydney sadly except for our blue mountains and 6 hours away in thredo, jindabyne but they are all covered in snow now.

Main thing for Kili is just get used to walking and climbing over rocks and stretching those legs and using as many muscles as possible.

Practise drinking lots of water as it becomes harder as you go higher, you sort of need to train yourself to drink continuously.

Was trying to attach some Muztagata pics but it timed out. Will try again later

Roger
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Roger

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Here are some China, Kashgar, Muztagata pics
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Roger

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I also went to Sabah and did heaps of things like Jungle Camps, Gomantong Caves and travelled the breadth of Sabah. Amazing that there are 11 million hectares of Palm oil trees and the Indonesians are ruining the forests.

Here is my trip report from the Mt Kinabalu climb

My tip is that it is indeed worthwhile to stay at the Park the day and night before as it provides a nice rest, tranquil scenery and aids in aclimatisation as it is around 1500 mteres elevation. Arrive early and you can take in the numerous trails and sights around the park. They have a nice botanical garden which you can view by yourself or join the guided tour to learn more of their plants.

I stayed at the Summit Lodge and can highly recommend it. It can sleep up to four and is a house with all mod cons including a kitchen, dining room, fireplace, queen bed and two single beds. Need to book way in advance to get this place though.

Arrange your pre-booked permits and guide upon arrival. This way you can have the guide collect you with the shuttle bus and take you to the gate 5 ks away from the accommodation so that you can commence the climb from Timpohon Gate at 0730 the next day. If you are particularly keen you can walk from your accommodation to the gate but it is a hard uphill walk on the road to the gate.

I carried all my own gear but for those not used to doing so may prefer to have a porter do the hard work for you. Arrange a porter at the gate; your guide will assist with this.

It is a fairly hard slog up the mountain and by going early you will miss the heat, though it will still be very humid. I left at 0730 hrs. No need to carry full water bottles as water is available on the way up at most resting huts from tanks. I found the water good and did not add any purification tablets. Make sure you hydrate a lot in the days leading up to your trek. Stop at the huts and take in the view, drink and eat. You will also see squirrels and other native animals at the huts if you rest quietly.

Make sure you ask your guide to show you the pitcher plants on the way up. Good guides will know where they are located. Little track to the right side of the trail a little way past the 9000 ft sign.

I felt the hardest part of the trek was from kilometre 4 up to Sayat Sayat at around Km 7.5. From there it is fairly moderate trekking.

I stopped at Laban Rata and had lunch. Then my guide obtained the key for the gate just a few hundred metres past Laban Rata (the trail is locked each day after the last climbers come down). We proceeded up and onto the summit in white out conditions and heavy rain. Just started to get cold up past Sayat Sayat but that was early afternoon. Shorts and short sleeve top then I added a Gore-Tex jacket over the top. I also carried my small backpack with essentials, i.e., jacket, headlamp, gloves, first aid kit and water. I did not find it very slippery in the conditions. I made it back down from the summit to Laban Rata in around 50 minutes. I find a jogging style motion on the downhill easier for me. However there are a couple of sections on the way down where holding onto the rope is prudent. These spots are signposted with warnings so best to take heed and go slow and hold on.

I reckon if most people saw what they were about to climb in the daytime the success rate would be less than it is now. In the dark people cannot see what is coming up and I can testify to that as I went up again the next morning around 3.30 am. I knew what was ahead.

The conditions with the early morning start were pleasant and I only wore shorts, thermal short sleeve top and shirt over. Was 10 degrees Celsius on the digital thermometer outside Laban Rata. Do not take that as a guide to do the same though, I made that decision based on my past experience and carried Gore-Tex jacket as a backup. Many people were rugged up with thermal underwear, long pants and tops etc and commented how hot they were. Mountain conditions can change very quickly so best to be prepared for any conditions.

I also only used running shoes. Expensive and heavy trekking boots are not required. Just ensure they have good grip.

Breakfast is available if you like at Laban Rata before departing up from around 1.30 am but may not be advisable for most as it may further add to feeling unwell from the effects of altitude. Some palatable snacks may be preferable and easier to consume as you take breaks. Carry water up also. Some people left as early as 2.30 am but most seemed have gone by 3am. If you leave with the crowds you will suffer from the bottleneck sections and have to wait for people to clear the steps and narrow sections. It is also dark and cold if you arrive at the summit too early.

Coming Down.

For nearly all this will be the toughest part. Summit to Laban Rata is not too bad. Most leave on their gloves especially if taking hold of the rope and using it as a brake. Make sure you stop and take time out to take in the views and take photos, as it is easy to forget to do this. Watch your step on the timber stairs as they get slippery when wet. Use the handrail to steady yourself.

Take some breakfast at Laban Rata and relax for a while, pack your gear and head on down. This will really test your legs and limits. Two poles for those not so sure-footed and those who are not used to taking really big steps down the mountain. Stop and drink water regularly and eat high-energy snacks as it will get warmish on the way down and you need to remain hydrated. The downward slope seems to drag on forever and the kilometre boards seems to take ages to pass by.

Back at Timpohon Gate

Take the shuttle or waiting taxis back to the Park entrance gate to collect either your colour certificate for reaching the summit or the black and white one for reaching Laban Rata.

What next-Poring Hot Springs for 3 days-see review
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m.c. reinhardt

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Very nice MC! Thanks for sharing and congrats on summiting and getting down again. I always wondered what it looked like on the summit of Mt Whitney   :angel:
It looks amazingly quiet, were there no other people? I thought it would be full of hikers all summer?

I love the nature, you captured it well; the campsite looks great as well. And the dog seems to be driving, you should photoshop the driver's left arm in the colour of the dog's hair  ;D

Thanks Harry!

The summit was amazingly quiet. When I first arrived, a group (Pacific Coast Trail) was just leaving. That left 3 guys in sleeping bags (they had just done the mountaineers route and were exhausted), one other hiker and me. For quite some time there was complete silence as I stood looking 360 degrees around me! Usually in June, Whitney has some snow/ice that keeps a lot of people away until July. This year did not produce much snow and consequently we did not need ice-axe or crampons. The Trail Camp (12,000 ft.) was awesome with a running stream for drinking water. And yes, regarding the pic of the dog w/sunglasses, you read my mind using Photoshop on the man’s arm. When I first came upon the vehicle, I could not see the man…only the dog. I gave them both a big thumbs up!


Roger

Great TR and pix! You give a nice detailed itinerary for anyone wanting to climb Mt Kinabalu.

MC  :)
« Last Edit: Jun 15 2007, 02:29 by mc »
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jedi-knight

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MC, looks like you are ready for Kili   :)

Roger, there is another route up Kinabalu, via Mesilau....you can ascend via Mesilau which is about 2 km longer in distance, and descend via Timpohon. The Mesilau route is more scenic.

Here's the highest working telephone booth in Southeast Asia  :)

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MvdB

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Nice stories everyone :), I'm rather jealous right now, since I gotta sit home and study, to finish the last 2 weeks of uni.But after that its vacation.

Which means that I'll attempt:Vf Omul(2505m), Vf Scara(2422m), Vf costila(2490m)  in romania, while trekking throught the country. Altho, the mountains might change, depending on the time me and my brother have.

and after that 2.5 weeks in swiss.Which will be the first time in the mountains for my Girlfriend, so no real high or tough peaks, but mainly aiming at the following:
first week: Piz Cagniel(2970m),  Piz Forbesch(3262m), and after that, I might take any of the following Piz Platta(3392m), Piz Ciguogi(3333m), Piz Calderas(3397m) or Piz Surgonda(3196m).
After that I'll move to another part of swiss and gonna do some more climbing for 1.5 weeks, and aiming at these peaks: Elsighorn (2341m), Männliflue(2652m), Dundenhorn(2862M) and maybe others around that area(depending on how much my GF likes it, and how much she can handle).

So for now, all I could post are pics of Physics books :P in a few weeks there should be some other photo's
« Last Edit: Jun 18 2007, 03:27 by MvdB »
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