Ascent of Slieve Donard on 2009-10-10

Climber: Michael Ruddell

Date:Saturday, October 10, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Bus
Peak:Slieve Donard
    Location:UK-Northern Ireland
    Elevation:2799 ft / 853 m

Ascent Trip Report

Blazed right up the east side of the mountain from the coast, through tall trees and then squishy grasses and brambles about a foot high--sheep country. The route was rather steep. About halfway up we stopped a scratchy, dark ridge. The summit was northwest from here, over a wet marshy plain. Then the route became steep again. The grasses were much shorter but large boulders and jagged rocks required a bit of scrambling. Finally near the summit the ground levels and becomes a bit spare. At the same time we had come into the clouds for the first time and the hazy, steady trek up the final hill was pretty exhilarating. A large rock pile monument came into view, and behind it was the stone tower marking the summit. The two stone walls and paths that run up the sides of Slieve Donard ran down the opposite side and directly to the right of our route.

The weather was gusty and gray with clouds, but we could see the blue water and the coast below as the sun broke through. Another climber saw us arriving at the peak and said he'd never heard of anyone coming from our side of the mountain, which I believe--we didn't plan a route in advance and we never saw any trails of any kind. But that made it all the more enjoyable and challenging.

Having discovered the conventional path at the summit, we took it down the north side and back west through a valley--scenic and quite simple. Great weather day, full of sunshine.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2793 ft / 851 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2793 ft / 851 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2793 ft / 851 m
    Route:Direct from East
    Start Trailhead:Newcastle, Northern Ireland  6 ft / 1 m
    Time:2 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2793 ft / 851 m
    Route:Mourne wall to rock path
    End Trailhead:Newcastle, Northern Ireland  6 ft / 1 m
    Time:1 Hours 20 Minutes

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