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Great Gully Ridge,Glenmalure

Glenmalure-topo-GreatGully-single

Glenmalure-topo-GreatGully-single2

Was out getting some photos of John and Theo climbing Great Gully Ridge in Glenmalure yesterday. Took hundreds of shots, the weather was perfect, crisp and sunny with mostly clear skies and a little cloud.

Taking good topo shots is a bit of  a black art. To get the right light and the perfect angle can take a lot of trial and error. I had originally planned to use a shot taken from the steep scramble to the base of the route – the first shot – but on the walk out I took the second shot. (NOTE the lines drawn in both topos are approximate).

As a rule I try and take overview and topo shots from the walk in, this makes it as easy as possible for the user to orient themselves without doing some complicated 3d mapping in their head to match up features. Often the angle from the walk in isn’t the best in terms of clearly showing the line or it can lack a little aesthetically.  These issues need to be balanced to come up with the best shot possible.

In the case of Great Gully, photo1 is quite straight on and it doesn’t hint at the stepped nature of the ridge, in fact it’s impossible to make out the level sections of the ridge at all.  However it probably shows the three crux sections (the initial corner, the cracked slab and the headwall) more clearly. So it’s hard to choose between the two, having said this I think that photo 2 is probably the one to use.

Great Gully is a brilliant climb and seems quite popular, a lot of people seem to do it in shite weather for some reason as training for the alps or something but it’s definitely best enjoyed on a day like yesterday. It’s a little tricky to describe pitch by pitch and everyone seem to climb it slightly differently, belaying in different places, pitching some sections, moving together. The headwall section has confused a few people, I think this is largely because the description in the Wicklow guide describes the original pitch first, referring to the way it’s climbed nowadays as a variation.

Thoughts on the route and how to describe it welcome, which topo do people prefer?