On Thursday November 18th two dozen RTAI members set out to climb Mount Hillary, Co. Cork. The name Mount Hillary with echoes of Everest captured me, and in the thin air led my imagination somewhat astray….
…. At first light our excellent organiser left sea-level (Blackrock) and headed for Base-Camp 1 at the “Wild Goose” near Mallow. There the final acts of planning were put in place during the socially distanced coffee. About 10.30 word came from Base Camp 2 at the foot of the mountain that a window in the drizzle would allow a lightening advance on the summit. As the local Sherpa-bearers were on a “leath-lá”, we would have to carry our own baggage. Undaunted under experienced leaders, Máiréad & Nora, the assault began. A firm early pace blew away any cobwebs as we waxed upwards. Just below the cloud line we donned crampons for extra grip!! The nimble feet of Helen’s line-dancers were a bonus as the going got trickier. At last on the summit, knowing that water would not boil at such an altitude, cold grub renewed us. I was impressed by the climber who came armed with high-energy biscuits (chocolate Gold Grain!!!)
The tricky descent followed. I was of a group that spotted that rare Himalayan beast, a yeti, on the way down. Why some folk insisted it was a frog I’ll never know!
Ar an lámh eile de Mount Hillary is but a “lag iarracht” translation of Mullach Alláire which is understood to mean “Summit of partial deafness or echo”.
Being on the deaf spectrum myself, my Himalayan “flight of fancy” will hopefully be indulged, as the climbers reflect on a happy adventure in the long shadow of COVID-19
Seán Ó Callanáin