Project Mountain Goat – A Search for Summits
Well it's 2014!!! A new year, new goals, resolutions and projects. This year i found myself in need of a new project. Not that in previous years I didn't have any projects. For the last couple of years my main goal each year was to climb (rock climb) more new rock routes than the previous year. Being a climber this of course was an enjoyable goal which took me to many different areas near and far, climbing hundreds of routes. Sadly in 2013 i failed my goal of climbing more routes than in 2012. Not because i was lazy par-say. Not that the best Irish summer in many years prevented me from climbing..no no no! It was a loss of interest in the goal itself. After chasing this goal each year since 2006 i thought a new goal or project was needed this year! And so i found myself cast into a new year without a project or big goal to drive towards..until now 🙂
In the early hours in the morning at the start of January 2014 i was sitting at my computer. A mess of excel sheets and emails open before me…ok i won't lie, Facebook was open in a tab too. Either way, while looking through old files i found an excel sheet of all the Irish mountains above 600 metres, with a tick beside those summits i had climbed. I thought to myself, "my god i remember this list". The list was started way back in 2003 in my early hill walking days but somewhere along the way i totally forgot about it. An idea then started to form.
To understand this idea that was forming rather too fast for my liking, you must first understand a few things about mountains, Irish mountains. Not that they're often cloud covered, wet, bog riddled and plentifully, but that there are "class" or "categories" of hills and mountains. The two main categories that we seem to use here are the "Vandeleur-Lynams" and the "Arderins". The Vandeleur-Lynams are hills or mountains that are 600 metres or over with a drop of at least 15 metres on all sides. An Arderin is a hill or mountain of 500 metres or over with a drop of at least 30 metres on all sides. There are 269 Vandeleur-Lynams and 404 Arderins. A summit of course could actually fall under both categories also. Have I lost anyone yet? Are you all keeping up? I'm pretty sure you see where this is going!
So long story short, after counting the summits, they are in total 453 (correct me if i am wrong please) summits in Ireland (North & South) that are a Vandeleur-Lynam, an Arderin or both. 453 summits! Hmmm. "2 years", i thought to myself. "I could climb all 453 summits over 2 years." Then with a little thought i figured that was "too doable!" "1 year", i said! 1 year, as in 12 months, as in 365 days. "Now that's a challenge my good man, a project!" The start date was yet to be determined. The idea simply kept swirling around my head. "1 year – 453 summits"…"oh lord what am I about to do?"
Now maybe I'm having an early mid-life crisis or something. After all i am turning 30 this year, yikes! Or maybe I'm simply mad, lost my marbles, whatever the reason, the project appeals to me to no end. It's a throw back to my hill walking days, the reason i got into all this climbing nonsense in the first place :p It all started with hill walking. I honestly do think it's possible though and so "Project Mountain Goat" is a go as of today, 10/01/2014. Now i do realise there is a considerable chance of failure when you think about a few factors like: Work commitments, social commitments, sitting on my mighty fine backside commitments. Or even the cost of this project. I, like most on our fine Isle, am broke. Then there is the weather, or possible injury that may slow me down. So with all these considerations, 1 year or 12 months or 356 days suddenly got shorter.
On so, without further ado, further chit chat, further bending the ear off anyone that will listen… This evening i will start with the "Great Sugar Loaf". An Arderin of 501 metres will be my first summit in the Project. It will be an ascent in the dark with some friends to kick it all off! Long days are ahead; this evening will be an easy stroll in the park compared to some of the routes that i have planned. I will GPS track all the routes, take a photo of my big beautiful face on each summit and hopefully by 09/01/2015 i will have completed Project Mountain Goat. I will also be updating my progress on two different websites used to track peak bagging: www.hill-bagging.co.uk and www.mountainviews.ie
Wish me luck and watch out for the next blog post!
aka Mountain Goat
aka Log-Boy (that's for you John)