Mountaineering Ireland, Ireland’s National Governing Body (NGB) for hill-walkers and climbers, has urged all people who engage in hillwalking and climbing in Ireland and elsewhere in Britain to be extremely cautious during the current severe weather conditions. The recent severe cold and snow has encouraged many to get out and see our mountains at their most spectacular. The covering of snow, combined with clear blue skies, make for some of the best views of our mountains. The unusual winter conditions have allowed for ascents of routes that rarely form, and for new winter lines to be climbed. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering that the winter weather brings an extra element of seriousness to the mountain environment. With this in mind walkers and climbers are reminded to take all precautions and to choose routes which are appropriate to their level of experience and fitness.
The Chairperson of Mountaineering Ireland, Mr. Ruairí Ó Conchúir, stated the high mountains of counties Kerry, Cork, Galway, Mayo, Donegal, Down and elsewhere pose real dangers during the present winter Alpine conditions. He stated “Mountain safety is not about luck at any time of the year but especially so during the present winter conditions. Mountaineering Ireland urges only experienced mountaineers to take to the high mountains and to do so only with the appropriate equipment, training and experience. We would hope to avoid a repeat of winter tragedies of recent years and we will only achieve this through a better awareness by all users of the risks involved in winter mountaineering”
Mr. Karl Boyle, newly appointed Chief Officer of Mountaineering Ireland commented, “Even for those well equipped and experienced in mountaineering techniques, the mountains can still be an inhospitable and unforgiving place where accidents are always possible. In the current severe weather conditions people should pay attention to the direction of the Irish Mountain Rescue Teams, Met Éireann and An Garda Síochána and avoid endangering themselves or members of the emergency services.”
Mountaineering Ireland urges all members of public who use upland areas to observe national and local weather warnings. The dangers posed to individuals involved in mountaineering together with the danger to the volunteer members of mountain rescue teams from unnecessary callouts should be borne in mind at all times. A full list of safety advice is available on the Mountaineering Ireland website here.
Anyone who is interested in walking in the Irish hills, including tourists, can contact the Mountaineering Ireland for advice at their office or by visiting www.mountaineering.ie where information on all aspects of mountaineering is available, including best practice guidelines, training courses and details of local clubs to help people have a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience.