It’s not many people that can say they look out at their country’s highest mountain every day but I do, from home and work. And do I take it for granted? Yes I do! I should be more appreciative but yet it’s just a mountain isn’t it? No, it’s Carrantoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain I should be in awe that I get to see it every day.
Just to look though and not to climb every day!!! It is a mountain that is not to be underestimated. The name “Carrauntoohil” derives from the Irish language Corrán Tuathail, meaning “Tuathal’s sickle”. It has many different spellings such as Corran Tuathail, Carrauntoohil also spelt Carrantuohill.
When we are first contacted by people wishing to climb to the summit, we always recommend a guide. Never to go alone or without being sufficiently equipped. The mountains of Kerry are not high by international standards and attract thousands of people each year but nevertheless they should not be underestimated as they can be unforgiving for even the most experienced and well-prepared climbers. Severe weather conditions can set in inside minutes and navigation can be difficult at the best of times due to a scarcity of obvious paths and tracks.
Carrauntoohil is no beginner’s mountain however it is a climb of that should be within the capacity of anyone with reasonable fitness. A climb that also involves some scrambling. Weather conditions are the biggest threat when climbing and can change instantly which should be prepared for and anticipated.
Generally a day on Carrauntoohil takes approximately 6-7 hours and equipment required is:
- Strong walking boots, ideally waterproof, giving ankle support and good grip
- Suitable socks (and changes of socks)
- Warm trousers (not jeans), warm sweaters and spares in case they should get wet
- Waterproof (ideally breathable) and windproof coat/jacket and waterproof overtrousers
- Gloves and hat to cover ears (non-summer walking)
- Shorts, sun hat and sunglasses (for sunny days)
- Personal first aid (plasters/band-aid, aspirins, etc.) and insect repellent and sunscreen
- Day sack (back pack) to carry food and extra clothing (a plastic liner is useful)
- Water bottle and Thermos flask, packed lunch and snacks
For underlayer garments, a wicking material is more suitable than cotton. A number of light layers is preferable to one heavy layer.
So remember, don’t climb alone or underequipped and let us provide you with the professional guide to make sure that your experience on Ireland’s highest mountain is a safe one.