Ascent of Carrauntoohil on 1993-07-03

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, July 3, 1993
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:3409 ft / 1039 m

Ascent Trip Report

Saturday, July 3, 1993:

I woke up early, and, thinking I had paid for a breakfast when I had checked in yesterday, waited a bit for it to be served, only to discover that I hadn't paid for it--I'm not sure why. So I left the Killarney youth hostel and bought some snack food at a nearby Esso, then drove several miles along narrow lanes through the foothills of the Reeks to the main parking area for the trail to Carrantuohill. I was still early--only the third car there--and an old Irish farmer charged me 40 pence for parking and looking after my car, since the lot was right next to his house and barn.

I had trouble finding the start of the trail, and after snooping around finally had to ask the farmer for directions. It was sunny out, but the summits visible above were socked in totally. I easily hiked uphill into the Gaddagh River valley, then peeled off the trail to bushwhack up steep, scrubby/grassy slopes to the summit of Knockbrinnea (854 meters), just at the cloud line. After this exertion I had a very pleasant and enjoyable ridgewalk over Beenkeragh (1010 meters) to Carrantuohill. Although shrouded in cloud, it wasn't raining, and the ridge was just steep and narrow enough to be interesting without being dangerous. I met a peak-bagger guy on Beenkeragh, it being his last 3000-foot peak in Ireland. I congratulated him as we thought we saw sheep in the valley far below, at Lough Gouragh. The clouds parted a little bit, though, and we realized the white forms were actually people skinny-dipping.

On Carrantuohill (1039 meters, 3409 feet) there was a large cross and several hikers resting. I took a long rest, ate some food, kept waiting for the clouds to part, and talked to the others there, including the people I had seen swimming from over on Beenkeragh. The clouds almost did clear, I took some pictures, and finally left. I thought I'd return by the main trail, so made the very cloudy, windy but gentle descent to the col to the southeast, and then I hiked down the very steep, crumbling couloir of rotten rock called the Devil's Ladder, glad I hadn't come up that way. The fog and clouds had increased since I had left the top, so I finally broke free near the lakes in the basin below the peaks.

It was a very easy walk on the trail back to the car, passing an abandoned passenger tractor and the point where I had peeled off in the morning. I met a guy coming the other way who was wearing a Vail ski area hat--my usual hat was similar, with a Vail logo, but today was a rare day when I was wearing my straw wide-brimmed hat instead. He was from Colorado, and I chatted with him a bit, and was sorry we weren't going the same way, since we seemed to have a lot in common. After talking for about twenty minutes I told him of what to expect on the trail ahead and continued down to my car.

Glad to have bagged another country high-point, I left the parking area and drove north, planning to check out the famous and scenic Dingle Peninsula and its sea-cliffs.

The craggy summit of Ireland's high point. Photo by Leon Firth (1993-07-03).
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:358 ft / 109 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2933 ft / 893 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:358 ft / 109 m
    Start Trailhead:3051 ft / 929 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2933 ft / 893 m
    End Trailhead:476 ft / 145 m
Ascent Part of Trip: 1993 - Carrantuohill

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Knockbrinnea1993-07-03 a2326 ft / 709 m
2Beenkeragh1993-07-03 b591 ft / 180 m
3Carrauntoohil1993-07-03 c358 ft / 109 m
Total Trip Gain: 3275 ft / 998 m    Total Trip Loss: 2933 ft / 894 m

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