Wednesday, February 18, 2015
The best of both from the top of Ireland – Carrauntoohil
When people hear the word Carrauntoohil numerous thoughts go through their head.Thoughts such as so high and steep, challenging, hard work, tiredness, vigorous exercise, blood, sweats and maybe even tears. However…this is not the case…
I have climbed Carrauntoohil twice, the first time with my first year class group from college and the second time with 3 friends. On preparation for the climb I was thinking about the challenge that was ahead but excited at the same time. Although the day started with thick low lying fog as we walked to the foot of the mountain, it did not take long to clear and it was gorgeous. Clear blue skies with a very light breeze just enough to keep us cool. Extra caution had to be taken as the terrain is rather steep and loose in places but once each watched their own footing it made it safer and easier on the rest of the group. As we progressed along the route, the scenery was absolutely spectacular; it would just take your breath away. The lakes surrounding the base of Carrauntoohil are very relaxing; water so still, one’s shadow is reflected like a mirror. We took a number of breaks along the way and when you stop and turn around to see how far you’ve come it is really satisfying. Especially on the final quarter, when the cross at the top comes into view it’s a great feeling, the body was slightly tired at this stage but one final push got us up to the top. We all took off across the top to touch the steel cross on the peak. It was an amazing feeling and the view was mind blowing! The view of the acres and acres of land below us and the view across part of the Atlantic Ocean and the different town lands in county Kerry that were in view from the top was awesome! You could look so far into the distance and the stretch of the clear blue sky to the line of the horizon was incredible.
Some people may say that they’ve climbed Carrauntoohil once and that it’s ticked off the list and they wouldn’t do it again but for me it was different. The second time I climbed Carrauntoohil, the weather was dull and there were snow showers in the forecast. We were well equipped and had the right clothing. Approx. half way up we reached the snow and it was pretty amazing! It was my first time climbing in these snow conditions. I definitely got to experience the best weather conditions when climbing Carrauntoohil, from clear blue skies to snowcapped mountain it was amazingly breathtaking. Visibility was poor due to the snow showers and cloud but we had our navigating spot on so we didn’t have any worries of getting lost. It was a fascinating experience to summit Carrauntoohil in the snow. If you ever get the opportunity to go in these conditions with experienced guides I would encourage you to go.
Overall, the climb is challenging but the end result is a wonderful feeling. How many people can say they have climbed to the top of Ireland’s highest mountain? …Not too many! Will you challenge yourself to climb it and have it on your list of achievements??! Don’t rule it out thinking you won’t be able to do it. Go with an open mind and your adventure will be truly enjoyable!