Carrauntoohil (Carrantuohill) hike with Caher

Carrauntoohil, also Carrantuohill (Irish Corrán Tuathail), is specified at 1039 to 1041 m at peak height and is the highest mountain of Ireland.

Although this is even lower than the highest peak of the Fichtel Mountains, but it must be remembered that my starting point for this hiking trip is almost at sea level (30 m).

Overnight stay and Beakfast in the Black Valley Hostel

Yesterday I was hiking through the Killarney National Park and over 40 kms. I wasn`t in a good condition, but the “bed” swept my decision to wait one more day for the Carrauntoohil hike. The night passed astonishingly without any problems and I get the breakfast ordered yesterday as well as march catering, which makes me feel right.

Time for climbing Carrauntoohil

Today on 5.9.2015 it should be the day for hiking up Carrantuohill and I start my attempt to climb the highest mountain in Ireland.
At 9 o’clock I run, back to the Black Valley Valley. The weather is dry and often sunbeams are bathing the environment in warm colors.

Past the first Lough I reach a small collection of little houses. Here it goes on a paved path up to suddenly the previously good mood and idyll come to an end quickly and loud …

Freezed in shock

Three kennels with barking dogs. At second glance, I realize that these are – fortunately – chained. However, they are all extremely aggressive and do not stop barking at all.

I think it’s really great that the biggest mutt from the front has his hut right on the road and his chain is very long. Most likely at least to the other side, which precludes passing, at least without attack. Startled by the immensely loud yapping, another dog is coming from above, walking around freely, straight towards me.

He barks and keeps walking a few steps closer. Barks, runs, barks, runs until he stands no more than two meters in front of me.

A scenario that I honestly dislike. Since the dogs began to bark, I simply stopped, just looked out of the corner of my eye and behaved completely unobtrusively.

Nevertheless, now stands a dog-enemy directly growling in front of me and three more bark what the stuff holds. I am impressed and turn around.

Carrauntoohil (Carrantuohill) in IrelandCarrauntoohil (Carrantuohill) in Ireland is a great mountain to hike

Irish hiking

Back at the junction I open a gate and from here begins “walking in Irish”.

Varied and exactly to my taste. Pretty cool. The only downside is the many gates and different opening mechanisms that cost time.

A good 10 km I was in the Black Valley behind me until it goes up to Curraghmore Lake. Therefore, the walls are already unmistakably towering almost vertically.

From 50 meters altitude it goes to the lake on about 300 meters. The mountain range in front of me is just under 1000 hm. Still questions Shaft?

Speaking of Irish: There are definitely many ways to go, so anyone who is somehow feasible. Nothing is forbidden and you are looking for a signage in vain. So far I only knew such “states” from the tours on Tenerife.

The lake has light swell due to the strong wind and I am looking for the best ascent option. From a distance, I did a job that seemed feasible to me. For these I finally decide and go on the way there.

Carrauntoohil (Carrantuohill) in Ireland is a great mountain to hike
Carrauntoohil (Carrantuohill) in Ireland is a great mountain to hike

Wet, slippery and anything but safe

Cross country without real routing and on his own decisions, I already knew. I also know what I can trust and when it’s time to turn back.

However, the conditions here are very exhausting and make the higher coming unpredictable.

Every step and step must be highly concentrated, careful and thoughtful. Very often I slip away or a supposed grip for added security does not hold or I slide off. It also happens that I am wrong and supposedly safe, large stones move under load and fall down.

A reversal possible?

It shoots through my head for just a second, but reversing is futile and more dangerous than fighting high here. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on its strengths, to mobilize all forces and to continue to climb higher.

As I get past the slippery stone passage, it gets a bit flatter as I cross to the right, but the problems do not diminish. The grass is moist and offers conditionally safe footing. Shortly I recognize weak footprints, probably more from the sheep up here than from humans. Sweaty, I fight on all fours crawling upwards. I find this technique the safest and had also proven on Riffa in extreme terrain. There is a little bit of security.

With the last of my strength I reach the summit ridge, which leads to Caher, Irish Cathair (1001 m), to the right.

Happy about new acquaintances …

An angelic “Hi” comes from the left to my ears. Lovely and warm at the same time it came from a girl who has chosen a different ascent with her two companions.

Janice, Mark and Paddy are joined by another Spaniard, who lives with Mark and goes on holiday. In addition to English I can even speak some Spanish.

Together we continue our way to the Caher, the third highest mountain in Ireland, and finally to the Carrauntoohil.

Carrauntoohil in Ireland
Carrauntoohil (Carrantuohill) in Ireland is a great mountain to hike

Summit ridge with impressive views

The interplay of the sun and clouds is always glances down into the valley on both sides freely. “Amazing” and “gorgeous” as Janice finds. I can only associate myself with…

The path here on the ridge is good to walk, even if it goes over hill and dale until we finally make it.

On the highest point of the green island

Top of Carrauntoohil at 1:15 pm. So I needed a good 4 hours for the ascent.

It is very windy and busy. Although today is Saturday, so weekend, but the hiking or climbing of Carrauntoohil seems to be a real favorite activity of the Irish. Whether young or old, you meet up here.

The view back to the Caher illustrates the impressive summit ridge on the way here, the one to the rise-up to us five- actually nobody chooses, at least “flow” people only from the other side of the valley up.

While we are equipped accordingly and after the obligatory summit photos protection from the cool wind and make snack, I see many who make me shake my head …

Without backpack with food or only in very short pants and T-shirt. But more on that later and no lady, there are even more women than guys running around like this 😉

What a coincidence?!?

Due to the changing conditions and the arduous ascent, my original plan to run back to the other peaks in the Black Valley Valley does not really appeal to me anymore.
Although Paddy shows me the path again and gives me additional information, but …


Can not be, I do not believe my eyes. One of the two ladies with whom I talked extensively in the kitchen yesterday is standing in front of me and as we wave to each other, I see that the older of the two has also walked up. Unbelievable, but true and it should be even better.
They are up over the Devil’s ladder and will take the Zig-Zags down.

They parked their car in the valley at Cronin’s Yard and would be happy to take me with them.

Almost with tears of joy in my eyes, I gratefully accept and agree that I will comfortably descend and wait below, which I do after saying goodbye to my short-term friends as well.

Carrauntoohil (Carrantuohill) in Ireland is a great mountain to hike

Zig-Zags – Not an easy descent

For the first few meters, three guys overtake me, without rucksacks and in short clothing. I have time and therefore run relaxed behind. Not five minutes later, I see the three again.

One of them is on the ground. Completely finished with the world, cheese white and obviously a circulatory collapse.

I “sacrifice” one of my fruit slices and water. Previous behavior or not, drinking and sugar to replenish the energy reserves seems to me the only remedy for the present problem. Then I continue my way.

The Zig-Zags are popular ascent and descent, but then they go endlessly. However, they are clearly recognizable at first and just a clear “mountain trail”.

I should take almost as long as Cronin’s Yard, as for the ascent.

Conclusion of my tour on the Carrauntoohil

It is very special to climb these peaks and the freedom in hiking and its paths is surprising. But that’s the way to go to Ireland.

In rainy or poor visibility, my chosen ascent is certainly a dangerous undertaking.

Together with yesterday’s 37 km, today’s 20 kilometers were the hardest I’ve ever walked. Not only physically, but especially in the ascent due to the slippery conditions also very mentally demanding. But “I did it” as the lady said 😉

Once again, I would not tackle the hike, but hike from another starting point over the Caher to the Carrauntoohil, and then, assuming good visibility, descend over the long mountain range into the Black Valley.

Although a big challenge, but it should always be an increase possible. Otherwise life is boring 😉

Keep on rockin’guys and stay safe.


Route overview and profile of the hike on the Carrauntoohil, Ireland