Conquering Carrauntoohil- The Complete Checklist

We're gearing up to launch Portwest – The 10 Peaks Challenge and in honour of this we wanted to give you our checklist to help you climb the highest peak in Ireland, the iconic Carrauntoohill.

Statistics from our friends at suggests approx. 25,000 of you climb Carrauntoohil every year. Standing tall at 1,038 meters, this majestic mountain in County Kerry is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts and seasoned mountaineers alike. But before you hit the trail, let's talk about your route and then your checklist. There are 3 main routes to reach the summit.


  • Devil's Ladder Route: The Devil's Ladder is the most direct and most popular route up Carrauntoohill. Starting from Cronin's Yard, this trail is approximately 12km round trip. Despite its popularity, it's not to be underestimated. The 'ladder' is a steep gully filled with loose scree and boulders, which can be challenging to navigate.


  • Brother O'Shea's Gully Route: This route also starts at Cronin's Yard but veers away from the Devil's Ladder path to ascend via Brother O'Shea's Gully. It's a longer and less crowded route, offering splendid views of Hag's Glen. This path is about 13km round trip.


  • Coimín na Péiste Route (The Zig-Zags): This is another alternative to the Devil's Ladder, and it's considered to be a safer but slightly more challenging route. The Zig-Zags, as the name suggests, ascend in a series of back-and-forth switchbacks up the mountain's northeastern face. This route also starts from Cronin's Yard and is roughly 13km round trip.


You’ll need a good level of fitness for each route and you should only attempt in good weather, as conditions on Carrauntoohill can change rapidly. It's also important to note that all these trails cross private land at their start and finish points, so please respect the landowners and follow the Leave No Trace principles.


And now for your checklist: 


Clothing & Footwear

Your first step, pun intended, to a successful climb is a pair of reliable hiking boots. These should be waterproof, supportive, and above all, comfortable. The terrain on Carrauntoohill is diverse, with steep rocky paths, grassy slopes, and potential boggy areas. Trust us, your feet will thank you.



Backpack Essentials

You'll need a sturdy backpack to carry your gear. Pick one with a rain cover or a waterproof bag as showers can come and go in the blink of an eye.




    First Aid Essentials

    Now, strictly speaking, you could argue food and water are not items you'd usually find in your first aid kit but you could soon find yourself in a rescue situation without them.



      Remember, this is just a starting point. Depending on the time of year, weather conditions, and your personal requirements, you might need to adjust this list. However, no matter how well-equipped you are, never underestimate the mountain.


      Carrauntoohill is a challenging climb, but with the right gear and a respect for Mother Nature, it's an adventure you'll never forget. So, gear up, get out there, and conquer the mountain! Keep an eye on our social media to follow Portwest - The 10 Peak Challenge.


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