17th Annual Kerry Challenge 2013

115 walkers joined us Killarney for what was a very enjoyable and successful – though also windy and wet – Kerry Challenge. On Saturday, a range of walks of varying difficulty were on offer and were enjoyed by all. Pride of place on the weekend must surely must go to the sixteen walkers who made their first ascent of Carrauntoohil in very challenging conditions, led by John G O Dwyer, Winnie Flynn and Tom Lysaght. Ascending by the O Shea’s Gully route and descending by the Devil’s Ladder, they had to battle gale force winds and rain at the summit, but all made it and had a day they will long remember. Jimmy Duggan led a group of about twenty on a most enjoyable low level walk taking in the natural beauty and the stories of the Muckross Estate and Killarney National Park. Ray Creaney led a long, six hour, moderate level walk on the magnificently scenic Old Kenmare Road where great fun was had by all. Josephine Tobin, with twelve hardy mountaineers, hoped to complete the three highest peaks in Ireland, but the high winds meant a change of route and instead they did an enjoyable walk in the Gap of Dunloe. Jim Finn with a group of twenty climbed Purple Mountain, but had to avoid the summit in the conditions. Finally, Dan Condren, Cathal McNicholas, Adam Challen and Tim Mounsey got a chance to practice their winter climbing skills in Curved Gully leading to the summit of Carrauntoohil. With snow and ice in the gully, this was an unexpected opportunity to use ropes, ice-axes and crampons. Then on Sunday, ten walkers did the ‘Hangover Hike’ on Torc Mountain, having a most entertaining and varied walk.
Overall, the seventeenth Kerry Challenge was a great success. The social side of the event was as enjoyable as ever and the Castlerosse Hotel is always a great place to stay. And the funds raised will go to the National Council for the Blind and to Upperchurch Community Development Group to support the building of their climbing wall. The next charity challenge will be on the weekend of October 18th-20th in Clifden – another date for you diaries.