Peak fitness needed for Kerry mountain challenge

One of Ireland’s top mountain guides has launched what’s being billed as one of the toughest and most exhilarating outdoor challenges ever staged in an Irish mountain range.

Piaras Kelly of Kerry Climbing who is organising the Ultimate High Peaks Challenge in Kerry on July 11.

KerryClimbing.ie founder, Piaras Kelly, announced details yesterday of the inaugural Killarney’s Ultimate High Peaks Challenge which will see participants trek 25km of stunning, wild, rugged mountain terrain over 14 of Ireland’s highest summits — all in one day.

The July 11 event will see participants traversing the Gap of Dunloe, over the dramatic MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, and scaling Ireland’s highest mountain, with a total height gain of more than 2,450 meters.

The summit of Ireland’s highest mountain Carrauntoohill in Co Kerry, which will form part of the 25km challenge.

Participants, who must have a good level of fitness and be confident tackling steep, rough and rugged ground, will be expected to self-navigate along a pre-planned marshalled route in terrain described by Lonely Planet as “a must do on everyone’s bucket list”.

The challenge should take between 10 and 12 hours to complete and route marshals may ask people to quit early if they feel they are struggling.

Mr Kelly, a guiding and adventure activity provider based in Kerry, said he wanted to create a major mountain event for mountain enthusiasts.

“This is not a race — it’s a challenge event, where participants will trek and traverse using their personal navigational skills, fitness, determination and stamina, and enjoy their day on the most magnificent and challenging mountain range in Europe,” he said.

“We are privileged to have such a beautiful landscape to enjoy and share. Kerry is the adventure hub of Ireland, and this challenge is the ultimate way of showcasing our magnificent scenery, and for like-minded people to enjoy a wonderful day on the mountains.”

Registration and sign-in will take place at Cronin’s Yard, at the entrance to the Hag’s Glen, the traditional starting point for ascents of Ireland’s highest mountain range.

People will be given starting times and then transferred by bus to the start point at the Gap of Dunloe.

The route takes in Knockbrinnea, Beenkeragh ridge, the 1,040m summit of Carrauntoohil, Cnoc na Toinne Cnoc an Chuillinn, Cnoc na Péiste-The Big Gun, Cnoc an Bhreaca, Purple Mountain and Tommies Mountain before finishing at Kate Kearney’s Cottage.

Showers will be available at the finishing point, before an ‘Apres Reeks’ party and barbecue kicks off, during which event medals will be presented. n Registration for the July 11 event, which costs €95, is now open at www.killarneypeakschallenge.com

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