Death on Mountain

Apr 7, 1994 | Archive

The body of a young man in his 20’s was discovered by a group of climbers at the bottom of Curved Gully, the steepest part of the 3,400 foot climb near the top of Carrauntoohil yesterday evening. It is the location where three Cork climbers came down in an avalanche of snow about five years ago. They escaped with bruises and broken bones, as they came down in an ever-growing snowball. When the Cork climbers were being removed by helicopter to Tralee General Hospital, a young Dublin doctor was killed when she fell to her death near the popular Devil’s Ladder route to the summit.

The lone climber’s death is the first fatal accident on the mountain in 1994. The body was stretchered by the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team from Cummeenoughter about 2,000 feet above sea level on the North side of Carrauntoohil and arrived at the bottom of the mountain around 11 o’clock last night. It is believed the dead man had a serious fall on the North face of the mountain and could have fallen anything from 200 feet to 1,000 feet in an area where there are sheer cliffs up near the summit. However there is no part of it that would give an unbroken fall.

No identity was made on Wednesday night when the Rescue Team arrived down, however there was speculation that the youth with fair hair was Irish and a solo climber. There was no report of anyone being missing in the area at the time. He suffered severe head injuries and multiple fractures. Enquiries will continue by Killarney Gardaí in the next few days to find anyone who may have met the youth on the climb.

The accident happened within the last day or two, but results will not be conclusive until the post mortem has been carried out. Four climbers from UCC were on the mountain yesterday when they discovered the body. They returned immediately and raised the alarm around 4 o’clock. The Gardaí were contacted and the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team under the control of Tim Long set out around 5 o’clock with fourteen men to search for the dead man. They kept radio communication with base and reached the body around 8 o’clock last night.

Luckily most of the bad weather had lifted yesterday but underfoot conditions on the mountain were very muddy as a result of the heavy snow and wind experienced over the past week. The Team made every effort to get beyond the treacherous ground of the mountain before darkness set in. The body was removed by the Rescue Team and the Gardaí to Tralee General Hospital, where a post mortem was carried out.

Gardaí in Killarney, who are investigating the matter, said that they had received no reports of a missing climber. Reports state that he was suitably clothed. There was no car or no indication that a climber was on the mountain. Sergeant Jack McGrath of Killarney was on the scene during the rescue.