Carrauntoohil by the Devils Ladder
Commonly referred to as being the "tourist route" up Carrauntoohil the Devils ladder is also the most frequently used trail to summit Ireland's highest peak. The ladder is a very steep gully filled with loose scree and boulders. In recent years it has become badly eroded and is quite unstable in places. Great care needs to be exercised climbing. The climb begins at Cronin's Yard which is located at a cul de sac at the entrance to Hags Glen. A tea room, male and female shower facilities and ample car parking are all provided. Upon departing the yard follow the path until you meet the main Hags Glen track shortly after crossing the Gaddagh river. The level of the river can vary greatly depending on recent rainfall and crossing can be dangerous at times. From here the walk to the foot of the Devils ladder takes about 40 minutes along a path that becomes less distinct before you arrive at the ladder.
I climbed Carrauntoohil via the ladder yesterday. Conditions were quite wet and a large volume of water was flowing down its path. The very wet conditions of the past 2 years have greatly added to the erosion of the ladder and extreme care needs to be taken during ascent and especially descent. In addition one needs to stay alert to the danger of rocks being dislodged by other parties above you or onto parties below you. After arriving at the top of the ladder the remainder of the path to the mountain summit is along a somewhat steep long summit slope. Care is needed during poor visibility conditions not to wander of this path. Weather conditions can sometimes change dramatically at this stage of the climb especially in winter. On December 10th of 2008 conditions were somewhat icy in places but upon reaching the top of the ladder we walked into blizzard like conditions with more that 2ft of snow along parts of the slope. It gave a very Alpine feel to the place and battling against the forces of nature made reaching the summit all the more rewarding.