Devil's Ladder Route
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The traditional tourist route up the mountain, the
Devils Ladder route has now become badly eroded in places
and the Devils Ladder gully itself demands care due to its
loose condition. Allow 6 hours for the round trip.
ROUTE DESCRIPTION SHOULD ONLY BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH ONE
OF THESE MAPS:
Harvey 'Superwalker' 1:30,000 "MacGillycuddy's
Ordnance Survey Ireland 1:50,000 Discovery Series Sheet 78
Ordnance Survey Ireland 1:25,000 Map MacGillycuddy's Reeks
Please note dogs are not permitted on Carrauntoohil. Please respect
the wishes of the local landowners - without their goodwill, access
to the mountain would not be possible. Thanks.
Start at either Lisleibane (Grid Ref. V827873) or Cronins
Yard (Grid Ref. V837873). From Lisleibane follow the obvious track
into the Hags Glen. Alternatively, from Cronins Yard
follow the path until you meet the main Hags Glen track
shortly after the Gaddagh River crossing (Grid Ref. V827864).
Continue into the Hags Glen, crossing the ford at Grid
Ref. V821854 (demands care after prolonged heavy rain) and passing
between Loughs Gouragh and Callee. After ascending a short rise
the path becomes less distinct as it crosses an area of waterlogged
ground before arriving at the foot of the Devils Ladder.
The Devils Ladder itself is a steep gully filled with loose
scree and boulders. It is now quite unstable in places and care
should be taken, particularly when icy or in wet weather. Although
it is tempting to leave the bed of the gully for what appears
to be better ground on the flanking slopes (particularly in descent)
this should be avoided. Stay alert to the risk of rocks being
dislodged by other parties above you, or onto other parties below
In recent years severe erosion has occurred on the Devil's
Ladder itself, particularly in the upper section, and there is
a significant amount of loose rock and scree present therefore
caution should be exercised. Whilst many people continue to use
the route safely, others have started to use the old "Bothar
na Gige" zig-zag route on the flank of Cnoc na Toinne as
an alternative. It should be pointed out that this route is not
without its dangers either, particularly in wet or icy conditions,
and there have been a number of accidents there in recent times
as a result of simple slips. It also involves a significant amount
of extra ascent in the overall climb compared to the Devil's Ladder
itself. Although it is a very old route, Bothar na Gige had fallen
into disuse until fairly recently, however since regaining a degree
of popularity it has also been subjected to a high degree of erosion
and is now loose and slippery in places.
At the top of the Devils Ladder bear right onto the long
summit slope of the mountain. From an initially vague appearance,
the track becomes more distinct as you gain height. Although it
branches in several places, all variations lead eventually to
the summit. In poor visibility beware of heading too far to the
left of the track and onto the dangerous ground above Curraghmore,
or too far to the right where a narrow track leads across the
face of the mountain towards the Heavenly Gates.
Return via the same route or the Brother OSheas Gully
BEWARE! The summit itself is surrounded by steep ground
and extreme caution is required when commencing your descent,
especially in poor visibility. Note that there are NO safe descent
routes anywhere to the North, Northeast, East or Southeast of
the summit. Always carry a map and a compass and have at least
one competent navigator in your group (ie. capable of accurate
navigation in all conditions, including white-out and darkness).
Initial descent bearings from the summit are as follows:
1) For the Devils Ladder, follow a magnetic bearing of 192°
until you meet the track, then follow it as it trends SE to the
top of the Devils Ladder.
2) For Brother OSheas Gully follow a magnetic bearing
of 230° for 50m before turning to 308° and descending
steeply towards the top of the gully
3) For Caher follow an initial magnetic bearing of 230° for
50m. Next follow 195° for approximately 200m before following
the rim of Coomloughra as it veers away to the right.
turn on/off route lines for the following images just
roll the cursor over each image.
- dotted lines show hidden section of route)
initial Hag's Glen approach to the Devil's Ladder (and
Brother O'Shea's Gully) route.
line of the Devil's Ladder itself, which demands care
(especially when icy or in wet weather).
up the slope of the Devil's Ladder
long drawn out summit slope of Carrauntoohil as seen from
the top of the Devil's Ladder. The path sub-divides many
times here but all variations lead eventually to the summit.
view from the Devil's Ladder back down into the Hag's
Glen showing Lough Gouragh and Lough Callee (photo
courtesy David Manzor)
view from the 'Back Ladder' towards the Bridia Valley
(photo courtesy Frank O'Connell)
summit cross of Carrauntoohil (photo
courtesy Frank O'Connell)
This information is provided in good faith and is believed to
be accurate. In deciding to use this route description you have
agreed that Kerry Mountain Rescue Team or the author of this
text cannot be held responsible in any way for the accuracy
of the information contained herein, or for any accidents which
occur to a person using this route description, howsoever caused.
Go to Brother O'Shea's Gully (Cummeenoughter)
Go to Caher (Coomloughra) Route