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Ascent of Carrauntoohil on 2019-07-09

Climber: Seán Caulfield

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Carrauntoohil
    Location:Ireland
    Elevation:3409 ft / 1039 m

Ascent Trip Report

AV was feeling sick for the past couple days and had to skip this hike, so I decided to get up early, hike up and aim to make it back in time for checkout from our Killarney hotel.

I had to detour to the only 24hour petrol station in the town to grab breakfast and snacks, then drove for around 30mins to the trailhead at Cronin's Yard. The first part of the hike up (4.7km with 315m elevation gain) was dispatched in 50mins; I was now at the foot of the infamous "Devil's Ladder".

The concerns I had read about the Devil's Ladder proved to be dramatically overblown, I found the trail to be easy by my standards and would have very little concern about rockfall even if there were other parties on the route above - the Ladder isn't that steep and a hiker would have to be extremely careless to knock a large enough rock downhill to do damage.

After reaching the top of the ladder I was now in the clouds, I followed the ridge to the summit cross past more sheep, just before topping oout I emerged from the clouds and could see a sea of clouds below, spectacular but it would also have been nice to have had a clear view. I was surprised to meet one other hiker on the summit, we chatted for a minute before he headed off down toward the Devil's Ladder.

I decided to descend via O'Shea's Gully, as I had heard it was shorter and possibly easier than the Ladder. I made a slight mistake and chose the incorrect gully (overly steep) to start, forcing me to traverse over a rock to reach to actual route. The gully was steep and full of scree down as far as a beautiful lake, then the route descended an open slope before requiring a couple of slightly exposed boulder hops / downclimbs / traverses. The route rejoined my path up after crossing a marshy section. I would definitely recommend the Devil's Ladder for inexperienced hikers, the only advantage I can think of with the gully is the extra lake!

I part hiked, part ran the remaining distance back to my car, meeting several parties headed up who couldn't believe I was on the way down already. I was back at my car just over 2hrs 45mins after setting out and easily made it back to Killarney for a shower before checkout, I even gave a ride to a French hitchiker who had just done a car drop and was planning a traverse from Black Valley.

It was great to finally tag the highest mountain in Ireland, but by BC standards it was nothing more than a trivial hike, although the views were unique and beautiful.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2940 ft / 896 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2940 ft / 896 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.6 mi / 12.3 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2940 ft / 896 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:Devil's Ladder
    Start Trailhead:Cronin's Yard  469 ft / 142 m
    Time:1 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2940 ft / 896 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 5.9 km
    Route:O'Shea's Gully
    End Trailhead:Cronin's Yard  469 ft / 142 m
    Time:1 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Seán Caulfield
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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