The hostel sits in a great location for climbing – Llŷn Peninsula lies to the west, the cliffs of Tremadog lie to the east and the central Snowdonia mountains lie to the north.
As with any outdoor activity, climbing is dependent on the weather; the winter months yielding fewer favourable days than the summer. However, the difference in weather conditions and temperature between the mountains and the coast is often dramatic. So, even if the Llanberis Pass is hidden by torrential rain (or snow), Tremadog, or the Llŷn Peninsula will often be dry and sunny.
Our advice would be to keep an eye on the weather, but make plans to go to the mountains when you feel you can or to the coast when you fancy and hopefully luck will be on your side and the rapidly changing micro-climates will deliver dry rock and good conditions every time you go out.
For more up-to-date information regarding access to these climbs or seasonal restrictions, please consult the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) Regional Database.
Tremadog (15-20 mins from hostel)
This climbing area is one of the most reliable areas for good weather. It is also easily accessible, both in its distance from the hostel (only a couple of miles) and its distance from the road (the main cliffs are grouped together and are all close to the road). There are high quality routes, a mixture of grades and excellent quality rock (Tremadog dolerite).
Craig Bwlch y Moch has many classic multi-pitch routes up to 250ft. It is therefore often busy with climbers driven off the Llanberis pass by the weather. The bottom of the crag is quite overgrown so you need to plan where you wish to climb before you attempt to beat a path to it. Abseiling in is an option.
Craig Pant Ifan is quieter than Bwlch y Moch, and is well worth the effort of the longer and steeper walk-in. The Upper Tier is popular with groups, the Scratch area sees most action and Strangeways and Hogmanay Buttresses are quiet.
Craig y Castell (1km west of Pant Ifan) is again one of the quieter areas of the Tremadog climbing area. It has some classic single-and multi-pitch routes up to 220ft. With lower grades and perfect rock, it is ideal for the weekend climber.
Craig y Gesail is the most westerly of the Tremadog crags and also the least frequented area. Although there are some good routes, lower parts of the buttresses can be overgrown with vegetation. The normal approach is to abseil in from the top.
Moel y Gest Quarry lies on the other side of the quarry and has a choice of good sport climbs. There are seasonal nesting restrictions in place for this area and you should check the BMC regional access database for restriction details.
Llŷn Peninsula (30min – 1hr from hostel, depending on location)
Most crags are coastal although there are some quarries for more traditional climbing. The environment is interesting and wild.
If you follow the narrow, twisting, hedge-lined roads to the south coast of the peninsula, you’ll find the imposing cliffs of Cilan Head (climbs up to E7). Experience, skill and nerve are required to tackle many of the routes in this area and the ‘Vul-ture’ and ‘Path to Rome’ provide an example of some of the best climbs of their type in Britain.
If you’re looking for mid-grade climbs of up to 700ft then the north-westerly facing shore of the peninsula is perfect.
More traditional routes can be found on Mynydd y Graig in Rhiw and the quarries on the Abersoch side of Mynydd Tir y Cwmwd at Llanbedrog.
Llanberis (45 min from hostel)
The Llanberis Pass is undoubtedly one of the finest and most atmospheric places to climb in the whole of the UK, with many classic and famous climbs.
The north side of the mountain valley is very popular, although the sunny roadside crags require multi-pitch competence and the ability to ascend and descend steep scree.
The south side tends to sit in shadow and is generally better suited to the summer months, as the rock can be slow to dry. These crags offer big and occasionally serious routes.
The Dinorwig Quarries are an acquired taste – the clean slab walls, tiny holds and spaced protection takes a little getting used to, but once mastered can become addictive. This is however, not an area for the inexperienced or lower-grade climber.
Cloggy, also known as the cathedral of Welsh climbing, is a very impressive and exposed cliff (some 600 feet high) which holds a special place in the hearts of many British climbers. Situated at an altitude of 2200ft (beneath the summit of Snowdon), the rock climbing season is usually limited to the summer months. Multi-pitch competence is a must.
Adjacent to the Snowdon massif, Cwm Silyn and Cwellyn are much quieter – even in summer many of the crags will be deserted. The area offers the typical mountain crag experience, with big routes and plenty of exposure.
Located upon the Snowdon Horseshoe ridge, the magnificent crag of Lliwedd is in fact the biggest to be found in both Wales and England. At 1000 feet high it has plenty of climbs for the mountaineers amongst you – often lower grades, but more than enough to keep you interested and on your toes.
Porth Ysgo, near Hell’s Mouth, is one of the best bouldering venue in North Wales. The coarse dolerite provides excellent grip, although when the weather is warm, it can be a little unforgiving on bare skin. The landings are rocky, and require a group of attentive spotters and plenty of pads to avert danger. The nearby Trwyn Talfarach, Bytylith, Porth Nefoedd and Mynydd y Graig offer more boulder opportunities on the same top quality rock.
While the more experienced climbers test their skill against the majestic cliffs of Cilan Head, the bouldering in the area is more accessible for the lower-grade climber.
In good weather, these areas get very hot (although it might not feel like it in the sea breeze). Remember to keep yourself properly hydrated and wear adequate UV protection. The main problem however, will be the tide. Plan your visit for low tide – but some areas will still be accessible at high tide.
Contact us to arrange your climbing adventure.