Welcome to SP!  -
Diffwys
Mountain/Rock

Diffwys

 
Diffwys

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Snowdonia, Wales, Europe

Lat/Lon: 52.79151°N / 3.98675°W

Object Title: Diffwys

County: Gwynedd

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Bouldering

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 2461 ft / 750 m

 

Page By: Nanuls

Created/Edited: Jun 3, 2010 / Apr 15, 2011

Object ID: 626383

Hits: 2299 

Page Score: 90.13%  - 31 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

There are two summits known as Diffwys in the Rhinogydd. Those familiar with the range, as well as the nuances of the Welsh language, should not be surprised, since the name is reserved for those places that are considered to be wild, wastelands, high, steep, huge or awful. For the early inhabitants of this part of Meirionnydd, the Rhinogydd had all of these properties, and little has changed to this day.

The Diffwys of this page is the larger of the two, in fact, at 750 metres above sea level it’s the range’s second highest summit, and is located in the southern half of the range. Most will choose to climb the mountain with a combined trip to Y Llethr, and doing so creates a good, long hike, which boasts spectacular and diverse views of the surrounding countryside. For the geology nerds out there (of which this author is certainly one), among the highlights of this hike are the views of the Caerdeon Syncline, which is exposed on the mountain’s north western flank and is best viewed from the Crib-y-rhiw ridge.

Where Diffwys really shines though, is in what it offers to the rock and winter climber. Strung out along the shores of Llyn Bodlyn, a lake which had its waters raised by the construction of a dam in 1894, are the north facing crags of Craig Bodlyn, which at their western end, are higher than any other in the range. This is not a crag for those who prefer their climbing to be easily accessible; there’s no quick way to this spot, with prospective climbers faced with a choice of a long flat approach or a short steep one. Whichever option they choose, they will have to work up a sweat to complete it. Those who do make the effort will be rewarded with some of the longest grit routes in Britain as well as a large number of single pitch lines to boot. Don’t expect an easy time here though, there is only one route graded below Very Severe while the hardest line comes in at a very respectable E7 6c. Craig Bodlyn also holds the only recorded winter climbs in the Rhinogydd, though owing to the crag’s low altitude and close proximity to the sea, only the onset of a new ice age is likely to yield anything approaching favourable conditions.
The Rhinogydd. From left to right - Y Garn, Diffwys, Y Llethr, Rhinog Fach and Rhinog Fawr (Photo by Nanuls)

Routes

Rock Climbing


The climbing on Diffwys is split between two principle crags, namely Graig Bodlyn and the smaller Llawllech. Craig Bodlyn is by far the more complex of the two and is itself split into a number of smaller crags and buttresses.

Unless otherwise stated, routes are listed from left to right, and are graded and rated with the aid of the Climbers’ Club Guide to Meirionnydd, so for full descriptions, please refer to this source. The Climbers’ Club have also produced a free pdf, which provides details of first ascents recorded after 2001: download it here.

Please be aware that the Rhinog Range is a trad climbing venue and bolting is strictly prohibited. Routes are rated using the British Adjectival Grading System. Technical grades are generally only given to climbs graded adjectivally as Hard Severe (HS) or above. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available: download it here.

Route Symbols:
NO STARS A so-so route, neither good nor bad. Not unpleasant unless otherwise stated.
1 STAR A good route which is definitely worth a climb.
2 STARS A very good route, one of the best on the crag and well worthy of attention.
3 STARS An excellent route, one of the best in the area, and probably in Britain too.
NO RESTRICTIONS No Restrictions

Used to indicate that there are currently no restrictions, either seasonal, temporary or permanent, affecting a route.
RESTRICTIONS Restrictions

Used to indicate that there are restrictions, either seasonal, temporary or permanent, affecting a route. See the Red Tape and Access Section for more details.

Craig Bodlyn


Craig Bodlyn (SH 649 236) is the mother of all Rhinog crags and is fittingly described in the Climber's Club guide to the area as “a sort of Frêney amongst Fontainbleau”. It has in many places now succumb to the tendrilled advances of the local vegetation, and those wishing to climb some of the older routes may need to include a pair of secateurs on the rack. Fear not though, for theree are some clean walls to be found here too, and one of particular interest is the relatively recently developed Silver Screen.

The Silver Screen


Llyn Bodlyn
Llyn Bodlyn
(Photo by Nanuls)
Craig Bodlyn
The Silver Screen
(Photo by Nanuls)
Diffwys
Diffwys
(Photo by Nanuls)


The Silver Screen is the most leftward of Craig Bodlyn's crags, located some 100 metres east of the lake, nestled in a small bay a little above the valley floor. It is home to steep and brutish climbing.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
1. Fame Drain 18m 1 E3 5c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
2. Stars in Our Eyes 12m 1 E3 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
3. Silverback 11m 1 E7 6c 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
4. Anxiety 25m 2 E6 6b, 6a 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
5. The Silver Usurper 23m 1 E6 6b 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
6. R.H. 100% 20m 1 E6 6b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
7. Dynocology 21m 1 E6 6b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
8. Destiny 24m 1 E6 6b 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
9. Streaker 15m 1 E3 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
10. Gazump 5m 1 E1 6b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Six-Metre Wall


The name says it all – a short, hidden wall of beautiful clean grit. Routes are normally soloed and the landings are generally quite nice and soft. Find it by scrambling up heather from the left-hand end of the sloping terrace above the Silver Screen.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
11. Not-So-Soft 6m 1 HVS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
12. Get Laid Twice 6m 1 E2 6b 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
13. Silence Can Speak 6m 1 E2 6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
14. Wall-to-Wall Sunshine 5m 1 E1 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Crib-y-rhiw
Crib-y-rhiw
(Photo by Nanuls)
Y Llethr
Y Llethr
(Photo by Nanuls)
Moelfre
Moelfre
(Photo by Nanuls)


Bad Teeth Wall


Named after the man-made row of stones overhanging the left end of the crag. Find it by waling up from the Six-Metre Wall.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
15. Wild Around 9m 1 E1 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
16. The Wild Within 11m 1 E2 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
17. And Janet Street Porter Walked By 12m 1 E4 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
18. Duck! 20m 1 E2 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
19. Boys in Toys 20m 1 E1 5b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS


Forked Lightning Conductor Buttress


The buttress a little above and to the left of Bad-Teeth Wall. It can be identified by a prominent arête on its left hand side.

Craig Bodlyn (Photo by Nanuls)


No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
20. The Arête 15m 1 VS 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
21. Receding 12m 1 E4 5c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
22. Forked Lightning Conductor Crack 8m 1 E1 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
23. Watch Point 11m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
24. Impale Face 11m 1 E1 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


The Curl


A small cliff some 250 metres to the south of Forked Lightning Conductor Buttress. Routes are generally soloed due to a complete lack of gear, but fear not, the landings are nice and soft.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
25. Gaardevarre 10m 1 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
26. Finmark 10m 1 HVS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
27. Purple Rain 10m 1 E4 5c 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
28. Haircurler 10m 1 E4 5c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
29. The Bodlyn White 8m 1 E2 5c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
30. Rail to Oblivion 9m 1 E5 6a 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Main Crag


The biggest bit of rock on the right hand side (when looking in). Long routes with a fair amount of vegetation are the order of the day.

Craig Bodlyn Main Wall (Photo by Nanuls)


No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
31. Porky 78m 4 HVS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
32. Mochan 108m 5 VS 4c, 4a, 4c, 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
33. From the Rocks 80m 2 E4 5c, 6a/b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
34. Galium 98m 4 HVS 4a, 4c, 4c, 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
35. Inigo 95m 4 VS 4b, 4b, 4b, 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
36. Nardus 100m 4 VS 4b, 4c, 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
37. Man Is Fauna 95m 3 E4 4a, 6a, 5c 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
38. Mass Extinction 100m 3 E5 4c, 6a, 5b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
39. The Spade 103m 7 VS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
40. Srtictus 104m 5 E1 4b, 5a, 5b, 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
41. High Girdle 118m 6 E1 4c, 5a, 5a, 5b, 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
42. Certificated 24m 1 E4 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
43. Blacklist 25m 1 E5 6a 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS


Llawlech


Llawllech (SH 636 228) is located around half a kilometre to the south-west of Craig Bodlyn and provides a day's worth of good routes on nice clean rock.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
44. Lawless 15m 1 VS 4c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
45. One Law for One 15m 1 E3 5c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
46. Tower of Libel 24m 2 HVS 5a, 4c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
47. The God Summons 24m 1 E4 6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
48. A Roof Over Head Makes Home 18m 1 E2 5c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
49. Turn Vertical When Life s Flat 8m 1 HVS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
50. Dr Irish Watches 9m 1 E2 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
51. The Tywyn Weird Route Name Society Bolt-less Competition Climb 9m 1 E1 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Craig Bodlyn
Craig Bodlyn
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinogydd
Rhinogydd
(Photo by Nanuls)
Craig Bodlyn
Craig Bodlyn
(Photo by Nanuls)


Winter Climbing


Unfortunately the close proximity of these mountains to the sea and the frequent arrival of Atlantic depressions pushing warm, moist air over the range, even in the middle of winter climbing conditions are infrequent and unreliable. This combined with the relatively long walk in to the best locations has led to a lack of exploration and recorded winter climbs in the area. However a number routes have been recorded on Craig Bodlyn, which are listed below from left to right and greded using the Scottish Winter Grading System. For full descriptions see Cicerone's Welsh Winter Climbs by Malcolm Campbell and Andy Newton.

No. Name Length Pitches Scottish
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
52. Chain Gang 150m 4 V 6 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
53. Riskophilia 150m 4 V 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
54. Cryogenics 60m 2 V 5/6 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
55. The Screaming 70m 2 V 6 NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
56. Diffwys Gully 120m III NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Mountain Conditions

This section displays the weather forecast for Llanbedr, which is located to the west and is one of the nearest towns to Diffwys. Remember that Llanbedr sits at around sea level whereas the summit of Diffwys reaches 750m. This means that when looking at temperature the adiabatic lapse rate must be taken into account, which in Wales is a drop in temperature of between 0.5 and 1°C per 100m in altitude. Exposure and wind speed can also significantly lower temperatures.

Essential Gear

Diffwys can be climbed at anytime of the year, however in poor conditions the mountain's rock routes are best avoided, particularly if the weather has been wet. March to April offer the most reliable conditions. Of course this all depends on ones ability as a mountaineer/climber, and what might be comfortable for some may seem daunting to others.

If you’re lucky enough to climb the mountain in winter conditions then an ice axe and crampons would be very useful. If you're lucky enough to climb the winter routes on Craig Bodlyn, then ice tools, rigid crampons, a suitable winter rack and double ropes would be even more useful.

Getting There

Diffwys is located in the southern portion of the Rhinogydd and can be approached from numerous directions. The best stars however, are all located on the range’s western side, either starting in Cwm Nantcol or Dyffryn Ardydwy

The best starting point is probably from near Cil-Cychwyn (SH 633 258) in Cwm Nantcol, which can easily be reached along narrow roads by leaving the A496, which runs along the coast from Llanulltyd near Dolgellau in the south to Blaenau Ffestiniog in the north, at Llanbedr or Dyffryn Ardydwy.

Alternatively it’s also possible to approach the mountain from the south by parking at Bontddu (SH 672 188) or Cwm Mynach (SH 684 215). The routes from here are less satisfying that the other options though.

The area can also be reached by rail, however getting from the stations to the mountains themselves can be difficult as public transport is pretty infrequent and hitching can be a bit of a nightmare these days.

Craig Bodlyn
Craig Bodlyn
(Photo by Nanuls)
Craig Bodlyn
Craig Bodlyn
(Photo by Nanuls)
Y Llethr
Y Llethr
(Photo by Nanuls)

Red Tape and Access

No red tape here!

Although unlikely it's worth checking the countryside access map provided by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) regarding whether or not any restrictions on movement in the area are in place.

Countryside Access Map

For climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) runs a Regional Access Database, which holds mountain/crag specific information on matters of conservation and access, including issues such as nesting restrictions, nature designations and preferred parking.

Regional Access Database

If you are in any doubt about any particular access arrangement, or need to report an incident, you should contact your local BMC Access Representative or the BMC Access Officers for Wales: Elfyn Jones.

Camping and Accommodation

There’s an almost unlimited supply of accommodation within the Snowdonia National Park so it would be inappropriate to list it all here. For budget accommodation it’s worth checking out some of the following sites:

Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Gwynedd

For more local options, there are a number of campsites that surround the range. Nearby campsites can be found at Cae Gwyn Farm (SH 713 297) to the east of the range, and Merthyr Farm (SH 600 319) to the west.

For wild camping, both Llyn Hywl (SH 662 267) and Llyn Bodlyn (SH 648 239) make excellent locations.

Y Llethr (Photo by Nanuls)

Maps

Open Space Web-Map builder Code
Navigation Maps

OS 1:25k Explorer Series OL 18 Harlech, Porthmadog & Bala/Y Bala

OS 1:50k Landranger Series 124 Porthmadog & Dolgellau

Harvey Map Services 1:25k Snowdonia South Rhinogs/Rhinogydd

Road Maps

OS Road Map 9 Wales/Cymru & West Midlands

Guidebooks

Snowdonia (Official National Park Guide) Snowdonia (Official National Park Guide) by Merfyn Williams with contributions from Ian Mercer and Jeremy Moore

A handy book full of useful information and interesting facts about the National Park.
The Mountains of England and Wales: Vol 1 Wales The Mountains of England and Wales: Vol 1 Wales by John and Ann Nuttall

A classic book covering the Welsh ‘Nuttalls’, which obviously include the Rhinogydd.
Hillwalking in Wales Vol 2 Hillwalking in Wales Vol 2 by Peter Hermon

The second of two guidebooks describing walking routes up every 2000-footer in Wales – covers the Moelwynion to the Tarrenydd.
Hillwalking in Snowdonia Hillwalking in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton

A guidebook to nearly 70 hillwalking routes throughout Snowdonia, including the Rhinogydd.
Climbers Club Guide Wales: Meirionnydd Climbers Club Guide Wales: Meirionnydd by Martin Crocker, John Sumner, Terry Taylor, Elfyn Jones, with contributions from Mike Rosser, Mike Lewis and Dave Wrennall

The definitive climbing guide to the area. Contains detailed descriptions and excellent diagrams of all known rock routes in the Rhinogydd. An essential purchase if you plan to do a lot of climbing in Mid Wales.
Welsh Winter Climbs Cicerone Guide: Welsh Winter Climbs by Malcom Campbell and Andy Newton

The only dedicated winter climbing guide to Wales. A bit dated now but nevertheless still relevant. The only problem is finding the right conditions.

External Links

 
Rhinogydd
Rhinogydd (Photo by Nanuls)
 
Diffwys
Diffwys (Photo by Nanuls)

Government Bodies and Official Organisations

Snowdonia National Park Authority
Council for National Parks
Association of National Park Authorities
Conwy County Council
Gwynedd County Council
Powys County Council
Countryside Council for Wales
Forestry Commission Wales
Environment Agency
CADW
Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales
Gwynedd Archaeological Trust
Snowdonia Society
The National Trust

Hiking, Climbing and Mountaineering Organisations and Companies

British Mountaineering Council
The Climbers Club
UKClimbing
Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre
Snowdonia-Active.com
Hightreck Snowdonia

Weather

Mountain Weather Wales
Weather from the Met Office
BBC Weather
Weather Channel UK

Tourist Information

Visit Wales
North Wales Tourism Partnership
Local Information from Gwynedd.com
Local Information from Snowdonia Wales Net
North Wales Index

Travel

Welsh Public Transport Information
Uk Train Timetable

Accommodation

Youth Hostel Association in Wales
North Wales Campsites

Maps and Guidebooks

Ordnance Survey
Harvey Map Services
Cicerone Guidebooks
Climbers Club Guidebooks
North Wales Bouldering
Mid Wales Climbing
Cordee Travel and Adventure Sports Bookshop

Wildlife and Conservation

Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Natur Gwynedd
North Wales Wildlife Trust
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Welsh Language

Welsh Language Board
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg Welsh language pressure group
Cymuned Welsh language pressure group
Yr Urdd (Welsh Youth Association)
Welsh-English / English-Welsh online translator
Welsh-English / English-Welsh Online Dictionary
Welsh-English / English-Welsh Online Lexicon

Images