High up in the rarely visited southern wing of Craig Cywarch are a series of slabby rock-faces known collectively as Tap y Gigfran. The climbs here are wilder in nature than those in the north, they are harder to access, are more vegetated, and have trickier and less distinct descents. Jack of Diamonds (HVD, 105m, 5 pitches) is one of the best and most popular routes these slabs have to offer, and although plagued by a generous covering of moss, is definitely worth an ascent by anyone visiting this part of the crag. The route exploits an initial weakness near the base of the rock-face, and after 30m or so of ascent deviates sharply first to the right and then to the left over a series of exposed slabs. The climb has bags of atmosphere; its remote location and vegetative state make you a feel like a true pioneer. Furthermore there are a large number of single pitch routes on the surrounding crags, so if you have time there are plenty of opportunities to bag some extra climbs. All in all, this route has the potential to be an integral part to a very enjoyable, productive and worthwhile outing.
FA: M.H. Jahn and R.E. Kendal (Alternate Leads), September 22nd 1956.
To reach the trailhead turn off the A470, which runs between Dolgellau (SH 729 181) in the west and Machynlleth (SH 748 008) in the south-east, at Dinas Mawddwy (SH 858 148) and take the road towards Aber-Cywarch (SH 867 157). Just after you cross the bridge at Aber-Cywarch turn left up an unclassified road signposted for Cwm Cywarch. Follow the road, which is narrow and winding, until you reach the parking area at Fawnog Fawr (SH 854 182). The approach begins here.
A single 60m rope will be fine (or you may want to use a double) a moderate rack of nuts, hexes and maybe a few cams. Also be sure to carry a selection of slings and screwgates for constructing belays. The route is best done in rock shoes as boots would be way too cumbersome. Naturally you will also need all the other paraphernalia associated with climbing and hill walking in Wales: full waterproofs, fleece, hat, gloves and of course some lunch.
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OS 1:50k Landranger Series 124 Porthmadog & Dolgellau
OS Road Map 9 Wales/Cymru & West Midlands
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