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Moel Ysgyfarnod
Mountain/Rock

Moel Ysgyfarnod

 
Moel Ysgyfarnod

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Snowdonia, Wales, Europe

Lat/Lon: 52.89088°N / 3.99387°W

Object Title: Moel Ysgyfarnod

County: Gwynedd

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Bouldering, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 2044 ft / 623 m

 

Page By: Nanuls

Created/Edited: Apr 28, 2007 / Apr 15, 2011

Object ID: 288877

Hits: 3888 

Page Score: 84.82%  - 19 Votes 

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Overview

There can be few places in Snowdonia, nay Britain, that can match the rare qualities of the northern Rhinogydd. Here the sandy shores of Cardigan Bay give way to acid grassland, blanket heather, gritstone slabs and oligotrophic lakes, and what can loosely be described as civilisation gives way to a rough but tempered wilderness. Tier upon tier of gritstone edges rise up along the hillsides, edges that would not look out of place in the Peak District of England, but are framed by the rugged outlines of Snowdon, the Eifionydd and the Moelwynion rather than the softer hills of Derbyshire. This remote corner of Snowdonia was once described by one of Wales’ most prolific Medieval writers as the “rudest and roughest district of all Wales”, and while the quarrymen and miners have now been and gone and the woods aren’t quite as dense as they once might have been, the statement remains true to this day.

Moel Ysgyfarnod (623m), which roughly translates as Bare Hill of the Hare, is the highest peak in these parts. In isolation it’s a fairly unremarkable summit, which is not to say that it lacks interest, but is arguably less spectacular than the range’s other hills. What makes so Moel Ysgyfarnod special is its position and the journey that must be undertaken to reach it. The approach, whether it be from Trawsfynydd in the east or Eisingrug in the west, must be one of the most underrated hikes in the region - there are few paths here, and consequently, even fewer visitors. Those who enjoy solitude and the freedom to pick their own line will find much to satisfy, and with every twist and turn of the landscape, this freedom is rewarded with a multitude subtle wonders.

Rock climbing has been a fairly late arrival to the hill, but it has now arrived, though given the area’s complexity one may find it hard to find the established routes. Better, would be to pick your own section of rock and establish your own lines - effectively, this is still virgin territory and much remains to be explored.


Moel Ysgyfarnod and Foel Penolau from Llyn Trawsfynydd (Photo by Nanuls)

Rock Climbing

The climbing at this spot is split between a number of small compact buttress which surround the peak, namely the South West Escarpment, the Main Wall, the Minus Seven Wall, the Llyn Du Crag and the Llyn Corn-Yswc Crag.

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. Technical grades are generally only given to climbs graded adjectivally as Hard Severe (HS) or above.

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. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available 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.

South West Escarpment


This is a long escarpment with many jumbled blocks, intersected by good towers and faces just below a summit plateau which also has two good escarpments. Approach along the miner’s track.

A spectacular feature is the prominent nose jutting out over the path of the miners track.

The Miners Track
Crags of the Miners Track
(Photo by Nanuls)
Miners Track
Evidence of mining
(Photo by Nanuls)
The Miners Track
Crags of the Miners Track
(Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
1. Isengard 18m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
2. Gondor 9m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
3. Osgiliath 9m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Main Wall


This crag sits on the western edge of the summit plateau. At 9 metres the crag isn't particularly high but makes up for its lack of stature with some immaculate rock. Its also south facing and has fantastic views.

The left side of the wall has a wide discontinuous crack: just left is an overlapped wall leading to a rib.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
4. Lunarctic 9m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
5. The Day the Wall Came Down 9m 1 VS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
6. Silver Silence 9m 1 S 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
7. Don’t Fly Away 6m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Moel Ysgyfarnod (left) and Foel Penolau (right) (Photo by Nanuls)

Minus Seven Wall


Another good south facing but smaller wall sits 50 metres further to the east on the same rock plateau.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
8. Done and Rusted 5m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
9. Doubtful Digits 6m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
10. Minus Toes 6m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
11. Minus7 6m 1 E2 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
12. Frigid 6m 1 HVS 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
13. Pale Pinkies 6m 1 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Llyn Du Crag


Continue to the end of the miners track to the small dark lake on the col. At the end of the miner's track is a perfect little lake nestled in a small col. Take the path leading south from the lake for 20 metres along the spine of the range to the tall north facing slabs left of the path. The rib bounding the right edge of the slab gives Solace (Very Difficult).

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
14. Solace 15m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
15. Colder Play 15m 1 E2 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Llyn Eiddew-bach
Llyn Eiddew-bach
(Photo by Nanuls)
Llyn Du
Llyn Du
(Photo by Nanuls)
Moel Ysgyfarnod
Llyn Dywarchen
(Photo by Nanuls)

Llyn Corn-Yswc Crag


A 7 metre wall overhanging by 1 metre above the west shore of Llyn Corn-y-Stwc.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
16. Cool Grit 7m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
17. Cross the Threshold of Insanity 7m 1 HVS 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
18. Corn of Plenty 6m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
19. Unstuck at Ystwc 6m 1 E1 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

The Miners Track (Photo by Nanuls)

Mountain Conditions

This section displays the weather forecast for Trawsfynydd, which is located to the east and is one of the nearest towns to the two peaks. Remember that Trawsfynydd sits at around 230 metres above sea level whereas the summit of Moel Ysgyfarnod reaches 623m. 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.

When To Climb and Essential Gear

Moel Ysgyfarnod and Foel Penolau 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 for others.

If your lucky enough to climb the mountains in winter conditions then an ice axe and crampons are essential.

Snowdon
The summit
(Photo by Nanuls)
Moel Ysgyfarnod
Summit crags
(Photo by Nanuls)
Moel Ysgyfarnod
Moel Ysgyfarnod
(Photo by Nanuls)

Getting There

Moel Ysgyfarnod is located in the northern half of the Rhinogydd and is one of the range’s least visited summits. It can be approached from its east via the A470(T), which runs from Dolgellau to Conwy and Colwyn Bay, or the west, via the smaller A496, which runs along the coast from Llanulltyd near Dolgellau and around to Blaenau Ffestiniog in the north.

If approaching from the east you will need to leave the A470(T) at the minor junction at Cefn-gallt-y-cwm (SH 710 345) and travel in a westward direction along the southern shores of Llyn Trawsfynydd. A second junction will be reached after around 1.5km (SH 696 347), take the right fork here and continue along the western shore of the lake. Park near Moelfryn-uchaf (SH 684 358) and follow the nearest right of way into the range. Soon the paths will run out and you will have to find your own way.

An arguably better approach is from the west, which takes slightly longer to get to. Leave the A470(T) at Maentwrog (SH 665 407) and follow the A496 westwards along the river towards Harlech. After about 10km you’ll reach the junction with the B4573 (SH 606 349). It’s an unusual junction, because rather than turning off onto the B4573 you carry straight on (the turn off is actually for the A470(T)). Continue along the B4573 past the row of houses at Glan-y-Wern until you reach a small stone bridge over a stream. There is a junction at this bridge signposting Eisingrug (SH 615 345); turn off here and follow the minor road to Eisingrug. At Eisingrug take the second minor road on the right (it’s hard to spot, joining the road your on between a field boundary and a stone building), and follow it to its terminus. Here you will find a small grassy parking area and the start of the Miners Track (SH 628 342). There is a payment of £2 to be made for using the car park, which is placed in a box attached to the landowner’s gate. Payments made for parking are donated to the Wales Air Ambulance Service.

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.

Snowdon
Snowdon
(Photo by Nanuls)
Perched Erratic on Striated Bedrock (exciting stuff I can tell you)
Moel Ysgyfarnod
(Photo by Nanuls)
Llyn Eiddew-mawr
Llyn Eiddew-bach
(Photo by Nanuls)

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; Cae Adda (SH 690 355), which is near Llyn Trawsfynydd or Bryn Bwbach (SH 620 368) on the opposite side of the range.

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.

External Links

 
Foel Penolau
Foel Penolau (Photo by Nanuls)
 
Moel Ysgyfarnod
Moel Ysgyfarnod (Photo by Nanuls)
 
Moel Ysgyfarnod
Moel Ysgyfarnod (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