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Mynydd Mawr
Mountain/Rock

Mynydd Mawr

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Mynydd Mawr

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Snowdonia, Wales, Europe

Lat/Lon: 53.06940°N / 4.181°W

Object Title: Mynydd Mawr

County: Gwynedd

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

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 2290 ft / 698 m

 

Page By: Nanuls

Created/Edited: Nov 20, 2009 / Apr 15, 2011

Object ID: 575478

Hits: 5596 

Page Score: 94.24%  - 46 Votes 

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Overview

"This South side of Mynydd Mawr, which is called Craig y Bera, somewhat recalls that of Great Gable or that of Blencathara, for it is just a vast slope of scree divided vertically by narrow ridges. The first-named Cumberland hill has better rock, and the second has more massive ridges, but the Welsh hill furnishes many scenes which, if less imposing, are perhaps more romantic than either of the other two."

W P Haskett Smith - Climbers' Club Journal Vol VII (1905)

Layout designed for best viewing on a "1024 x 768" screen.

Mynydd Mawr, which literally means 'Big Mountain', is a hill in the northern Eifionydd of Snowdonia. Despite its audacious title, it is not big, not even by Britain's modest standards, only just managing to reach half the height of its westward companion, Snowdon. Its summit also lacks the charisma of its neighbour, being neither overly prominent nor particularly dramatic, and the means at which it is reached is unlikely to thrill or excite if judged solely on its own merits. But in spite of these shortcomings the mountain is not without its charm, for the effort expelled in ascending its slopes is generously rewarded with one of the best views in Wales. Lain out before its inconspicuous summit is a vista par excellence, encompassing the sweeping arm of the Lleyn Peninsula, the enticing peaks and troughs of the Nantlle Ridge, the familiar but never tiresome bastion of Yr Wyddfa, and beyond the turbulent waters of the Menai Straights, the island of Anglesey, Wales' breadbasket and ancient home of the druids, unfolds into the distance.

The view is not the only enticement; if you're a rock climber, the mountain is home to a wealth of esoteric delights. Perhaps the most impressive of these is the south facing Craig y Bera, which offers a plethora of long mountain routes to anyone who is willing to take on the crag's unpredictable rock. It's thanks to the reputation of this rock, combined with the necessary long approaches, that the crag receives few visitors, and so for those willing to brave it, glorious solitude awaits, and this in one of Britain's most well trodden areas.

Routes

Hiking


There are a number of possible routes to the summit - none of which are particularly well defined. The best approach (in my humble opinion) is probably from Dyffryn Nantlle. Park somewhere along the B4418 and make your way, via a choice of pathways, onto the ridge that leads to Mynydd Mawr's sub-summit Foel Rudd, which is marked by a medium sized cairn. Then bare westwards along the broad ridge, skirting the edge of Crag y Bera, until you reach the summit proper. This is marked by a low circular cairn.

Dyffryn Nantlle
Dyffryn Nantlle
(Photo by Nanuls)
<i>Vanessa cardui</i>
Painted Lady
(Photo by Nanuls)
Nantlle Ridge
Nantlle Ridge
(Photo by Nanuls)

Scrambling


Two scrambles have been described on the mountain, one on Craig Cwm Du and the other on Craig y Bera. Both crags have a reputation for loose and friable rock, therefore perspective scramblers should be as adept at judging the quality of rock as they are at scrambling itself.

Sentries Ridge (Grade 2 or 3)

This route takes the huge buttresses and pinnacles of Craig y Bera. It begins around halfway along the crag and takes a more or less direct line up a prominent and pinnacled ridge, which gradually becomes steeper the higher one climbs.

Bear Buttresses (Grade 2/3)

A intimidating route, which begins difficultly but on good rock and follows a series of gendarmes and ribs to easier, but less stable, scrambling above. Difficulties can be avoided, but only be devious and obscure means. The crux, although not technically difficult, is the precarious ascent of Bear Tower near the end of the route.

Y Garn
Y Garn
(Photo by Nanuls)
Craig y Bera
Craig y Bera
(Photo by Nanuls)
Craig y Bera
W P Haskett Smith on the first
ascent of Pinnacle Ridge (D)

Rock Climbing


Due to its slightly detached position and consequent long approaches, combined with tales of dubious rock and historical access issues, Mynydd Mawr has never been as popular with climbers as it perhaps should. The mountain's climbing is split between three areas – Craig Cwm Du in the north, Castell Cidwm in the east and finally, Craig y Bera in the south.

Climbs are listed from left to right, and are graded and rated with the aid of the Climbers’ Club Guide to Cwm Silyn and Cwellyn (Eifionydd), so for full descriptions, please refer to this book.

Routes are graded using the British Adjectival Grading System. Technical grades are generally only given to climbs graded adjectivally as Severe (S) or above. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available HERE! Bolting is strictly prohibited on the crags listed here.

The Crags of Mynydd Mawr (Photo by Nanuls)

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 Cwm Du


Craig Cwm Du occupies a dark and quiet corner on the mountain's northern flank. The crag's routes have a strong mountain character and were once popular with the pioneering climbers of the Edwardian era. Unfortunately much of the rock is quite friable and loose and it has since fallen from grace.


No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
1. Jezebel 50m VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
2. Eve's Folly 81m 4 D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
3. Adam Rib 121m 4 HS 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
4. Knight's Move Climb 135m 5 VD 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
5. Poverty Street 83m 3 VS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
6. Medicare 86m 3 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
7. Saxifrage Rob 80m VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
8. Manchester Rib 81m 3 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
9. Pis-Aller Rib 141m 6 S 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
10. Yellow Buttress 155m 6 S 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
11. Grass Pitch Gullly 150m 2 plus
scramblng
VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
12. Lichen Ridge 135m 6 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
13. Leo's Wall 120m VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
14. Fox Route 64m VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
15. Oppenauer Slab 55m VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
16. Raven Buttress 60m VS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
17. Dobbin 50m VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Nantlle (Photo by Nanuls)

Castell Cidwm


Perched above the north-western shore of Llyn Cwellyn are the crags of the Castell Cidwm area. With the exception of Craig Cwm Bychan which is located just to the north, all of the routes are on Castell Cidwm itself and are split between its three buttresses, namely Craig Planwydd, the South-East Face, and the North-East Buttress. The crag is home to what is undoubtedly the greatest concentration of difficult routes in the Cwllyn/Nantlle Area, many of which are of a splendidly high quality.

Craig Cwm Bychan

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
18. Cities of Red Night 40m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
19. The Legend of Johnny Toto 46m 1 E2 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Castell Cidwm

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
20. Del Cap Corner 16m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
21. Extreme Unction 25m 1 E3 6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
22. The Curver 55m 2 E2 4c, 4c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
23. Light Years 37m 1 E5 6b 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
24. The Straightener 39m 2 E2 5b, 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
25. The Erg 45m 2 E6 5c, 6b 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
26. Equinox 37m 1 E4 6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
27. Potency 64m 2 E6 6b, 6b 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
28. Balance of Power 61m 2 E5 6a, 5c 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
29. Central Wall 54m 2 E3 5c, 5c 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
30. Heading for Heights 48m 2 E5 6b, 5c 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
31. Vertigo 39m 2 HVS 5a, 4c 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
32. Glwm 81m 4 E2 5b, 5a,
5b, 5a
1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
33. Glasnost 70m 2 E5 6a, 5c 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
34. Dwmsday 51m 2 E5 6a, 6b 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
35. Dwm 54m 3 E3 5a, 5b, 6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
36. Freedwm Roof 63m 3 E7 5a, 5b, 6c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
37. Tramgo 41m 1 E4 6a 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
38. Hang 'em High 34m 1 E5 6a 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
39. Howl at the Moon 34m 1 E7 6c 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
40. Walter Buffalo 21m 1 E4 6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
41. Cidwm Girdle 181m 8 E4 5a, 5b, 5b,
5a, 5b, 6a,
5b, 6a, 4c
3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
42. Hors d''œuvre 69m 3 VS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
43. Finale Wall 66m 3 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
44. Wolf's Buttress 120m 4 D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
45. Lamb's Leap 111m 6 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
46. The Mystery II 116m 4 HS 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
47. Acrophily 115m 5 VS 4c, 4c, 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Craig y Bera


Probably the most popular of Mynydd Mawr's crags, Craig y Bera is a vast crumbling assortment of forlorn gullies and buttresses on the mountain's southern flank.

Craig y Bera (Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
48. Reason in Revolt 102m 5 HS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
49. No Highway 75m 4 HS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
50. The Devils 112m 5 E3 5a, 5c,
5a, 5c
NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
51. Voice in the Wilderness 121m 4 E5 5c, 6a, 6b 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
52. Y Credwr 104m 3 E4 6a,6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
53. Angel Pavement 183m 5 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
54. The Sceptic 138m 3 E2 4c, 5b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
55. Guardian Angel 76m 3 E3 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
56. Primrose Path 134m 5 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
57. Primrose Path – Perdition Finish 185m 7 VS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
58. Pinnacle Ridge 120m D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
59. Sentries' Ridge 110m D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Clogwyn y Garreg


This little mini-mountain is located just to the south-east of Craig y Bera. It sits just above Llyn Dywarchen and is home to a good number of easily accessible single pitch routes. Historically, climbing has not been permitted here, but since the CRoW Act (2000), climbing is now allowed.

Clogwyn y Garreg
Clogwyn y Garreg
(Photo by Nanuls)
Llyn Dywarchen
Llyn Dywarchen
(Photo by Nanuls)
Clogwyn y Garreg
Clogwyn y Garreg
(Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
60. The Magic Sod 17m 1 D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
61. Terry Tomb Tome 10m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
62. Another Day 15m 1 HVS 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
63. Vortex of Desire 15m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
64. The Pleasures of Wind 15m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
65. The Pump Principle 15m 1 E2 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
66. Gael Forces 15m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
67. Gael in a Gale 15m 1 HS 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
68. Del Nino 15m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
69. Spinning in the Wind 15m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
70. Glorified Barman with Attitude 15m 1 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
71. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics 15m 1 HVS 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
72. Up Your Hacienda 15m 1 E1 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
73. Out! Out! Out! 15m 1 HVS 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
74. The Man in White 15m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
75. Plinthing for Beginners 15m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
76. Cruppered 15m 1 E1 5b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
77. To Rest is to Rust 13m 1 E2 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
78. Turf Wars 14m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
79. Sod's Corner 15m 1 S 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
80. The Windtakers 15m 1 E3 5c 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
81. Ken's Crack 15m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
82. Play It Smooth 14m 1 HVS 5b 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
82. In Search of Perpetual Motion 20m 1 D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Winter Climbing


Because of Mynydd Mawr’s low altitude and proximity to the sea, good winter conditions are rare. Nevertheless, a handful of routes have been recorded on Craig Cwm Du.

Mynydd Mawr
Mynydd Mawr
(Photo by Bryan Benn)
Nantlle Ridge taken from Snowdon Rangers Path
Nantlle
(Photo by Bryan Benn)
Nantlle Ridge and Mynydd Mawr
Nantlle Ridge
(Photo by Bryan Benn)


No. Name Length Pitches Scottish
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
1. Eden Gully 130m I/II NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
2. Saxifrage Gully 130m III NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
3. Avalanche Gully 150m III NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Mountain Conditions

This colourful little box below displays the weather forecast for Caernarfon, which is located just to the north-west of Mynydd Mawr. Remember that Caernarfon is situated at around sea level, while the mountain's summit reaches 689 metres. 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

The most reliable conditions are in the summer. The gear needed depends entirely on the routes you plan to do. A hike will require all the gear normally require for a hike in Wales, remember this Snowdonia so be sure to pack full waterproofs. Easier scrambles and rock routes will only require a moderate rack, while longer harder routes will require a full rack with a good compliment of cams. A singe 60 metre rope should serve well on most routes, however, twin or double ropes would be a wise choice for the harder stuff.

Getting There

Mynydd Mawr (SH 539 548) is located on the north western edge of the Snowdonia National Park, just to the west of the park’s main attraction – Snowdon (SH 609 544). The best access is off the A4085 which runs between Caernarfon (SH 481 629) in the north and Beddgelert (SH 589 482) in the South. It would take a long time to try and explain all the different approaches to this road, so I would suggest consulting Google Maps or equivalent for further instructions.

Castell Cidwm (SH 550 554) can be approached directly from the A4085 by parking along the road near Planwydd (SH 568 539) and then following the path along the western shore of Llyn Cwellyn to the crag’s base. Craig Cwm Du (SH 537 550) can also be reached directly from the main road by parking around Betws Garmon (SH 546 563) and following a public right of way through the forest and into Cwm Du.

If you plan to ascend the mountain via the Foel Rudd ridge, or climb at Craig y Bera or Clogwyn y Garreg then you will need to turn off the A4805 and onto the B4418 at Rhyd Ddu (SH 659 529), which will take you to the small car park at Llyn Dywarchen (SH 559 533).

Mynydd Mawr
The summit
(Photo by Nanuls)
Mynydd Mawr
Castell Cidwm
(Photo by Nanuls)
Yr Aran
Yr Aran
(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

There are a number of YHA hostels in the area, the nearest of which is the Snowdon Ranger in Rhyd Ddu. The Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre in Capel Curig also has a bunkhouse, and its own indoor climbing wall if you’re still feeing energetic after your day in the mountains.

Maps

Open Space Web-Map builder Code
Navigation Maps

OS 1:25k Explorer Series OL 17 Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa

OS 1:50k Landranger Series 115 Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa

Harvey Map Services 1:25k Snowdonia: Snowdonia The Glyderau and the Carneddau

Harvey Map Services/BMC 1: 40k British Mountain Map: Snowdonia

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 Cicerone Guide: 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 Eifionydd.
Hillwalking in Wales Vol 2 Cicerone Guide: Hillwalking in Wales Vol 2 by Peter Hermon

The second of two guidebooks describing walking routes up every 2000-footer in Wales – covers the Moelwyns to the Tarrenydd and includes the Eifionydd.
Hillwalking in Snowdonia Cicerone Guide: Hillwalking in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton

A guidebook to nearly 70 hillwalking routes throughout Snowdonia, including the Eifonydd.
Scrambles in Snowdonia Cicerone Guide: Scrambles in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton

The scramblers bible, nearly 30 years old and still the best single guide to Snowdonian Scrambles.
Cwm Silyn and Cwellyn (Eifionydd) Climbers' Club Guides to Wales: Cwm Silyn and Cwellyn (Eifionydd) by Paul Jenkinson and Bob Wightman

A comprehensive guide to the crags of the Nantlle and Cwellyn area. A very nice piece of work.
North Wales Rock: Selected Rock Climbs in North Wales North Wales Rock: Selected Rock Climbs in North Wales by Simon Panton

A superb, lavishly presented general guidebook to the best North Wales has to offer. Read, gawp and drool!
Rock Climbing in Snowdonia Rock Climbing in Snowdonia by Paul Williams

A slightly dated but popular guide to climbing in North Wales. Not quite as good as the previous book though.
Scrambles and Easy Climbs in Snowdonia Scrambles and Easy Climbs in Snowdonia by John Sparks, Tom Hutton and Jerry Rawson

An excellent book describing many of Snowdonia's classic routes - the perfect bridge between scrambling and rock climbing.
Ridges of England, Wales and Ireland Cicerone Guide: Ridges of England, Wales and Ireland by Dan Bailey

A new and very pretty guide to some of the UK's finest ridge routes, including Sentries Ridge on Craig y Bera.
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

 
Snowdon
Snowdon from Llyn Dywarchen
(Photo by Nanuls)
 
Mynydd Mawr
Trum y Ddysgl
(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
Official Nantlle valley Website

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