Cwm Bychan Route
The route starts on the western side of the Rhinogydd at the Cwm Bychan car park (SH 644 313) and follows Bwlch Tyddiad and The Roman Steps up to Llyn Du, gradually gaining around 360 metres in altitude. From here the summit can be reached, either by circumventing the crags below the summit, or by a quick scramble up a short gully, to a broad terrace at around 600 metres, and then up a steep braided path to the top.
Graig Ddu-Isaf Route
The route starts on the eastern side of the Rhinogydd at the Graig Ddi-Isaf car park (SH 680 300), and weaves its way through a coniferous forest to the fore-slopes of the mountain and Bwlch Tyddiad. It then makes its way up a boggy path to Llyn Du, where it joins the previously described route on its way to the summit.
South Face (Grade 3)
This is Rhinog Fawr’s only lengthy scramble, and begins at the narrowest point of Bwlch Drws Ardudwy. It ascends weaknesses in three tiers of short, steep crags, before reaching a wide, level, slabby ridge. It then ascends a series of broken crags, slabs and boulders to the Rhinog Fawr’s fore-summit, where the scrambling ends, and the true summit is just a short walk away.
The climbing at Rhinog Fawr are split between a number of small, compact buttress which litter the northern and north-western slopes of the mountain.
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. Technical grades are generally only given to climbs graded adjectivally as Hard Severe (HS) or above.
Please be aware that Rhinog Fawr 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!
A hidden gem – impossible to find from the west but obvious from the mountain's eastern approach. Stick this grid reference in your GPS for a hassle free (well perhaps not quite) location – SH 662 294.
A pleasantly situated and surprisingly easily located crag (SH 660 294) in the little valley that spills forth from Llyn Du.
Tan y Bwrdd
The steep west facing buttress (SH 661 293) some 400 metres east of Llyn Du.
A fun little crag that sits atop a small platform above Tan y Bwrdd.
The slabs and crags above Llyn Du (SH 657 292). They are split into a Lower and an Upper Bank, with Bebop to Splinter being on the lower one and Fear Test to Disco Bugs on the Upper one. Routes are described from right to left.
Uwch y Llyn
Behind the western end of Llyn Du, a little way up Rhinog Fawr's slopes, is a 15 m high crag with twin arêtes (SH 655 293).
Rhinog Fawr (West)
There is a nice little slab some 30 metres left of the Roman Nose.
On the same level as the preceding crag, but some 500m left of the crag to Rhinog Fawr, is a crag distinguishable by a central arête (SH 651 301).
Crags North of Gloyw Lyn
A small crag near Glowyn Lyn; find it at SH 645 304.
Mountain ConditionsThis section displays the weather forecast for Llanbedr, which is located to the west and is one of the nearest towns to Rhinog Fawr. Remember that Llanbedr sits at around sea level whereas the summit of Rhinog Fawr reaches 720m. 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 GearRhinog Fawr 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 mountain in winter conditions then an ice axe and crampons are essential.
Getting ThereThe Cwm Bychan (SH 644 313) and Maes-Garnedd (SH 641 269) car parks can be reached easily from the A496, which runs along the coast from Llanulltyd near Dolgellau in the south, to Blaenau Ffestiniog in the north.
There is also parking available at Graigddu-Isaf (SH 680 300) on the eastern side of the mountains, which can be reached after from the junction (SH 711 307) just south of Bronaber on the A470.
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 hitch hiking can be a nightmare.
Red Tape and AccessFor the most part there is no red tape, however if you intend to start at Graigddu-Isaf (SH 680 300) and walk through the forest to Bwlch Tyddiad then before setting out it is worth checking if any felling is going on as restrictions on access will be enforced on the affected area. Although For this purpose there is a countryside access map on the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) website.
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 AccommodationThere’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. There's a great little basic campsite at Cwm Bychan (SH 644 313) in the heart of the mountains and in an easy distance from both Rhinog Fawr and Rhinog Fach. Other 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.
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
Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales
Gwynedd Archaeological Trust
The National Trust
Hiking, Climbing and Mountaineering Organisations and Companies
British Mountaineering Council
The Climbers Club
Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre
Mountain Weather Wales
Weather from the Met Office
Weather Channel UK
North Wales Tourism Partnership
Local Information from Gwynedd.com
Local Information from Snowdonia Wales Net
North Wales Index
Welsh Public Transport Information
Uk Train Timetable
Youth Hostel Association in Wales
North Wales Campsites
Maps and Guidebooks
Harvey Map Services
Climbers Club Guidebooks
North Wales Bouldering
Mid Wales Climbing
Cordee Travel and Adventure Sports Bookshop
Wildlife and Conservation
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
North Wales Wildlife Trust
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
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