Welcome to SP!  -
Rhinog Fawr
Mountain/Rock

Rhinog Fawr

 
Rhinog Fawr

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Snowdonia, Wales, Europe

Lat/Lon: 52.84073°N / 3.99508°W

Object Title: Rhinog Fawr

County: Gwynedd

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

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 2362 ft / 720 m

 

Page By: Nanuls

Created/Edited: Apr 25, 2007 / Apr 15, 2011

Object ID: 288362

Hits: 7433 

Page Score: 88.61%  - 27 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview


Nestled neatly between the two glacial cwms of Bwlch Tyddiad and Cwm Nantcol rises one of Wales’ most enigmatic but often overlooked little mountains, Rhinog Fawr. Its origins are ancient, being of far greater antiquity than the rocks of the surrounding area. Before the Glyder, Cadair Idris and even Snowdon where thrust up by unremitting tectonic forces, the gritstone rocks of the Rhinogydd stood aloft, and although the natural courses of erosion have now worn them down to mere shadows of their former selves, they remain distinctive and immemorial characters in the Snowdonian landscape.

Along with its southern sister, Rhinog Fach, the mountain lends its name to its home range, the Rhinogydd; but Rhinog Fawr isn’t the highest mountain in the collective, this honour goes to Y Llethr, a little further south again. Despite this, Rhinog Fawr is the better known of the two, and consequently receives more traffic, albeit in Welsh terms, an almost insignificant volume.

Its slopes, which are often steep, are covered by a thick blanket of heather and rock. Paths and other linear features are few and far between, and anyone wishing to make a visit to the mountain should be a navigator of some competence. Rock climbing, as all things, came late to Rhinog Fawr, and it wasn’t until the final years of the 20th century that any exploration of note took place. Now, for those willing to commit to a long approach, and to accept that finding the right crag might be an endeavour in itself, there’s plenty on offer here. Plenty on offer that is, if the climber is a good one; for the crags and cragletts of the mountain are typically Spartan in character, and do not surrender their treasures as readily as those of the surrounding area.

The weather will play a major role in the success of any trip to the area. For the hiker, poor weather means having to rely heavily on the mountain’s complex and delicate topography for guidance, while for the climber, even a small amount of moisture can erase the rock of friction and render it wholly unscaleable. Timing, therefore, is key to success, and since Rhinog Fawr’s close proximity to the sea means it bears the brunt of the area’s climate, windows of opportunity are often frustratingly brief. A well timed expedition however, can reap some truly wondrous rewards.

The Rhinogydd. From left to right - Y Garn, Diffwys, Y Llethr, Rhinog Fach and Rhinog Fawr (Photo by Nanuls)

Routes

Hiking


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.

Scrambling


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.

Rhinog Fawr
South Face
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinog Fawr
Fore Summit
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinog Fawr
South Face
(Photo by Nanuls)

Rock Climbing


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!

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.


Sectret Bay


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.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
1. Strong Heather 9m 1 VS 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
2. A Tomb with a View 9m 1 E2 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
3. Esoterica Hysterica 9m 1 E1 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Min Pistyll


A pleasantly situated and surprisingly easily located crag (SH 660 294) in the little valley that spills forth from Llyn Du.

Rhinog Fawr
Min Pistyll
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinogydd
Rhinogydd
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinog Fawr
Min Pistyll
(Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
4. Sych 8m 1 E1 5a 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
5. Boil and Bubble 8m 1 HVS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
6. Ffrwd 9m 1 E4 6a 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
7. Cool Grit 9m 1 E3 5c 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
8. Emilya 9m 1 E2 5c 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
9. In an Ideal World 15m 1 E2 5b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
10. Left to Rust 9m 1 VS 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
11. A Right to Rust 9m 1 HS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
12. Purple Pistyll 8m 1 E1 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
13. Fisteater 8m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Tan y Bwrdd


The steep west facing buttress (SH 661 293) some 400 metres east of Llyn Du.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
14. Airhead 20m 1 E3 6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
15. Groundpull 20m 1 E4 6a 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
16. Underfed 12m 1 E2 5b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS


Y Bwrdd


A fun little crag that sits atop a small platform above Tan y Bwrdd.

Rhinog Fach
Rhinog Fach
(Photo by Nanuls)
Cwm Nantcol
Cwm Nantcol
(Photo by Nanuls)
Y Garn
Y Garn
(Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
17. That Panoramic Picnic 7m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
18. Scoop of the Day 7m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
19. Lichen with Everything 6m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
20. Twopicks 6m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
21. Saliva 7m 1 E1 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
22. Wishbone 7m 1 E3 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
23. No Table Manners 6m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
24. Forked Tongue 6m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
25. Sidedish 6m 1 VS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Lechau Mawr


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.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
26. Bebop 28m 1 E2 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
27. Rock Steady 28m 1 E3 5c 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
28. Mist on the Mountain 40m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
29. The First Grassfield 20m 1 E2 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
30. The Bridge That Jonathan Built 40m 1 E2 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
31. Foreign Object 25m 1 E3 5c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
32. Splinter 18m 1 E1 5b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
33. Fear Test 18m 1 E5 6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
34. Weeping Wall 15m 1 E2 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
35. For the Record 9m 1 E1 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
36. TLC 15m 1 E3 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
37. Peace in Mind 15m 1 E3 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
38. Quartz Storm 15m 1 E3 5b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
39. The Collectors' Pot 25m 1 E1 5b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
40. Dead Sea Scroll 37m 2 E4 5a, 6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
41. Don's Cairn 30m 1 E2 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
42. Disco Bugs 30m 1 E1 5a/b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS


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
Llechau Mawr
(Photo by Nanuls)
Llyn Du
Llyn Du
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinog Fawr
Uwch y Llyn
(Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
43. Min Fawr 18m 1 E4 6a 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
44. Mur y Llyn 15m 1 E1 5a 3 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
45. Min Fach 15m 1 E2 5b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
46. Twyll y Llyn 15m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
47. Grab Some Holds and Pull in Them 7m 1 E1 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
48. White Sand 7m 1 E3 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Rhinog Fawr (West)


There is a nice little slab some 30 metres left of the Roman Nose.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
49. Dr Butt Prefers Them Harder 8m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
50. Celtic Tiger 10m 1 E4 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
51. Scarred for Life 10m 1 E3 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
52. Bubbles Burst 12m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
53. Dynamo MC 12m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Carreg Shrek


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).

Glowyn Lyn
Glowyn Lyn
(Photo by Nanuls)
Northern Rhinogs
Rhinogydd
(Photo by Nanuls)
Northern Rhinogydd
Rhinogydd
(Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
54. Go West with the Wicked 8m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
55. Shrek 8m 1 HVS 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
56. Viper in Pink Satin 9m 1 E3 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
57. Nakedness Is Very Slow 8m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
58. Another Leap of Faith 8m 1 E3 6a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
59. MiniFrocks Are Best 8m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
60. The Incredible Bounce of Marrow 8m 1 E2 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
61. Stubborn as an Ass 16m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
62. Ass Landing 15m 1 VS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
63. Mowing the Ass 13m 1 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS


Crags North of Gloyw Lyn


A small crag near Glowyn Lyn; find it at SH 645 304.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
64. Information Cocoons 15m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
65. Plugs of Muscle 15m 1 E2/3 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
66. Elegant in Socks 10m 1 D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
67. Don't Ever Buy Teeth from a Catalogue 8m 1 D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
68. Serpent Heart 8m 1 E2 5c 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
69. Serpent Mistress 8m 1 E3 6a 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 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 Gear

Rhinog 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 There

The 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.

LLyn Du
Llyn Du
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinogs from Cwm Nantcol
Rhinogydd
(Photo by Nanuls)
Moelfre
Moelfre
(Photo by Nanuls)

Red Tape and Access

For 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 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. 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.

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.
Scrambles and Easy Climbs in Snowdonia Scrambles and Easy Climbs in Snowdonia by John Sparks, Tom Hutton and Gerry Rawson

An excellent and well illustrated guide, which neatly links scrambling with rock climbing and in doing so covers some of the best long routes in Snowdonia.
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

 
Rhinog Fach
Rhinog Fach (Photo by Nanuls)
 
Pistyll Gwyn
Pistyll Gwyn (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