Barmouth Slabs

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 52.72828°N / 4.04583°W
Additional Information County: Gwynedd
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Toprope
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 820 ft / 250 m
Sign the Climber's Log


When one thinks of climbing in the Rhinogydd, thoughts of arduous approaches and unfriendly, uncompromising routes abound. This however, needn’t be the case, because hidden right under North Wales’ climbing communities proverbial nose is a crag that offers a most satisfying combination of easy access and easy climbing. The crag is Barmouth Slabs, an outcrop of some 20 metres height, located just above the seaside town of the same name (minus the slabs bit of course). The crag occupies a glorious position above the Mawddach Estuary and sports a magnificent panorama encompassing much of southern Meirionnydd, the centre piece of which is the mighty Cadair Idris. Although located nearly 200 metres above sea level, the crag is quite sheltered and has a pleasant southerly aspect making it an attractive proposition even in winter. The routes are mostly at the easier end of the grading spectrum with a good compliment of Diffs, V. Diffs and Severes, as well as a single Hard Very Severe. However, despite initial appearances, many of the routes suffer from a lack of good protection, and are also quite polished in places. This adds an extra element of risk for anyone leading here. On he other hand, metal stakes have been placed at the top of the crag, and are a great aid for belaying or top-roping. For beginners, new leaders, or anyone who’s just looking for a relaxing afternoon of climbing, Barmouth Slabs are absolutely ideal.

Rock Climbing

There are several tiers to Barmouth Slabs, with all the named routes being on the lowst tier, which is also the highest. The slabs of the upper tiers are much shorter and offer a scattering of short routes and bouldering problems, none of which have been properly recorded. The slabs are popular with outdoor centres who have placed a number of stakes along the top of the crags. This makes belaying a whole lot simpler as well as providing great anchor points for top-roping.

Cadair Idris and the Mawddach Estuary (Photo by Nanuls)
Climbs are listed from left to right, and are graded and rated with the aid of both the Climbers Club Guide to Meirionnydd and

Routes are rated using the British Adjectival Grading System. Technical grades are only given to climbs graded adjectively as Hard Severe (HS) or above. Where the sources differ in their grading I have opted to list the highest quoted grade only, as I don’t want to mislead anyone about the seriousness of any of the routes. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available HERE!

Be aware that this is a trad climbing venue and that bolting is strictly prohibited.

Crack 1 24m S NO STARS
Climb the far left crack. Crux near the top.
Xebec 24m HVS 5a 1 STAR
Climb the middle of the smooth face between Cracks 1 and 2 with a left slanting crack to finish.
Crack 2 24m D NO STARS
Ascend the crack to the left of a vegetated gully.
Zig Zag 24m VD NO STARS
Climb the meandering cracks to the right of the vegetated gully. Only fair protection.
Sunny Delight 24m MS NO STARS
The direct line taking in part of Zig Zag and finishing slightly to the right of that route.
Main Slab 24m S 1 STAR
Climb the middle of the slab into a darkened scoop; then continue directly to the top.
Crack 3 24m VD 2 STARS
The obvious crack to the right of Main Slab. Poor protection.
Crack 4 24m D NO STARS
Climb the indefinite cracks.
Crack 5 24m D NO STARS
Ascend the most rightward wide crack on the arête
Stevie's Jamming Crack 24m S NO STARS
This is the crack behind the large boulder over the back of the crag at the north end.
Barmouth Slabs Topo. For a clean version click HERE (Photo by Nanuls)

The upper tier

In addition to these routes, a single bouldering problem has been recorded at V6 6b on the left arête of the white slab just over the top of the upper tier.

Mountain Conditions

This section displays the mountain conditions for Snowdonia, of which Barmouth Slabs is part. Click on the widget for maps and further information.

This Snowdonia weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget

When to Climb and Essential Gear

The most reliable conditions are in the summer, but the low altitude of the crag may make it a viable option in winter when the area’s higher routes are too wet to be enjoyable. The gear needed depends entirely on the routes you plan to do. Easier routes will only require a moderate rack, while harder routes will require a something more comprehensive; a good compliment of friends or other camming devices will certainly help. Double 50 metre ropes should serve well on all routes.

Barmouth SlabsZig Zag (V. Diff)
(Photo by Nanuls)
Barmouth SlabsZig Zag (V. Diff)
(Photo by Nanuls)
Barmouth SlabsCrack 4 (Diff)
(Photo by Nanuls)
Barmouth SlabsCrack 5 (Diff)
(Photo by Nanuls)

Getting There

Take the A496 west towards Barmouth at the roundabout on the A470 at Llanelltyd (SH 715 194) just north of Dolgellau (SH 728 179). Travel along this for around 10 miles until you reach Barmouth (SH 613 156). As you enter the town, the road takes a sharp left, and coming off it is a small road leading to the Abermaw Hotel (SH 619 156). Follow this around the hotel and continue all the way until you reach the car park for the 'Panorama Walk' (SH624 166). Park at the car park. Just opposite the car park is a turning for a small road which leads up a hill. Follow this to the crag (SH619 164), which will come into view shortly after crossing a metal gate.

Red Tape and Access

Barmouth SlabsThis warning is still painted on the rock. It no longer applies (Photo by Nanuls)

No red tape here!

The slabs have a history of access problems, and up until recently climbers had to pay a small fee to access the crag. However, since the introduction of the Countryside Rights of Way (CRoW) Act (2000), the area has become open access land meaning that climbers can now access the crag at all times without restriction. See the BMC's Regional Access Database for more info.

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

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 listings check

Cadair IdrisCadair Idris
(Photo by Nanuls)
Barmouth SlabsBarmouth Slabs
(Photo by Nanuls)
Mawddach EstuaryThe Mawddach Estuary
(Photo by Nanuls)


Open Space Web-Map builder Code
Navigation Maps

Ordnance Survey 1:25k Explorer Series OL 18 Harlech, Porthmadog & Bala/Y Bala

Ordnance Survey 1:50k Landranger Series 124 Porthmadog & Dolgellau

Harvey Map Services 1:25k Rhinogs/Rhinogydd

Harvey Map Services/BMC 1:40k Snowdonia South

Road Maps

Ordnance Survey Tour Series 10 North & Mid Wales


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.
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 of the routes on Barmouth Slabs. An essential purchase if you plan to do a lot of climbing in Mid Wales.

External Links

Cadair IdrisCadair Idris (Photo by Nanuls)
The Mawdach and the Arans (Photo by Nanuls)

Government Bodies and Official Organisations

Snowdonia National Park Authority

Council for National Parks

Association of National Park Authorities

Natural Resources Wales


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


Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre

Hightreck Snowdonia


Mountain Weather Wales

Weather from the Met Office

BBC Weather

Tourist Information

Visit Wales

North Wales Tourism Partnership

Local Information from

Local Information from Snowdonia Wales Net

North Wales Index


Welsh Public Transport Information

UK Train Timetable


Youth Hostel Association in Wales

Pete's Eats

Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel

Maps and Guidebooks

Ordnance Survey

Harvey Map Services

Cicerone Guidebooks

Climbers’ Club Guidebooks


North Wales Bouldering

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