Overview of the Route
Colin belays Ken at the top of pitch 2
Llyn Ogwen seen from the top of pitch 2
The letter box seen from below
The Milestone buttress is named after a long gone milestone (at least I've never seen it) on the A5 trunk road that runs from London to Holyhead. The cliff is on the Northern flanks of Tryfan
and easily accessible from the road.
Although it is of an easy grade, it is one of the classics of rock climbing in the Ogwen Valley. Originally climbed by Barlow and Priestley-Smith in 1910, it remains popular in the modern era.
Ken enters the letterbox
Ken emerges from the letter box
The first pitch is a slab and groove and leads pleasantly to the belay ledge. Pitch 2 is a simple corner climb that leads to a comfortable belay ledge with great views of the Ogwen valley.
On pitch 3 the climbing becomes a lot more interesting, as a steep crack has to be followed to a pile of large blocks that bar the way to further progress. Here a rather exciting move through a letter box crack brings the climber out onto the top of an exposed wall and although the holds are large, the sudden exposure tightens the grip somewhat.
Colin belays Ken at the start of the chimney
Ken gains the pedestal in the chimney
Ken protects the last few metres
Ken near the top of pitch 4
Colin tries the chimney
The 4th pitch requires a more simian approach than those previously climbed, as the way up is via a narrow chimney requiring combined tactics to ascend.
Once above the chimney, a short easy pitch leads to the top of the crag.
The overall length of the route is 250 feet split between pitches as follows:
Pitch 1 100ft
Pitch 2 40ft
Pitch 3 50ft
Pitch 4 30ft
Pitch 5 30ft
The rock is volcanic and very solid. Protection points are sufficient for the grade and the belay ledges big enough for large parties.
Follow the main A5 trunk road from either the Bangor direction or from Bettws Y Coed. The crag lies above the eastern end of Llyn Ogwen on the lower slopes of the North Ridge of Tryfan.
Layby parking is freely available. Buses are also possible but require more patience.
A normal rack of nuts, and slings and twin 9mm ropes of 50 metres.
Guides and Maps
Guidebook: Ogwen and Carneddau by Iwan Arfon Jones, Climbers Club 1993 ISBN 0-901-601-52-7
Map: Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa - Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 "Explorer OL17"