RAC Boulders

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 53.09650°N / 3.94736°W
Additional Information County: Gwynedd
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Bouldering
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 656 ft / 200 m
Sign the Climber's Log


When in times immemorial, the now long extinct Welsh glaciers set about the task of sculpting the landscape into the discordant collection of peaks, pinnacles and pastures we see today, it was by chance that three large boulders should be carried, from origins unknown, and lain down together on the gentle slopes of Dyffryn Mymbyr. The fortuitous timing of this transportation cannot be overstated. Too soon and the boulders would have been carried out onto the coastal plain, and following the glacier’s retreat, claimed by the subsequent inundation. Too late and the boulders would have remained high on the mountain side, possibly on steep ground, and possibly far apart, perhaps never to be properly discovered. We must therefore, be extremely grateful for the outcome of these prehistoric events, for they provide us with one of the finest and most accessible bouldering venues in all of Snowdonia.

The RAC Boulders sit on the far eastern flank of the Glyderau, overlooked by the mountains of the Moelwynion, Carneddau, and Snowdon Range. They are home to an excellent complement of low to mid grade problems, most of which are of an extremely high quality and proffer a mixture of delicate crimps and slopers, as well as brutish overhangs, cracks and arêtes. All in all they are an ideal introduction for those new to the sport of bouldering. Although somewhat eclipsed by the more famous Cromlech Boulders in Llanberis Pass, which are the average visitor's favoured destination, they are no less worthy of attention, and when the former become unbearably crowded, which they often do, the RAC Boulders offer a welcome sanctuary where solitude is the norm rather than the exception. Furthermore, their location affords a sunny aspect, a welcome alternative to the shadowy depths of The Pass, something that becomes evermore desirable the further the year progresses into winter.

RAC BouldersRAC Boulders
(Photo by Nanuls)
RAC BouldersLeft-hand Boulders
(Photo by Nanuls)
Snowdon HorseshoeDyffryn Mymbyr
(Photo by Bryan Benn)


The map below shows the location of the RAC boulders in relation to the surrounding area. For more details on how to reach them, see the Getting There Section.

Problems and Routes


The bouldering is split between the boulders on the left and right sides of the track, with the problems, which range from from V0- to V7 in difficulty, spread unevenly between the two groups. In recent years boulderers in North Wales have adopted the Hueco V system for grading problems. The problems listed below have been compiled, graded and rated using a combination of different sources including Simon Panton’s superb guidebook North Wales Bouldering/Bowldro Gogledd Cymru, V12’s excellent website www.northwalesbouldering.com (also Simon Panton and co), and the continually updated www.ukclimbing.com.

Left-hand Boulder

Problem 1 V0- 1 STAR
The groove at the right side of the clean wall.
Problem 2 V0+ 2 STARS
Long holds up the right-hand wall lead to good holds at the top.
Problem 3 V2 2 STARS
Climb the arête right of the groove.
Problem 4 V0+ 2 STARS
Straight up the wall.
Problem 5 V3 1 STAR
From a sit down start on the flat ledge left of the groove, move up the wall to gain the hanging flake.
Problem 6 V1 2 STARS
Climb the indented left arête of the steep wall.
Problem 7 V0+ 2 STARS
Move up right into the upper groove feature.
Problem 8 V1 2 STARS
Take the steep arete on the left side past a ledge at 2/3rds height.
Problem 9 V0- NO STARS
The green groove is perhaps a better descent than a problem.
Problem 10 V1 1 STAR
Long reaches up a small green corner.
Problem 11a – Frontside Traverse V3 2 STARS
Follow the break left into problem 3. A V7 variant stays low beneath this break, then takes thin crimps leftwards to gain problem 6.
Problem 11b – On One V9 NO STARS
A variant of the traverse, which stays low all the way, with desperate, powerful moves on directional holds.
Problem 12 – Lefthand Gully Wall Traverse V3 1 STAR
From a sit down start at the entrance of the gully, follow the intermittent ledge system across the wall finishing up problem 7.
Problem 13 - Righthand Gully Wall Traverse V2 1 STAR
From a standing start, gain and follow the line of foot ledges to the far end.
Problem 14 – Backside Arête V0- 3 STARS
Take the arete on its left side. A V0- eliminate can also be climbed on the wall to the left.
Problem 15 V0+ 1 STAR
From a standing start, with your left hand on a crimp and your right on a side pull, leap up left to a jug and the top of the problem.
Problem 16a – The Pump Traverse V4 2 STARS
Follow the sloping lip rightwards, turning left and following the boulder top up right, before dropping down past a jug to a tricky final groove.
Problem 16b – Pump Traverse Variant V6 1 STAR
A variant of the traverse, which eliminates all the cracks on the first section.
Problem 16c – The Haston/McGinley Route V7 1 STAR
Another variant which stays beneath the lip. Begin with a sit down start and move powerfully until the arête is reached.
Left-hand Boulders

Problems 1 to 7

Problems 12, 13 and 16

Problem 15 (Photo by Nanuls)
Lef-hand Boulders
(Photo by Nanuls)

Right-hand Boulder

Right-hand Boulders

Problems 18 to 21
Problem 17 – The Marsh Traverse V5 2 STARS
A fun and lengthy traverse around the boulder's steepest side. Start on the easier track-side slab and staying below the boulder's lip, move around the arête. Move up for the 'sloping nose before the crack left of Problem 22. Once around the arête you will be faced with the crux onto crimpy holds to gain a position on the ramp. More difficulties await on the final steep wall. A variation is to take the whole traverse low down at V6.
Problem 18 – RAC Arête Lefthand V0 2 STARS
The left side of the arête.
Problem 19 – RAC Arête Righthand V0 2 STARS
The right cracked side of the arête
Problem 20 V0+ 2 STARS
The cracked, pocketed wall.
Problem 21 – The Ramp V1/2 1 STAR
Pull up the slopey ramp from a sit down start.
Problem 22 – Marsh Arête V3 2 STARS
From a sit down start, climb the arête with difficulty.
Problem 23 V1 1 STAR
Straight up the wall above the pocket.
Problem 24 V1 1 STAR
Take the crimpy wall left of the ramp.
Problem 25 V1/2 2 STARS
Climb the arête and then thin crack to a difficult finish.
Problem 26 V3 2 STARS
Move up finger flakes followed by long moves to jugs above. A direct start variation comes in at V5.
Problem 27 V0+ 2 STARS
Climb up the steep flake in the arête to jugs. Do it from a sit down start to claim a V2.
Problem 28 V0+ 2 STARS
Move delicately through or along a scoop,
Problem 29 V0- 1 STAR
Breeze directly up the scoop on good holds.
Problem 30 V6 1 STAR
A left to right traverse on the lone boulder some 50 metres to the right of the main blocks. A V7 variant reaverse the lip in reverse from a sit down start at the right arête

Problems 22 to 26


The compact crag behind the boulders gives a number of short, but hard, traditional routes. The crag is divided by an area of broken rock on the left and a grassy gully on the right. The left-hand buttress is known as the Atom Art Buttress, and is home to the first three routes. This is split by an off-width dogleg crack, and capped by a large tree. A short way to the right is Central Buttress. This is by far the widest and highest of the three sections of the crag. Again there are only three main lines. Right again, a little set back, and across a wide grassy gully, lies the final small buttress, cut by a slim right-facing corner. It is home to the final two routes.

1. Jiggit 9m E6 6c NO STARS
Sustained climbing on minute holds up the well-tried wall and groovelet left of the off-width crack (peg) to finish just right of the tree.
2. Atom Art 9m E6 6b NO STARS
Takes the pocketed wall and crack, starting 2 metres right of a dogleg off-width (which can itself be climbed at HVS). It is reputed to be the safest of the three hard routes here.
3. Pygmy Passion 8m E6 6c NO STARS
The thin crack and tiny arête just right of Atom Art are sustained, but give good protection.
4. Swcad 15m E1 5c NO STARS
The central groove finishing over the roof gives a fine pitch.
5. Stor Klumpe 14m E4 6a NO STARS
The immaculate crack right of Swcad does not yield without a struggle.
6. Spanish Bomb 12m E1 5c NO STARS
On the right-hand side of the buttress, this is the groove right of Stor Klumpe, with a finish up the arête.
7. Retchus (The Longer Reach) 9m E5 6c NO STARS
The wall with a faint crackline left of El Groove. From the central flake, swing left and finish up the arête – dynamic and strenuous with one very hard move.
8. El Groove 9m E1 5c NO STARS
The slim right-facing corner.
The Crag

The Crag

Mountain Conditions

This section displays the mountain conditions for Snowdonia, of which the RAC Boulders are a 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 site’s altitude and aspect make it an ideal year round venue, and it is particularly attractive in winter, when other areas are cloaked in perpetual shade.

Trad routes will obviously require trad gear, in this case a small rack (the routes are only short after all) and an appropriate rope or ropes (again the routes are only short so there’s no need for anything over 50 metres in length).

Boulderers will need chalk, shoes and a towel for drying their feet (some of the surrounding ground is quite boggy.) A bouldering mat to take the sting out of those landings is also desirable, especially on the highball problems!

Right-hand BouldersProblem 27
(Photo by Nanuls)
RAC BouldersRight-hand Boulders
(Photo by Nanuls)
RAC BouldersRight-hand Boulder
(Photo by Nanuls)

Getting There

Conveniently, the RAC Boulders (SH 696 572) is located very close to the A4086, so you don’t have far to lug your equipment. If approaching from the east, turn off the A5 at Capel Curig (SH 720 580) and drive south along the A4086 for around 3km. Park at a large layby on the right hand side of the road. The boulders are just a few metres away on the hillside above you. If you are coming from the south, take the A498 through Beddgelert (SH 590 418) towards the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel (SH 659 557). Pass the hotel, you will now be on the A4086, and drive north for around 3km to the aforementioned layby.

Alternatively, you could take advantage of Snowdonia’s public transport system and take the bus. The Snowdon Sherpa bus service, which calls at various points throughout the area, and passes the boulders, can be caught at Llanberis, Bettws y Coed, Caernarfon, Beddgelert, Bethesda, and Porthmadog. Be sure to check timetables first though, as you don't want to end up missing the last bus and find yourself stranded on the roadside, of course in these situations, hitching is always an option.

Red Tape and Access

RAC BouldersProblem 20
(Photo by Nanuls)

No red tape or access issues here!

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.

RAC BouldersProblems 7 and 8
(Photo by Nanuls)

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

Local camping options include Gwern Gof Uchaf, Gwern Gôf Isaf Campsite and bunkhouse and Garth Farm.

There are also a number of YHA hostels in the area, the nearest of which are Idwal Cottage near Tryfan and Pen-y-Pass in the Pass of Llanberis. The Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre in Capel Curig also has a bunk house; and its own indoor climbing wall if you’re still feeling energetic after your day in the mountains.

The valley in the centre of this photo, taken from Crib Goch, is Dyffryn Mymbyr and the location of the RAC Boulders
(Photo by Nanuls)


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

Snowdonia: Glyderau and Carneddau

Road Maps

OS Road Map 9 Wales/Cymru & West Midlands


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.
North Wales Bouldering/Bowldro Gogledd Cymru North Wales Bouldering/Bowldro Gogledd Cymru by Simon Panton

The only dedicated bouldering guide for North Wales, covering the Llanberis Pass, Ogwen Valley, outlying areas, and coastal crags, including the RAC Boulders. An excellent publication which radiates quality.
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. Dedicates half a page or so to the RAC Boulders.
Climbs Omitted from the Llanberis Guide Climbers' Club Guide: Ogwen by the Mike Bailey

The difinitive guide to climbing in the Ogwen Valley. Also contains outliers such as the RAC Boulders and it's surrounding crags.

External Links

RAC BouldersLeft-hand Boulder (Photo by Nanuls)
RAC Boulders
RAC Boulders from Moel Siabod (Photo by Nanuls)
RAC BouldersRight-hand Boulder (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 Gwynedd.com

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