Rhinog Fach

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 52.82403°N / 3.98237°W
Additional Information County: Gwynedd
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Bouldering
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 2336 ft / 712 m
Sign the Climber's Log


The Rhinogydd are known for their rough and remote character, and Rhinog Fach (712m), the range’s fourth highest mountain, can justifiably claim to be one of the wildest little summits in Wales. Sandwiched between its more famous sister, Rhinog Fawr, in the north, and the largest mountain of the range, Y Llethr, in the south, it’s the perfect picture of what a Welsh hill should be. While smaller than its two neighbours, it is, in this author’s opinion at least, the most striking peak of the collective, and when viewed from Cwm Nantcol or Llyn Hywel strikes a highly impressive profile. The shores of the aforementioned Llyn by the way, make an ideal spot for a wild camp.

The mountain also has the honour of being the scene of the very first rock climb in the range, when in 1935 a party ascended the South Ridge (Severe) of the mountain and declared it to be the only rock climb between Cadair Idris and Snowdon. Since then much has changed and there are now countless routes in-between the two; yet Rhinog Fach itself has only gained a handful of new lines since then, but some interesting ones nonetheless. Walking on Water (Severe) takes the large slab on the eastern side of Llyn Hywel and, for the bold or the stupid at least, brings Deep Water Soloing to the Rhinogydd!

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


Rock Climbing

The climbing on Rhinog Fach is split between two distinct areas, namely the high crags around Llyn Hywel and the lower ones around Bwlch Drws Ardudwy.

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. The Climbers’ Club have also produced a free pdf, which provides details of first ascents recorded after 2001: download it here. Technical grades are generally only given to climbs graded adjectivally as Hard Severe (HS) or above.

Please be aware that Rhinog Fach 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!

Rhinog Fach from Llyn HywelRhinog Fach
(Photo by adeeh464)
Rhinog FachRhinog Fach
(Photo by Nanuls)
Bwlch Drws ArdudwyBwlch Drws Ardudwy
(Photo by Nanuls)

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.

Used to indicate that there are currently no restrictions, either seasonal, temporary or permanent, affecting a route.


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.

Llyn Hywel

The routes around Llyn Hywel are quite easy to identify and are reached via Cwm Hosan. The South Ridge can clearly be seen rising from the lake to Rhinog Fach’s summit, reach the start of the route by scrambling over scree and heather to the ridge’s lowest point, then skirt around to its right to start at a short(ish) slab just to the right of a rock tower. Walking on Water takes the centre of the large and slightly vegetated slab on the far (eastern) side of the lake, reach it by walking along the lake’s northern shore and then delicately traversing in to its centre.

Llyn Hywel at sunsetLlyn Hywel
(Photo by adeeh464)
Rhinog FachSouth Ridge
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinog FachSummit Cairn
(Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Quality Restrictions
1. South Ridge 170m 6 S 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
2. Walking on Water 50m 1 S 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS

Bwlch Drws Ardudwy

The eastern approach to the Bwlch via the forest road leads to the stile on the forest edge from which, The Not so Roman Nose can be seen 300 metres away on the lowest slopes of Rhinog Fach’s north-east side. After 200 metres from the stile on leaving the forest on the main track cut off leftwards to follow the right edge of an old broken stone wall. The small buttress has a clean arête with a face each side, the right face ending in a chasm where the buttress leans away from the mountain.

Two further walls sit up on the hillside facing north west. Follow a green sheep track by a stream directly up the hillside to SH 668 279. Here you will find Scatomancy and Praxis. The wall next right has several large flakes forming its top third. A flat rock sits on the ground by the centre of the face. This gives The boot is on the Udder and Bootslayer. Next right is a tower with a huge flake sitting on top like a head, which gives Baby Ozymandias and Baby Oz.

There is an upper crag, which faces north-west and so gets afternoon sun. It is composed of the best rock in this area. Find it by continuing up past the lower face for 200 metres then contouring south to reach it in around 5 minutes (SH 668 276). Routes Reach for the Sky to Public Services can be found here.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Quality Restrictions
3. Titantics Struggle 8m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
4. The Crocadile had a Napkin 10m 1 E2 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
5. Reaching for Air 10m 1 E5 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
6. Scatomancy 10m 1 E1 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
7. Praxis 10m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
8. The boot is on the Udder 10m 1 HS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
9. Bootslayer 10m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
10. Baby Ozymandias 10m 1 HS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
11. Baby Oz 10m 1 E1 5b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
12. Reach for the Sky 12m 1 E3 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
13. Snatches of Eternity 12m 1 E4 6a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
14. Just a bit further 12m 1 E2 5c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
15. Remote Supervision 10m 1 HS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
16. Public Services 9m 1 S 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Mountain Conditions

This section displays the mountain conditions for Snowdonia, in which Rhinog Fawr is located. Click on the widget for maps and further details.

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

When To Climb and Essential Gear

Rhinog Fach 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, there are however, no true winter climbs.

Rhinog FachSouth Ridge - S
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinog FachSouth Ridge
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinog FawrCwm Hosan
(Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinog FachRhinog Fach
(Photo by Nanuls)

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.

Red Tape and Access

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.

Rhinog Fawr (left) and Rhinog Fach (right) (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

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.

For wild camping, Llyn Hywel (SH 662 267) makes an excellent location.

Rhinog FachRhinog Fach
(Photo by nanuls)
Bwlch Drws ArdudwyBwlch Drws Ardudwy
(Photo by Nanuls)
Llyn y Bi, RhinogsLlyn y Bi
(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.
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.
Ridges of England, Wales and Ireland Cicerone Guide: Ridges of England, Wales and Ireland by Dan Bailey

A new and very pretty guide to some of the UK's finest ridge routes, including the South Ridge.
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 FachRhinog Fach (Photo by Nanuls)
Bwlch Drws ArdudwyBwlch Drws Ardydwy (Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinog FawrRhinog Fawr (Photo by Nanuls)
Rhinog FachRhinog Fach (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



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.