The exciting sea cliffs of Cilan Head have a fearsome reputation, and rightly so as this area includes some of the most adventurous sea cliff climbing around. Some of the cliff top approaches are also tricky and intimidating. The rock itself consists of a challenging mix of shale and grit bands. The shale can be particularly unstable, demanding a very considered and steady approach. Experience and relatively equal ability within the team is vital; the routes are often just as harrowing to second as they are to lead. A large rack, with lots of cams will be found to be essential. All that being said, these cliffs have tremendous atmosphere and character, and host some of the best routes in the area. The nearby Ty’n Tywyn Quarries offer a less serious option for those looking for a more conventional cragging experience.

A number of the cliffs are subject to seasonal nesting restrictions – check the BMC Regional Access Database for details.


Assuming the sun is shining, climbing is possible throughout the year. The crags all have a sunny aspect and thus, despite the odd seepage line, dry relatively quickly. Most of the Cilan Head cliffs are tidal, the exception being Craig Dorys, which is semi-tidal. The Ty’n Tywyn Quarries are non-tidal.


Most of the crags are found around Cilan Head, which is situated just beyond Abersoch. The Ty’n Tywyn Quarries are just up the coast near Llanbedrog.

Rock Climbing

The best things about North Wales rock climbing are the infinite variety coupled with the fact that it’s very nearly always possible to find somewhere that’s dry. Within a relatively small area you can choose from long ‘trad’ climbs in the mountains, first rate single pitch sport climbs, wild and beautiful sea cliffs or the hidden secrets of vast quarries. You can climb on Slate, Limestone, Granite, Quartzite, Dolerite, Rhyolite, Sandstone, Gritstone and of course resin when there’s nowhere dry to be found!

The publisher of this website accepts no responsibility for the way in which readers use the information contained therein. The descriptions and recommendations are for guidance only and must be subject to discriminating judgement by the reader. Advice and training should be sought before utilising any equipment or techniques mentioned within the text or shown in any of the photographic images. Climbing is an activity with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in this activity should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.