photo: Ray Wood
Tennis Shoe photo: Ray Wood

Rock Climbing in North Wales

In 1798, the Rev. William Bingley and his friend the Rev. Peter Williams ascended the East Terrace of Clogwyn du’r Arddu a cliff high on the dark, northerly flanks of Snowdon. It was the first officially recorded rock climb in Britain. ‘Cloggy’ as it is known affectionately, remains one of the finest crags in the UK, with each generation of climbers leaving an historical mark as a series of increasingly difficult and serious first ascents.

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!

Follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest British climbers - Joe Brown, Don Whillans, Pete Crew, Martin Boysen, Pete Livesey, Ron Fawcett and mingle with latter day heroes, for many of whom North Wales is at the cutting edge of rising standards of difficulty.

If you’ve never climbed before forget about heroes and standards of difficulty and come here to learn on some really friendly crags in the company of experts – you’ll always be a hero to your mates and who knows you may even be revered in the annals of UK climbing history one day.

Spoilt for Choice

  • For long, moderately graded überclassics in the mountains, head for Tryfan & Cwm Idwal in Ogwen or Lliwedd and Clogwyn y Ddysgyl on the flanks of Snowdon
  • Two or three pitch climbs in abundance can be found in the world renowned Llanberis Pass. Probably the most recognisable rock climb in the world lies high above the Pass – Cenotaph Corner. To it’s side lies Right Wall. Both climbs representing defining moments in British climbing history and folklore.
  • If it's wet in the mountains head south to Tremadoc and the rain shadow of Snowdonia for classic climbs on rough dolerite or to steep limestone along the A55 coastal road where it’s sure to be dry (or at least, drier!). All along the North Wales coast there are sport climbing crags of which the Great Orme at Llandudno is perhaps the most intensely developed.
  • For the ultimate sea cliff experience follow the A55 to the north-western tip of Anglesey near to Holyhead. The mighty cliffs of Gogarth, once declared impossible to climb, teem with routes of VS and harder of which A Dream of White Horses, Gogarth, Positron and The Bells, The Bells epitomise above the sea adventures – albeit for very different apelike abilities.

...all contenders in Britain's got Talent Brilliant Rock Climbs!


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Centres, Instructors, Coaches & Guides

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Top Rock Climbing Venues in North Wales

Pick of the Pops

Family & Fun

  • Little Tryfan in Ogwen - a mini-me clone of big Tryfan, these friendly slabs have introduced generations of human mini-mes to their adventurous futures…

Tryfan Bach, © Garry Smith

50 Shades of Great

  • You are a climber, your life is incomplete until you have done a Dream of White Horses at Gogarth. There is no single reason why this should be so (the name aside). The situation, the exposure (!), the moves, the line, the holds? It just is... er, right? Maybe even simply "because it's there" - doh, I said it.

Dream of White Horses, © Ryan Brooks

Out There

  • There are two ways that climbers see an Indian Face. The first, as a proud but beleaguered, monumentally featured, facet representing the plight of truth; the second representing the iconic image of the indigenous population of North America. Johnny Dawes - arrow climber. Clogwyn d'r Arddu, Indian Face (E9 6c) - wall débutante ball without end.