The dramatic Llanberis Pass is without doubt one of the best places to boulder in the whole of North Wales. The quality of the problems, combined with the atmospheric position, makes for a heady brew of bouldering pleasure. The two main areas in the Pass are the Wavelength hillside and the Cromlech Boulders, although there are numerous other esoteric gems to be found around the valley.
Wavelength is the collective name given to the succession of smaller areas and boulders leading up the hillside behind Ynys Ettws, all the way to the base of Diffwys Dwr (Craig y Rhaeadr). The name is derived from crenulations found on several boulders but most distinctively on the eponymous block.
The landings are generally good, although there is the odd boggy area.
Bouldering is possible here throughout the year although in the depths of winter you would do better to pick a less exposed and sunnier venue. During the summer months evening visits are best - surprisingly good conditions can be found, especially if you head up to the higher areas. Most of the boulders dry quickly after rain and seepage is rarely an issue.
For all areas park in the layby 100m from the entrance to Ynys Ettws Climbers’ Club hut. There are various ways to reach the boulders but first time visitors are best to follow a vague path up rightwards from the back of Ynys Ettws. A large house sized block (known as Utopia) will be reached in about 10 minutes; from here more excellent boulders will be found further up the hillside.
The roadside access and sheer density of problems throughout the grades serve to ensure the enduring popularity of this classic venue. There is something for everybody here, from kid’s mini-boulders right up to the mind-boggling grade of Font 8B on the Jerry’s Roof block 250m back down towards Nant Peris. There is also more good bouldering to be found on the other side of the river; check out the slabby crag on the left and The Barrel by the Dinas Mot approach path.
Year round climbing is possible although it can get a bit chilly in the depths of winter. It’s normally possible to find whatever combination of shade and shelter that suits the weather of the day. The boulders dry very quickly, although drainage streaks can persist on the roadside face after heavy rain. One or two of the landing areas become water logged during rainy periods, but the majority are unaffected by drainage problems.
Pull up in the layby 100m from the river bridge at Pont y Gromlech and get out of, or off, your chosen mode of transport. During the summer season you may find it hard to park, particularly on a weekend. Although spaces tend to start appearing from mid afternoon onwards as Snowdon bound hillwalkers return from Pen y Pass to their cars.