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Craig-Y-Llyn Header.jpg

GR OS 170 913035

Steven Delaney enjoying perfect conditions during the 2010 big freeze on Iron Claws Gd IV+. Photo by Christian Reynish


This is (hopefully!) a cold icy natural crag and a SSSI. NO new sports routes are allowed.


There are over 9 known routes. The escarpment above the reservoir has a large number of gullies with ice falls that freeze quite frequently - Gd II to IV. A number of face routes have been climbed since the guide was published.


To find your desired crag, type the name in to the Filter Markers box (top right corner of the map).

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The Rhigos road may be closed in wintry weather, so try to check before venturing out. People with snow chains usually move the cones aside and drive on through. Park on top of escarpment in a viewing point layby. An easy walk provides access from the top and down the gully approx half way along escarpment.

Craig-y-Llyn was originally notified as an SSSI for the two lakes, and is also of interest for the heath vegetation on the slopes above the lakes, which benefits from sheep being excluded. There is no requirement for individual climbers to approach CCW for permission to climb, but the landowner (in this case the Forestry Commission)[1] has an obligation to give notice to CCW before granting permission for activities such as this. However, CCW does have powers to take action on damage by third parties if a problem develops. (... the exact wording of this needs to be checked by a CCW specialist before being published in the winter guidebook).

Generally there isn't a problem regarding a good build up of snow & ice on cliffs, as the plants are dormant or covered in snow/ice. However, concerns arise when conditions are 'lean' - i.e. little snow/ice cover, but frozen turf. In these conditions, ice axes and crampons can possibly do some damage if either, a lot of people climb a particular route, or if there are sensitive species/communities there. To try and inform people about these issues, Barbara Jones has written pieces for the BMC webpages together with the access and conservation officer for Wales.

The ledge communities at Craig-y-Llyn are not a feature for which the SSSI was notified but they certainly do have local botanical interest. The CCW would ask people to avoid climbing when there is little snow or ice (i.e. lean) and only frozen turf. Later in the year, of course, there is also the issue of nesting birds such as Peregrines, covered by separate legislation.


Approach is usually by abseil.


The routes are described as approached, i.e. from left to right.

To the left of the Central Descent Gully

1. The Evil Eye 1 20 m grade 2

2. Poke in the Eye 20m grade 5

H. Griffiths, G. Lewis, I. Clarke 01/1996

3. The Evil Eye 2 20 m grade 2

4. Lost and Creeping 30 m grade 3

5. Creeping Wall 30 m grade 3

G. Lewis, A.Richardson 01/1987

6. The Weeping Wall 35 m grade 4 **

H. Griffiths, G. Lewis, 01/1986

7. Lost and Weeping 35 m grade 3

G. Lewis, H. Griffiths, 01/1986

8. Central Icefall 40 m grade 3 *

9. The Colliers Band 40m grade 4 *

G. Lewis, N. Lewis 01/1998

10. Turkey Ridge 50m grade 4

G. Lewis, A. McCarthy 20/01/1998

To the right of the Central Descent Gully

11. Central Descent Gully

12. Garfields Game 50 m grade 3/4

13. Douglas Gap 50 m grade 3/4 **

H. Griffiths, G. Lewis, 01/1986

14. Iron Claws 60 m grade 4/5 **

H. Griffiths, G. Lewis, 01/1986

15. Far Right Gully 90m grade 2

The obvious boulder and tree strewn gully on the far right of the crag.

G. Lewis, 01/1986


Note also that the fact that people may have climbed here for over 50 yrs is of no significance to NRW since it's designation as an SSSI.Article 27,regards climbing as unauthorised works unless the owner( whatever the forestry commission now call themselves even though another branch of NRW) consult NRW to permit climbing.One climbing site at Cefn Coed has been banned already and others threatened by this "catch 22".It can happen at the whim of the NRW ecologist overseeing any SSSI.
  1. Obviously tis part needs to be rewritten as there in no longer any such thing as the CCW or the Forestry Commission