Rock Climbing


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Pen Trwyn and North Wales Limestone

The effects of the rain shadow, created by the mountains of Eryri, on the North coast of Gwynedd and Clwyd is well known. The resorts of Llandudno and Colwyn Bay were established on this coast to take advantage of the lower rainfall and longer sunshine hours. Despite a better climate than even Tremadog and Gogarth enjoys and steep limestone faces that were climbed on extensively in the Peak, it was not until the mid to late Eighties (after a huge amount of development), that the mainstream of climbers began to take notice of the advantages to the area. Talk about a slow learning curve! North Wales limestone is now one of the major climbing venues of Britain.
There are two main areas, the Great Orme - forming the headland to the north of Llandudno and the Little Orme a mass of spectacularly beetling cliffs and steep grassy slopes to the South East of Llandudno and easily seen from the sea front. A third very important climbing area was to be found at Craig y Forwen; however, access problems have halted activity there.

The character of the two Ormes are quite different to each other, on the Little Orme access to the routes can be difficult and sometimes dangerous while on Great Orme nearly all the routes can be approached in a few minutes - some pitches start on the tarmac.

Getting to the cliffs
The easiest approach to Llandudno along the A55 coast road; it is also possible to leave the A5 at Betws y Coed and get to Llandudno via Llanrwst. A number of junctions are signposted to Llandudno, once in the town head for the Promenade, from here one can see the Little Orme (on the right looking out to sea). Also, one can see the Llandudno Pier, the approach to the Marine Drive - the main access to the routes on the Great Orme, lies just past the pier. The added benefit for climbing in the Llandudno area is that most of the climbing is still quite accessible even if one arrives by bus or by train.

As previously mentioned, access to Craig y Forwen is not possible at the moment; the BMC has been meeting with the landowner, but with little success as yet. On the cliffs above Marine Drive make sure you stick to the designated areas. Also there are bird bans on the cliffs hereabouts, particularly those of Little Orme; make sure that you keep to them otherwise they might be lost as climbing areas. You wouldn't want to climb with all that guano around anyway.

A Rock Fax Guide
North Wales Limestone - Published by The Climbers Club. Written by Andy Pollit.

Maps - Ordnance Survey
Landranger 1:50,000 No. 115, 116
Outdoor Leisiure 1:25,000 No. 17; Pathfinder 1:25,000 Sh 78/88

New routes information can be found here on this web site, for more detailed information on developments, one could ask around the shops in Llanberis; or, look through a copy of one of the recent New Routes books either in Pete's Eats Cafe: or, Parisella's Cafe, Llandudno.

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