Climbing in Snowdonia

Climbing in Snowdonia

Wales is a magical, mystical realm to visit and nowhere in the country feels more otherworldly than the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. The panoramic views of rugged mountains dotted with mirrored lakes and ruined castles calls to mind plenty of fairytales, not least the legend of King Arthur which, for some, is tied so closely to the land’s history.

However, if you’ve had enough of the tourist traps – you’ve climbed Snowdon, visited the slate museum and wandered around a castle or two – then it’s time to tackle something a little more out of the ordinary. Snowdonia is a great place for keen hikers and walkers, but it’s also the perfect environment to test out your climbing skills.

Climbing is a fantastic all-body workout, but it’s also great for engaging those little grey brain cells. Just as you would turn to the newspaper crossword puzzle, a cerebral game like blackjack or a sudoku grid to get your brain in gear, you can apply the same state of mind to solving so-called climbing problems.

Whether you’re already a climbing enthusiast or this would be your first time, there are climbs in Snowdonia suitable for every skill level – and you’re guaranteed a fantastic view!

Plan Ahead

Perhaps the best advice you can take to heart before embarking on a climbing trip comes from the Scouts: be prepared. Even if you’ve been climbing before or you’ve been hitting the climbing wall at your local gym for weeks, it’s a good idea to plan the details out before you set off.

Some climbs won’t require any more advanced kit than some sturdy trainers and non-restrictive clothing as many climbing centres will provide the essentials like helmets, ropes, carabiners, harnesses, etc. However, if you’re heading out independently, then check and double check that you have all the necessary equipment with you.

You’ll also want to check the weather forecast; Wales is famous for its frequent wet weather which can put a stop to any outdoor activities, particularly climbing. If the rock is too wet and slippery underfoot, then it would be unwise to attempt a climb.

Choose Wisely

Deciding on which climbing route to take can depend on a variety of different factors. Difficulty rating, how much time you have, experience of group members, weather, proximity to where you’re staying… the list goes on. Only you can know which route is the best fit for you on this particular visit, and you shouldn’t be tempted to go for something more difficult just for the sake of it. Listen to the advice of experts and know your limits.

The Llanberis Pass, Tremadog and the Slate Quarries above Llanberis all feature classic climbs, offering up a range of routes from those suitable for all abilities to difficult ones to very severe ones. It’s good to push yourself a little bit but stay within your ability range and get ready for the satisfaction of a job well done. Nothing beats that feeling of figuring out a tricky problem.

Make a Holiday of It

There is plenty of accommodation readily available in Snowdonia for the weary climber. If you’re lucky with the weather, then you might want to consider a true outdoorsy approach and pitch up your tent for the night. You’ll find loads of well-equipped campsites in the region, ideally placed to better appreciate those unique awe-inspiring views from a cosy canvas interior.

However, you will surely be forgiven if you’re craving a proper bed after a hard day’s climbing. If you’re keen to stick to a tight budget, then the YHA hostels strategically placed around the national park offer comfortable and clean sleeping quarters with both catered and self-catering options. It’s worth giving these favourite haunts of hardcore travellers a try, as they tend to be filled with helpful and friendly people full of tips and advice about the local area. You never know what you’ll learn!

The World is Your… Climbing Wall

Once you’ve conquered the dizzying heights of Snowdonia, then the climbing world really will open up to you. Though these Welsh peaks and ridges offer rare and uncommon vistas, there are plenty more areas of the country, the UK and Europe with equally matchless ascents just asking to be climbed. Snowdonia has a wild and untamed beauty to it; the climate can be bold and unpredictable, the climbing routes tough and challenging but the people are always friendly and the views from the top always worth it.

Once you’ve got to grips with some of the climbing routes in Snowdonia, it might be time to check out climbing walls local to you back at home. Climbing recreationally is a growing sport and therefore plenty of gyms and centres currently have good introductory offers up for grabs. Give it a go and you might just make it on that more difficult route next time you’re in Wales.