steep stone ~ news

Latest News: A very early Radnorshire climbing guidebook breaks cover

The publication of the Central Wales - Elenydd guidebook has brought to light the existence of a much earlier guidebook to Creigiau Dolfolau in the Elan Valley. Privately published, probably sometime in the mid-1950s and unaccredited, the 12 page A Climbers' Guide to Radnorshire is thought to be the work of EH Lane, one of Radnorshire's early rock climbing pioneers.

Needless to say, this an exceptionally rare guidebook. There may only be one copy left in existence and we are extremely grateful to Brian Davis for bringing it to our attention. Compared to modern climbing guidebooks, it makes for some very contrasting and almost otherworldly reading; an absolutely fascinating insight into what was a very different world:  ".....It is a 'rubber' cliff, for nails would quickly destroy the small holds, and clinkers, in particular, skid badly on the rather soapy surface....."  and: ".....the slowest of cyclists will reach it in less than an hour from Rhyader (sic)".

We now have a New Climbs Archive

 It is good to see that folk have been getting out and using the new Central Wales ~ Elenydd guidebook. There has been plenty of activity at most of the crags and, in addition, new routes and problems have been added to a number of crags. Find out more by visiting our New Climbs Archive, an exciting and hopefully a very informative new addition to our website.  

 First ascent details for Elenydd, Y Rhinogydd, Cadair Idris, Rhobell FawrYr Aran, Yr Arenigand Y Berwynion also welcomed, as well as feedback on existing climbs and problems and all other aspects of climbing in Central/Mid Wales.  

New Climbs Archive
Ferdia Earle on the FA of The Shield (F6b) at Llyn Brianne

Opposite: Ferdia Earle on the  FA of  ''The Shield'' (F6b)  at Llyn  Brianne. 

[©Andrew Wielochowski. All rights reserved.]

Climber Magazine

To coincide with the new guidebook's publication, Climber, Britain's premier climbing magazine, featured two Destination Articles in consecutive issues. The first, UNDISCOVERED WALES PART 1 - THE RADNORSHIRE ENIGMA, describing what is on offer in Powys' Elan Valley, was in the July-August 2018 issue. The second, UNDISCOVERED WALES PART 2 - WAY OUT WEST, highlighting the very best climbing on Ceredigion's hard sandstone sea cliffs at Ynys Lochtyn and Pen Bilis, was published in the following September-October issue. 

Written by Steep Stone's Dave Williams, both articles provide essential background reading, especially for the first-time visitor. For those who missed out on the hard copy print editions, digital back issues of both are currently available to purchase HERE

Buying the Central Wales - Elenydd Guidebook

Distributed nationally by Cordee, it can be purchased from the following retailers:

National stockists

  • Needle Sports, Keswick
  • The Climbers' Shop, Ambleside
  • Outside, Hathersage
  • Joe Brown, Capel Curig
  • Joe Brown, Llanberis
  • V12, Llanberis
  • Trekitt, Hereford
  • Up and Under, Cardiff 
  • Dick’s Climbing, Bristol
  • The Climbing Academy, Bristol
  • The Castle Climbing Wall Shop, London
  • Cotswold Outdoor (all Welsh & adjacent branches - e.g. Bristol, Bath)

Local Central Wales stockists

  • Aberystwyth Tourist Information Centre, Ceredigion 
  • Aberystwyth Arts Centre Bookshop, Ceredigion 
  • Ystwyth Books, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion
  • Cadair Idris Outdoor Gear, Dolgellau, Gwynedd
  • Great Oak Bookshop, Llanidloes, Powys
  • Elan Valley Visitors' Centre, Rhayader, Powys
  • Crickhowell Adventure, Crickhowell , Powys
  • Llangorse Multi Activity Centre , Llangorse, Brecon, Powys

The guidebook is also stocked by many other specialist rock climbing and outdoor retailers not listed above - eg. online-only retailers such as Cordee, The Climbers' Club, Rock & Run and Climb Europe.

Upcoming Events

The Climbers' Club Journal 2018

'Above Secret Waters', written by Dave Williams, will appear in the second of two Climbers' Club Journals which is hopefully being published towards the end of 2018. The article provides the context for the development of climbing in the Elan Valley in the early 1950s, as well as introducing the interesting characters who first explored these long forgotten cliffs. 


© Steep Stone™, trading as Steep Stone Climbing and Steep Stone Publishing. 

All rights reserved.