The Rhinogydd is a significant mountain area in Central Snowdonia which is absolutely littered with boulders, outcrops and large cliffs, all composed of perfect gritstone.
As part of its WELSH GRIT guidebook project, Steep Stone is now providing a number of new, free, interim crag or area-specific guidebook PDF downloads for selected Rhinogydd crags or areas.
For the rock climber and boulderer, this area is arguably one of Wales' greatest
yet least-known treasures.
For far too long, Berwynion climbing has been outside the mainstream, very much the Cinderella
of North Wales climbing. Several factors have contributed to this, not least the fact that Snowdonia is
the undoubted big brother in this particular part of Wales. But there is also the undeniable possibility that previous climbing guidebooks have unknowingly undersold the area as a viable and worthwhile climbing destination in its own right, presenting it as something of a bolt-on to other venues deemed to be both more interesting and worthy. As a result, the area has largely remained
a backwater as far as the climber is concerned.
The last guidebook to the area was published by the Climbers' Club in 2002. The purpose of Steep Stone's new, free-to-download interim Berwynion guidebook is to redress the balance by providing the up-to-date information now required by climbers. It is, however, not intended as a stand-alone guide, but is designed to be used in conjunction with the CC’s Meirionnydd guidebook.
Hopefully this supplementary guide will afford a closer and clearer appreciation of what is available in these wild, friendly, relatively untouched and charmingly unvisited Welsh Borderland valleys and so serve to both enthuse and inspire in equal measure.
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)".
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 Fawr, Yr Aran, Yr Arenig and Y Berwynion most welcomed, as well as feedback on existing climbs and problems and all other aspects of climbing in Central/Mid Wales.
Emma Ransome pictured on the front cover of September 2018's Climber magazine, climbing the FA of her bold HVS direct finish to "Menace from the Deep", (VS 5a), Ynys Lochtyn, Ceredigion.
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.
The Climbers' Club Journal 2019
'Above Secret Waters' is an illustrated account of the very beginning of rock climbing in Radnorshire. Written by Dave Williams, it was published in Volume 128 of the Climbers' Club Journal in August 2019.
The article provides the historical context for the development of climbing in the Elan Valley during the early 1950s, as well as introducing the interesting and diverse characters who first explored and pioneered new rock climbs on these long forgotten, secret cliffs.
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