Rock climbing in Wales is very much split into a north – south divide, and includes every style of climbing to choose from. This includes everything from long multi-pitch routes and bouldering in the mountains of Snowdonia; sport climbing in old quarries, to sea cliff climbing in Pembroke and Gogarth.
Snowdonia and North Wales contains some of the best and easy accessible rock climbing areas in Britain, as well as offering a great variety and styles of rock climbing. Llanberis is the heart of rock climbing in Snowdonia, with Llanberis Pass (simply known as “The Pass”) providing world class traditional multi-pitch climbing and bouldering on mountain rock. The Llanberis slate quarries have recently been comprehensively re-bolted providing a large number of sport routes from friendly F4’s to the top end of F8’s. Rock climbing on slate provides some fine and weird climbing that is unique to North Wales.
Just to the southwest of Snowdon are the areas of Tremadog and the Lleyn Peninsula that are traditionally dryer than the mountains of Snowdonia. Tremadog is definitely the more friendly area, providing multi-pitch traditional climbing up to around 100m long, as well as being home to many classic routes. Tremadog is a popular rock climbing area providing striking lines on golden dolerite rock, quick drying, as well as being close to the road and café. The sea cliffs of the Lleyn Peninsula provide some of the most adventurous climbing in North Wales. There the routes are on rock of varying quality, with some of the descents said to be more gripping than the climbs themselves!
To the north of Snowdonia is the island of Anglesey, and situated on the western tip are the sea cliffs of Gogarth close to Holyhead. These huge sea cliffs provide an unparalleled range of adventurous traditional multi-pitch climbing, in a beautiful and atmospheric location.
To the north and east of Snowdonia the rock turns to limestone, which becomes home to the main sport climbing areas of Wales. The first area is situated along the A55 trunk road near Llandudno, with the second area situated in the hills behind Llangollen.
North Wales also offers a great depth and variety of bouldering. This ranges from the mountain areas of Llanberis and Ogwen to the coastal areas around Rhiw on the Lyn Peninsula, Anglesey and Llandudno.
Rock climbing in South Wales is all about traditional sea cliff climbing on limestone or sandstone rock. Pembroke is the jewel of the crown here, with many thousands of routes in fantastic and dramatic positions. As with most sea cliff climbing getting to the bottom of these routes can be exciting, generally requiring a combination of a committing abseil, along with negotiating the wide ranging tides.
The Gower to the south of Swansea is the second largest rock climbing area in South Wales. Here the routes are easier to locate and generally more friendly, along with the opportunity to climb straight off the beach. Also in this area are the weathered limestone sea cliffs of Ogmor and Witches Point near Bridgend.
South of the Brecon Beacons is a wealth of great sport climbing around Cardiff, Newport, Merthyr Tydfil and Abergavenny. This climbing is on a mixture of limestone outcrops and sandstone quarries, with some of the larger crags being Dinas Rock, Sirhowy, Tirpentwys, Navigation Quarry and Gilwern.
The photograph shows Eddie Shaw on the 2nd pitch of North West Passage (E1 5b) at Castle Helen, Gogarth South Stack.
Wales is also an excellent place to go hill walking and mountaineering with many long distance paths and trails. Discover the best long distance paths and trails in Wales.
There are many rock climbing, sport climbing and bouldering guidebooks that cover the vast rock climbing areas within Wales.
Buy rock climbing guidebooks for Snowdonia and North Wales from
Buy rock climbing guidebooks for South Wales including Pembroke and The Gower from our shop.