Dinas MotGwynedd, WALES
Climbs 109 – Rocktype Rhyolite – Altitude 400m – Faces N
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Dinas Mot sits in shade, high in the Llanberis Pass, watching its neighbours Dinas Cromlech and Carreg Wastad bathe in the pale-warm British sunshine.
It doesn't yearn for that golden glow, safe in the knowledge that despite its lack of sun-tan potential, its rock alone is more than enough to draw teams of climbers on to its slabs, cracks and grooves.
"A sublime Welsh mountain-cragging experience"
With routes as good as any mountain crag in Britain, at a spread of grades and styles, 'The Mot' will always be a justifiably popular climbing destination.
All in all, Dinas Mot offers a sublime Welsh mountain-cragging experience; just far enough from the road, but not too far, with routes just long enough to make them adventurous, but not too long. The view is magnificent, history oozes from the very pores of the crag (much like the omnipresent black moss!) and the delicate slab climbs and wonderful friction moves are just bold and exciting enough to make them memorable, but not too memorable!
A Brief History:
The history of climbing on Dinas Mot reads like miniature history of Welsh climbing itself. Back in the '30's, Kirkus and Edwards were at work forcing such lines as The Direct Route (VS) and Western Slabs (VS). The '30's were a great decade of exploration on the slabs of the Mot, and the classics produced in that era were not to be bettered until around the 1960's, the intervening years of war and post war depression producing little in the way of quality new lines (there are a few exceptions, such as the 1941 ascent of Lorraine (VS) by J Barford and N Morin). The '60's came in full swing and the likely lads were out on the cliffs, with offerings from Boysen, Ingle, Crew and the like. The best of these includes the now must-do Plexus (E1).
New routes trickled in over the next few years, with Superdirect (E1) being perhaps 'the' route of the '70's, courtesy of Lancashire raiders R Evans and Hank Pasquill. The 80's saw an addition from the ever active Gary Gibson with a surprisingly amenable and sometimes overlooked classic New Austerlitz (E3), but it wasn't until the late '90's that the crag really came of age with a much publicised ascent of Trauma (E8) from boy-wonder Leo Houlding, though the same year Cristian Klemmow also added a very hard route (possibly harder than Trauma, especially now due to the demise of a hold on the crux - sorry everyone!) on the less frequented far western buttress of Ettws Isaf. The Dark Side (E8) is still unrepeated and just to its left lies an unclimbed steep wall. Any takers?
"At least it leans the right way!" I overheard a party exclaim as they passed me on their way up to the nose of Dinas Mot. They cast a glance across to me, grasped firmly to an overhanging boulder on the scree field below their chosen objective.
They were right, of course. Dinas Mot is on the whole a slabby crag. The nose buttress is standard Welsh mountain rock; superb-quality rough rhyolite which takes gear, but not too much (bring those small wires!) and lends itself to traditional climbing in the HS to E2 bracket nicely.
The western buttresses, especially the Plexus buttress, are made up of fantastic rough rock, much like well-weathered gritstone, very different from the usual mountain volcanic, and are again in the main quite slabby. Friction climbing is the norm here, but make sure the rock is dry (it won't be clean!).
The routes are multi-pitch, usually between 2 and 4 pitches, and sometimes involve abseil descents. Dropping down Western Gully from the top of the nose is as much a part of the adventure as the route itself and can be quite hairy when wet.
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