Altitude 311m a.s.l
The Haw Lantern © jim jones
Craig y Merched is the collective name for a number of gritstone buttresses at the head of the Cwm Mynach valley in the southern Rhinogydd. All the crags have a sunny aspect and are quick to dry but midges can be a serious problem in still summer weather.
The valley's honeypot is Rhino's Buttress. Even though it is quite scruffy and a very long way from being the best or even the most accessible crag in the Rhinogydd, this little buttress is inexplicably popular. Nearby is the far less visited Three Pillar Crag, which is very worthwhile and deserves far greater popularity. Similarly, all the Upper Craig y Merched crags give good climbing and are very unfairly neglected.
The area is far from being 'climbed out' and there has been a lot of (still continuing) development here since the 2002 guide, with loads of new routes on new crags as well as a few on existing ones. The area will feature in the new Welsh Grit (Rhinogydd area) definitive guidebook which is currently in development.
All Craig y Merched crags are on open access land with no access issues. However, the approach notes in Meirionnydd 2002 (p. 363) are useless on virtually all counts as they simply will not get you to the crag.
Approach from the A496 as described in the Meirionnydd guide. Then follow the track that leads towards Blaen Cwm Mynach from the car park. Just before the old farmhouse, turn right and head into the forest via a stile. Go virtually straight ahead at forest road junction and take a minor forest track to the left. Follow this track for about 100 metres and, from the outside of a RH bend, take a faint path leftwards through trees and climb steeply up the scrubby, overgrown hillside on a faint path towards Craig y Merched’s Rhino’s Buttress. Cross a stone wall to more open ground. The increasingly indistinct path now skirts the left side of the open ground ahead to reach the scree at the base of Rhino's Buttress. Allow 40-45 minutes from the car park to Rhino's Buttress (+15-25 mins for Upper Craig y Merched crags.)
(Note: This approach will NOT get you to South Buttress, Explorers' Wall and Bear Rock as these are located some distance to the south.)
For the Upper Craig y Merched crags, continue ascending past Rhino's Buttress (on its LHS) to cross the stone wall. There is a faint path to Upper Craig y Merched's Central Buttress (which is described in Meirionnydd 2002), but not to any of the other crags.
|The "Follow the right forestry path" is somewhat misleading now, as a new path has been cut that looks like it goes straight up to the crags. Do not take this unless you are partial to a two hour boggy scramble to get to the crag. Keep on going on the base of the valley until you are almost below the crag.|
neuromancer - 05/Oct/12
|Great little crag! We did a few routes on one of the buttresses, but there is plenty of scope for those climbing up to E2, and quite a lot of good-looking rock which isn't in the guide.|
Andrew Barker - 09/Feb/06