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These details were last updated on 10/Jul/2014

Craig y Merched

Meirionydd, WALES

Climbs 85 – Rocktype Gritstone – Altitude 311m a.s.l – Faces SW

Crag features
Craig y Merched is a collective name for a scattered collection of gritstone buttresses which overlook the Cwm Mynach valley in the southern Rhinogydd. All the crags have a sunny aspect and are quick to dry.

The valley's honeypot, Rhino's Buttress, is grossly overdeveloped with a route virtually every 2-3 metres. 16(!) new routes have been claimed on this small crag since the last guide. Even though it is quite scruffy and a long way from being the best or most accessible crag in the Rhinogydd, this little buttress is (inexplicably) a very popular venue, possibly the most popular of all Rhinogydd crags.

Nearby is the far less visited Three Pillar Crag, which is very worthwhile and deserves far greater popularity. Similarly, the whole of Upper Craig y Merched is unfairly neglected; the rock is excellent and its collection of crags are well worth a visit. Those prepared to walk on for another 20-25 minutes from Rhino's Buttress will not be disappointed.

There has been a lot of development here since the 2002 guide, with loads of new routes on many brand new crags as well as on existing crags. All these new routes are listed and described below. Development continues and details will be updated as and when. Climbers are requested to carefully check the line of any future 'new' route with the information provided here. One new line on Rhino's Buttress has been claimed by 6 different parties while a few other 'new' lines have very little new climbing when compared to existing climbs.

It should be noted that "Napoleonic Legacy" and "Pack Rat" were John 'Fritz' Sumnerís last contributions to the area before his untimely death in February 2004. Sumner was the undoubted modern pioneer of Mid Wales climbing, having enthusiastically been at the forefront of development of the area's crags over a 40 year period. Since then, the pioneering's been mainly undertaken by local Terry Taylor, a prolific Rhinog activist; many of the new routes at Craig y Merched are his.

Access notes
All Craig y Merched crags are on CROW land. 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 from the parking area, where two tracks fork, take the right-hand one past Cwm Mynach Canol cottage to a gate. Continue following the track through an open area until the old Blaen Cwm Mynach farmhouse is ahead on the left. Now turn right onto another track which leads via a stile into the forest. In 100 metres, turn right at the first forest road junction and then, almost immediately take a smaller and less well-used forest track which strikes off to the left. Follow this track for about 100 metres until it turns right to rise gently uphill. Then, from the outside of the bend, take a faint path (difficult to spot if overgrown by bracken) leftwards through trees which weaves steeply up the hillside through an area of young deciduous trees. Craig y Merchedís Rhinoís Buttress is now clearly visible on the hillside above. The faint path veers down and left to cross a stone wall to more open ground. The hard-to-follow path now skirts the left side of the open ground, ascending past a small stand of immature ash trees and crosses boggy ground to reach the scree at the base of the crag. Approach time is about 40-45 minutes from the parking area, assuming there is no route finding difficulty. In particular note that the final section of path is very faint and becoming increasingly (and rapidly) overgrown and is therefore quite difficult to actually follow on the ground.

(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 up the descent path past the left (north) end of Rhino's Buttress to reach a stone wall. (Going up the broad depression right of the buttress gets you to the same place, but there's no path.) From the stone wall, if you are keen eyed or lucky, you'll hopefully find a reasonable path that will quickly lead you to Upper Craig y Merched's Central Wall. For all other crags in this area, approach directly over the usual Rhinogydd Three Amigos - heather, bilberry bushes and hidden boulders. In summer, you may also add a liberal dose of bracken to the mix. Just keep repeating the Mynach Mantra: "It'll be worth it when I get there!" Oh happy days ....

Weather forecast

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0.1mm rain
20 °C
13 kph

0.1mm rain
19 °C
15 kph

0.0mm rain
20 °C
15 kph

0.1mm rain
19 °C
13 kph

0.0mm rain
Sunny periods
16 °C
21 kph
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Meirionnydd (2002)

Climbs at this crag

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 Climb nameGradex
2Napoleonic LegacyVS 4b  
3A Good Spoon FullE1 5c  
4The GadgieE2 5b **4
5King of Sunset TownHVS 5a * 
6Andy's InitiationVD 7
7The Three MosquitoesHS 4b  
8Midge AttackE1 5b  
9Rhythm of the DronesE1 5b  
11Brief EncounterE2 5c  
12Helical SpireE1 5b  
13This Jug Aint Big Enough for the Both of UsE1 5b 1
15Call me WemageVS 4c 1
16Pas de ChatS 4
17Colonel ChinstrapE1 5c *7
18AlienHVS 5a *11
19Magic MushroomE1 5b **17
20Pack RatE1 6a  
21The Haw LanternE3 5c **8
22Sunset AreteVD *22
23General SchwarzkopfHVS 5a 6
24Bleating about the BushVS 4c *10
25Right AwayHVD 4
27Rhino's BumHVS 5a 1
28Naked DissentE2 5c 9
29Alchemist's StoneE2 5c 2
30Sunshine SupernanE1 5c 1
31The Flourish of StrumpetsE1 5c 25
32Zig ZagHS 30
33Fig AreteVS 4c  
34Dixon of Dock GreenHS 4b 2
35Pachyderm SlabHS 4b  
36Horn of PlentyVS 4b 27
37Rhino HuntingHVS 5a  
38Endangered SpeciesVS 4c *26
39Velvet RevolutionsVS 4c **16
40Rhino's CornerVS 5a ***21
41The TuskHVS 5b *7
42Hanging Ten on the NoseE2 5b  
43The Midgy RevolutionHVS 5a 2
44Sling the Toe Nail on the RhinoE1 4c 2
45Yr AnweledigMS 3c * 
46Plenty of HornVS 4c  
48Stoney Stanton Road NickHS 4a  
49PogonophobiaHVS 5a  
 Climb nameGradex
51A Woman for all SeasonsVS 4c  
52The Stunt ClubVS 4b  
53Gritstone GrandadE1 5b  
55Monday Morning MizzleHVS 4c  
56Weather or NotE2 5c * 
57The Weatherman's YarnVS 4c  
59Dr Taylor I Presume?HVS 5a  
61Keanned OutVS 4c  
62Bear Rock Crack ClimberHVS 5a  
63Aidirondack ExperienceVS 4b  
65Infinite Monkey CageHVS 5a  
66The SonE2 5b  
67UncleanHS 4b  
68The TalkE1 5b  
69Inside the BrainE2 5b  
71Behind Blue EyesVS 4c 2
72Erection by PrescriptionHVS 5a  
73The Irony of Ecstasy/ Y Cymro OlafHVS 5a *2
74Bits in the BrainHVS 5a  
75A Question of ExclusionHVS 5a  
76SundewHVS 5a  
77Seconds AwayHS 4a  
79ChandrapurHVS 5b *2
80Stockholm ExpressHVS 5a 1
81Faltenberg ConnectionE1 5b *1
82Vermillion WashE1 5b *2
83Burnt UmberHVS 5b  
84Quad BoosterE2 5b  
86Must be the BeansVS 4c *1
88Aderyn PiwisHVS 5a * 
89SingalongathongVS 4b  
90Mighty MidgeVS 4c  
91BanditVS 4c  
92Goats Do GroanHVS 5b  
93DimwitVS 4b  
95Voodoo ChiliS 4a 1
96Apres SlawS 4a *1
97The Flat Earth Society!HVS 5b *2
98Meddwi LleuadHVS 5b *1
99We Are Made of Star StuffE2 5c *1
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USER FEEDBACKLogin as Existing User to add your comments
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