Climbs 107
Rocktype Gritstone
Altitude 311m a.s.l
Faces SW

View Stats

The Haw Lantern © jim jones

Crag features

Craig y Merched is used as a collective name for a vast number of small (and not-so-small) gritstone buttresses at the very head of Cwm Mynach in the southern Rhinogydd, More correctly the group should be called Upper Cwm Mynach Crags, as a number olf these crags are actually no where near Craig y Merched itself, some even being located on the opposite side of the valley above Cwm Mynach Isaf farm.

Crags are listed in an arc from west to east. Not all are visible; some are hidden by trees. All crags are on access land, owned either by local farmers or Coed Cadw. Most of these crags have a sunny aspect and are quick to dry, but midges can be a problem in still summer weather and some approaches are bracken-central once it's grown.

The valley's honeypot is Rhino's Buttress. Very nicely positioned and with excellent views and much improved access, this popular little buttress is probably the second most visited crag in the Rhinogydd after Llechau'r Garn ('Barmouth Slabs'). Nearby is the far less visited but bigger Three Pillar Crag, which is very worthwhile, has excellent rock and deserves far greater popularity. North Buttress is worth a look too. Similarly, all six Upper Craig y Merched crags give good climbing and, again, are very unfairly neglected. Those prepared to make the extra effort to get to any of these crags will not be disappointed.

*** September 2019: New, updated, definitive, free interim guidebook now available. Details below. ***

The area is far from being 'climbed out' and there has been a lot of (still continuing) development in this area of the southern Rhinogydd since the 2002 guide, with loads of new routes. The development of bouldering is still very much in its infancy, although there is massive potential in certain places, particularly so for the adventurous boulderer who is prepared to simply go exploring with a mat.

The area will feature in the new Welsh Grit (Rhinogydd) guidebook, a Steep Stone Publishing project, which is currently under development. Before then Steep Stone will publish an interim guide which will include all the well-known Craig y Merched crags as well as many of the 'new' crags. Publication of this interim guide, in a free-to-download PDF format, occured at the end of September 2019.

Further information:

Free Craig y Merched definitive interim guidebook (2019):

https://steepstoneclimbing.co.uk/pdf-files

2002-2009 Update:

http://www.climbers-club.co.uk/cms/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/rhinog02to09august.pdf

Also:

https://vimeo.com/229573438

https://vimeo.com/231586116





 

Approach notes

The once well-established and easy to follow approach path to Rhino's Buttress (and therefore to most other Lower Craig y Merched and all Upper Craig y Merched crags) had, in recent years, become very difficult to follow due to encroaching heather and scrub following deforestation. With the permission of Coed Cadw/Woodland Trust and the support and co-operation of the Snowdonia NP,  BMC Cymru has undertaken a programme of path improvement work during 2018-19 involving waymarking the path to Rhino's Buttress, extensive vegetation cut-back,  improved signage and the installation of two new stiles. 

One stile has been installed almost directly above Rhino's Buttress' descent gully, thus providing a permanent solution to the need to climb over the stone boundary wall above the buttress in order to access all Upper Craig y Merched crags. A second stile has been placed over the wall on the approach path to Rhino's Buttress. 

ACCESS

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 and, in addition, the initially described approach is over farmland (not access land) with absolutely no public right of way.

The land-owner has tolerated climbers walking across his land for many years but, unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Climbers must no longer approach the crags past Blaen Cwm Mynach from the small Coed Cadw car park at the very end of the tarmac road. Instead, climbers should use the following approach to reach Craig Blaen y Cwm and all other Upper and Lower Craig y Merched crags:

Revised Approach 

Approach from the A496 as described in the Meirionnydd guide but do not continue beyond the small, gated, narrow stone bridge over the Afon Cwm Mynach. Instead, park considerately just short of the bridge at SH683209, where a Coed Cadw forestry road heads off rightwards, ensuring that no gates are obstructed as access may be required to the forestry at any time.  New bilingual signage indicates this parking area. (If needed, there is ample additional offroad parking a short distance back along the council road.)

Once parked, follow the gently rising forestry road for about 2 kilometres to reach a staggered cross-road at SH687229.

[1] For Craig Blaen y Cwm: Follow the forestry road uphill from the cross-road to a junction with a public footpath on the right. (SH685230) The initially indistinct footpath leads into a walled enclosure. Walk due North to a gap in the wall; the crags are just beyond.  Allow at least 15 minutes from the cross-road to the base of the scree below the crag. 

[2] For Lower (and Upper) Craig y Merched: Just before reaching the cross-road, take the minor (currently unused) forest track on the right. Follow this for about 100 metres and, from the outside of a RH bend (sign) , follow the path leftwards through trees and climb steeply up the scrubby hillside following marker posts towards Craig y Merched’s Rhino’s Buttress. The posts lead all the way to the base of the buttress. Allow 60 minutes or so from the parking to Rhino's Buttress (+15-30 mins extra for Upper Craig y Merched crags.)

(Note: This approach will NOT get you to crags such as South Buttress, Explorers' Wall and Bear Rock as these are located some distance to the south. These crags must be accessed directly from the forestry road beneath or, better, from the hanging valley above, which may be accessed via Rhino's Buttress.)

For all Upper Craig y Merched crags, continue ascending past Rhino's Buttress (on its LHS) to a stile over the stone wall. Follow the wall to the right (south) for 20 metres os so to pick up a faint undulating path leading to Upper Craig y Merched's Central Buttress (which is fully described in Meirionnydd 2002). There are no paths as such to any of the other five new Upper Craig y Merched crags although, by Rhinogydd standards, much of the terrain affords comparatively straightforward walking.

 














 

Guidebooks

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
Login as Existing User to add your comments

Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
  Craig Peilon a Rhingyll
2 And Pylon King Doth Roam
-
E2 5b *  
3 Sargeant's Ankle
-
VS 4c  
4 Solstice Bivy
-
HS 4b  
5 Filthy Ho
-
S 4a  
  Forest Wall
7 Oriental Shuffle
-
E4 5c  
  Lunch Break Boulder
9 Even Easy Problems Deserve a Cool Name
-
V1  
10 The Midge Obstruction
-
V2  
11 Project Fear
-
V3  
12 Strength Maggots
-
V3  
  Craig Blaen y Cwm
14 The New King
-
VD  
15 Meg and Belle
-
D  
16 Scraps
-
VD  
17 The Divide
-
E3 5c  
18 The Caging Society
-
VS 4c *  
19 Short Story
-
S  
20 Isabella
-
HVS 5a  
21 Stand Well Back
-
E3 5c *  
22 Safe Word
-
VS 4c *  
23 Izzy
-
E3 5c  
  Lower Craig y Merched: North Walls
25 Napoleonic Legacy VS 4b  
26 A Good Spoon Full
-
E1 5c  
27 The Gadgie E2 5b ** 5
28 King of Sunset Town HVS 5a *  
29 Andy's Initiation
-
VD * 7
30 The Three Mosquitoes
-
HS 4b  
31 Midge Attack
-
E1 5b 1
32 Rhythm of the Drones
-
E1 5b  
  Lower Craig y Merched: Lower Tier
34 Brief Encounter
-
E2 5c  
35 Helical Spire
-
E1 5b  
36 This Jug Aint Big Enough for the Both of Us
-
E1 5b 1
  Lower Craig y Merched: Three Pillar Crag
38 Call me Wemage VS 4c 3
39 Pas de Chat S 4
40 Colonel Chinstrap
-
E1 5c * 8
41 Alien
-
HVS 5a * 19
42 Magic Mushroom E1 5b ** 22
Climb name Grade
43 Pack Rat E1 6a  
44 The Haw Lantern E3 5c ** 11
45 Sunset Arete VD * 31
46 General Schwarzkopf
-
HVS 5a 11
47 Bleating about the Bush VS 4c * 15
48 Right Away
-
HVD 4
  Lower Craig y Merched: Rhino's Buttress
50 Three Bags Full S  
51 One Bad Apple VD 1
52 Rhino's Bum HVS 5a 6
53 Naked Dissent E2 5c 12
54 Alchemist's Stone E2 5c 2
55 Sunshine Supernan E1 5c 4
56 The Flourish of Strumpets E1 5c 31
57 Zig Zag HS 45
58 Fig Arete VS 4c  
59 Dixon of Dock Green HS 4b 3
60 Pachyderm Slab HS 4b 1
61 Horn of Plenty
-
VS 4b 29
62 Rhino Hunting HVS 5a  
63 Endangered Species VS 4c * 36
64 Velvet Revolutions VS 4c ** 24
65 Rhino's Corner VS 5a *** 37
66 The Tusk
-
HVS 5b * 10
67 Hanging Ten on the Nose E2 5b  
68 The Midgy Revolution HVS 5a 2
69 Sling the Toe Nail on the Rhino
-
E1 4c 2
70 Yr Anweledig MS 3c * 2
71 Plenty of Horn VS 4c 1
72 Perfect Stone E1 5b *  
  Lower Craig y Merched: Lone Buttress
74 Stoney Stanton Road Nick HS 4a  
75 Pogonophobia HVS 5a  
  Lower Craig y Merched: Pinnacle Buttress
77 A Woman for all Seasons VS 4c  
78 The Stunt Club VS 4b  
79 Gritstone Grandad E1 5b  
  Lower Craig y Merched: South Buttress
81 Monday Morning Mizzle
-
HVS 4c  
82 Weather or Not
-
E2 5c *  
83 The Weatherman's Yarn
-
VS 4c  
Climb name Grade
  Lower Craig y Merched: Explorers Wall
85 Dr Taylor I Presume? HVS 5a  
  Lower Craig y Merched: Bear Rock
87 Keanned Out VS 4c  
88 Bear Rock Crack Climber HVS 5a  
89 Aidirondack Experience VS 4b  
  Upper Craig y Merched: Craig Llyn Bach y Forwyn
91 Raven's Tryst VS 4b **  
92 Infinite Monkey Cage E2 5b  
93 The Son E3 5c  
94 Unclean HS 4b  
95 The Talk E1 5b  
96 Inside the Brain E2 5b  
  Upper Craig y Merched: Carreg y Gors
98 Behind Blue Eyes VS 4c 3
99 Erection by Prescription HVS 5a 1
100 The Irony of Ecstasy/ Y Cymro Olaf HVS 5a * 4
101 Bits in the Brain
-
HVS 5a 1
102 A Question of Exclusion
-
HVS 5a 1
103 Sundew HVS 5a 2
104 Seconds Away
-
HS 4a 1
  Upper Craig y Merched: Central Wall
106 Chandrapur
-
HVS 5b * 4
107 Stockholm Express
-
HVS 5a 4
108 Faltenberg Connection
-
E1 5b * 2
109 Vermillion Wash
-
E1 5b * 3
110 Burnt Umber
-
HVS 5b  
111 Quad Booster
-
E2 5b  
  Upper Craig y Merched: Gully Wall
113 Must be the Beans
-
VS 4c * 2
  Upper Craig y Merched: Craig y Gwalch
115 Aderyn Piwis HVS 5a * 1
116 Singalongathong VS 4b  
117 Mighty Midge VS 4c  
118 Bandit VS 4c  
119 Goats Do Groan HVS 5b 1
120 Dimwit
-
VS 4b  
  Upper Craig y Merched: Craig y Lleuad
122 Llo'r Lleuad
-
S 4a 1
123 Apres Slaw
-
S 4a * 1
124 The Flat Earth Society!
-
HVS 5b * 2
125 Kann al Loar
-
HVS 5b * 1
126 We Are Made of Star Stuff
-
E2 5c * 1

Moderator Updates to this page are checked by UKC volunteer Dave Williams