Altitude 300m a.s.l
Teetering along the Rainbow © mark reeves
The Rainbow Slab Area is one of the best known locations in the slate quarries. It is home to the iconic feature of an immaculate slab of rock with the eponymous ripple arcing across it. This is one of the finest single slabs of rock in the country and it has been developed with a set of routes to match.
The rest of the area doesn't quite match up to this stunning slab although there are still plenty of good routes dotted about. Getting to them can be quite complex as some of the levels are only reachable by abseil.
The Rainbow Slab itself is mostly old-school trad classics with minimal or no bolting giving run-out and technical routes requiring deft footwork, strong fingers and a very steady head. Elsewhere in the area there is more sport climbing on offer which tends to be on vertical and featured terrain.
The Rainbow Slab Area is in the lower quarries but can be approached from three points.
From Llanberis (Rainbow and Cig-Arete Areas) - Park in the Slate Museum (fee), or Dolbadarn Castle, and walk down the First Hydro private road for 20m, to where a public footpath is signed on the left. Follow this as it weaves up through the woods and turns into a walled zig-zagging path up through scree. The path flattens off at a bridge by a winding house. Turn right (towards Llanberis Pass) after the metal bridge and follow the flat enclosed path as it curves left. As the wall ends, cross the fence and follow the level path until it goes left round a corner, shortly after which you reach some buildings on the left. Drop down one level to the top of the Rainbow Slab or go up one level to the Manatese Level.
From Above (Manatese and German Schoolgirl Levels) - Park as for Bus Stop Quarry and follow the main track into the quarries. Just after the gate that leads up to Australia is a second gate on the right. Climb over this and follow the path down a few bends to a point on the Manatese Level, above the German Schoolgirl Level.
From Nant Peris (Plateau Slab and Peppermint Tower) - Park in the lay-by before the village with 'NANT PERIS' written in slate. Cross the road and walk 50m toward the village and turn left onto a footpath that leads along a tarmac road and across the end of the lake. Turn left along the lake through a gate and head up the main track through the quarry. At the second level a plain leads out left from the track by a long gate. Cross the plateau (under Plateau Slab) to the right of the main tower and head down the track to a black fence. Head through the gate and on to join the other approach below the quarryman's path up to the Cig-Arete Level.
Access to climb Trango Towers/Peppermint Pig areas is sensitive as it lies within the inner perimeter of the power station - climbers are occassionally asked to leave this area by security staff. Access to Rainbow slabs and surrounding areas is only possible from the Llanberis side but access from Nant Peris (Pass side) is striclty not allowed.
This area includes all of the lower part of Dinorwig Slate quarry, including Rainbow slab area, and the levels opposite (Rainbow Walls). The Lower Dinorwic quarries are all on land owned by First Hydro Company (FHC). FHC have to comply with the Mines and Quarries Act. This means providing a properly maintained barrier to prevent members of the public from falling into the quarries. The company are repairing fencing in the area and employing additional signage to emphasise the dangerous nature of the quarries. There is no formal permission to climb or walk in the quarries away from the public footpaths and if the secutiry staff carrying out routine patrols, see any members of the public (including climbers) away from the public rights of way they will be asked to leave. Please follow their instructions and do not create conflict if this is the case. Please respect the environment of the quarries, do not damage any fences, keep dogs under control and take all litter home with you. In order to protect the current sensitive access, climbers have agreed not to climb on any of the levels below the Rainbow level or on the large tower overlooking the power station buildings.
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