A great expedition for those looking for more of an adventurous experience. The route has an amazing cave pitch and a ferocious chimney section. The climbing grade is Severe, which puts it above most other routes in this book and it is even harder if damp, which it usually is.
Everyone should be equipped with waterproofs and head torches especially in bad conditions as you can't see very well in the cave. Some good experience of multi-pitch climbing is essential. Allow a whole day since it usually takes longer than expected.
Start by traversing below the base of the Craig yr Ysfa Gully and round the base of the next buttress. Continue past a gully that vanishes half way up the crag and round the corner to below the intimidating Great Gully. Scramble up the vegetation to where the climbing starts.
1) 30m. Climb a short crack on the left, past a jammed stone. Then scramble up for a further 25m.
2) 40m. Surmount a big chockstone on the left, then 30m of scrambling leads to a belay under 'The Door Jamb'.
3) 18m. The Door Jamb. Climb a short steep groove on the right, passing a ledge on the left, to a larger one. Walk back left into the gully and belay.
4) 15m. Go directly up the gully, or better, climb a deep 13m chimney and a crack on the right, moving out left into the gully near the top.
5) 13m. The Chimney. Climb this awkwardly facing right, until a platform on the right is gained. Alternatively go direct to the top.
5a) 13m. Ascend a crack in the right wall of The Chimney.
5b) 17m. Avoiding The Chimney is much easier. About 20 feet lower down, climb the right wall via a big flake. A muddy path leads right, then back left, to a platform above the chimney. Easier but misses out the fun.
6) 37m. Go up a groove on the right, then walk up on stones to below the next step.
7) 70m. Climb a narrow sloping chimney on the right rib, or surmount two mossy chockstones on its left. A further 20m of scrambling leads over a big jammed stone to another stone.
8) 6m. Climb an awkward undercut chimney on the right of the stone, or the right wall starting slightly lower, then step into the top of the chimney.
9) 15m. The Great Cave Pitch. The hardest pitch. Go up the left wall of the cave with difficulty, then traverse left to the outer of two chockstones. A tremendous ending to a stimulating outing. © Rockfax
UKC Logbook Description
The cave pitch, which is absolutely amazing, is easy compared with the Great Chimney!
Important Tips for the summer ascent that the guidebook route descriptions skip: 1,Full Waterproofs and headtorches essential for all parties - especially in bad conditions as you can't see very well in the cave.
2, Be very experienced in multi-pitch climbs b4 doing this, whatever your rock standard. Give yourself a whole day - it'll take hours longer than whatever you expect it to take.
3,The great chimney is mis-marked in the recent edition of Classic Rock as being near where the Door Jamb is - it's quite a bit higher.
4, You'll need to be John Dunne to climb the Door Jamb out of winter. If you avoid it on the right, try to traverse on the early vegetation terraces even though footprints going upwards will suggest otherwise. Alternatively there is a good rock traverse ledge at the foot of the buttress but you'll have to down climb into a big flake and then lower yourself onto a ledge to get back into the gully: you'll be below the right hand chimney pitch (awkward).
5, The Great Chimney is lightly over-looked by most guides as simply 'awkward' - it's a lot more than awkward! Only 100 Classic Wales climbs gets close by saying it is 'ferocious'.
6, Do not take a rucksack on your back for the Great Chimney pitch, even though it looks alright from below: if your second is quite a weak climber and can't take it, get to the top of the chimney, anchor direct from your harness to a sling on the massive flake directly above the chimney, pull all the spare rope through from your second - clove hitch the middle of the rope to your harness, take your figure of eight knot out of your harness - weight the end of the rope with a hex, drop it down to your second, tie the rucksack on and pull the it up. That done, tie back on again.
7, In the cave there is some knotted rope to 'help' you get to the ledge. Only use this if it's really wet or iced in winter. Instead the original 60's route description was correct when it said climb the opposite side of the cave (righthand wall) to that of the rope and tat on good ledges and then traverse across the inner chockstone to reach the ledge traverse - or just climb direct to the ledge but it's harder and you'll be tempted by the tat.
8, protect your second on the ledge by: sling on inner chockstone and couple of cams before dip. After the low dip on the ledge, there is a place to put an absolute bomber wire in the roof you've just dipped under - nearly any size will do as i recall. 8, If you have low visability, when you exit the gully, do not head immediately left over the wall as this leads to the cliffs. Head right/straight forward for 60-100 yards until a clear and well-walked path is met and then head left to return to the col.
Thomson, Simey, Clay, April 1900 Apr/1900.
Classic Rock, North Wales Rock Graded List, North Wales 100 Classic Climbs, Enigmatic Affection: The Dark Art of Chimneying, MUMC Ticklist, Type 2 Fun, High Quality Adventure routes, "A Graded List of a Few Welsh Climbs" Aka ROGER'S LIST, The Original 'Classic Rock' List
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