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.