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Bob’s Route of the Month: Chic (VD) Clogwyn Yr Oen

Words by Will C

on 08/08/2018 14:28:13

After a long lay-off we're back with our route of the month. We're going to look at an old favourite Chic, a multi-pitch climb, situated on Clogwyn yr Oen in the Moelwynion just above Blaenau Ffestiniog in Snowdonia.

It's a pocket battleship of a crag, with lots of multi-pitch routes packed into a relatively small area. Good parking and easy access – less than 10 minutes along a dam access road – mean that you can quickly access the crag and pack in multiple ascents in one day.

The route in question was fist climbed in 1952, relatively late when you consider that the crag had been visited by climbers from early in the 20th century. Although graded at Very Difficult, it's no pushover, but the stances are wide and the rock, despite the amount of traffic that the route attracts, is solid and positive under foot and hand. The route can be climbed in rock shoes or boots due to the positive holds and aforementioned friction, with descent from the top being fairly straight forward. That said if climbing in rock shoes make sure to take you approach shoes with you for the walk down as the route down can be torture in tight fitting stickies

The crag is low-lying and south facing, with the rock drying quickly after rain


From Betws y Coed Take the A470 from Betws y Coed to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Then follow the link for directions from Betws y Coed to Clogwyn yr Oen


The Start | At the foot of the crag, cross a band of grass then a small wall at the broken section. Turn right and follow the track up wards (paralleling the wall. Leave your bags and gear up at a flat section, with a convenient piece of wall to sit and arrange kit).


Pitch One (25 metres) | Belay on a well-worn ledge (approach path leads to this) and arrange a belay using small wires. Climb for c. 12 metres to a ledge. The wall steepens slightly but with good rock and holds. Another 12 metres and you arrive at a broad stance with a steeper 4 m section of wall with a prominent crack in front. Establish your first belay here.


Pitch 2 (22 metres) | Having arranged the belay and brought up the second it's now time to tackle the second pitch. Move up the steep wall to your front by using the crack and careful footwork. There's ample places to place protection prior to tackling this section. After the wall there's a small ledge for a well-earned rest. From here tread up diagonally left for c. 5-8 metres before arriving at a slab. The rock feels convex and exposed but there's ample holds, although not as big and obvious as previously encountered. Tread delicately along the slab heading towards a prominent rightward leaning crack, with belay ledge below.


Pitch 3 (18 metres) | Use the crack to establish your belay. Once your second has joined you it time to head up the rightwards facing crack. After a two metre vertical section follow the crack along (using it for feet and the slab above for hands) for 5 metres until it becomes possible to step onto the slab above. There's ample hand and foot holds, but care should be taken to place protection, not only for the leader but for the second to protect on the traverse and move from the belay


The Descent | As per the diagram photo 1. Take care along the top in wet/damp conditions as the narrow path runs close to the top of the climbs.


Bear generally right, until you arrive at a prominent scree strew gulley with a well-defined path. Descend via the path to the start (5-10 mins)


Team Trekitt at the Top of the climb and on the descent path

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