Wild climbing in Snowdonia, with Wild Wales
mountains of Snowdonia in North Wales offer some of the best climbing
in the UK, why else would so many of the climbing fraternity base
themselves in the area? And with so much good climbing and so many
climbers in the Snowdonia area there is no shortage of places to
learn to climb and and people to learn to climb with. You can pick
on the obvious, like the large centres, or select something a little
different like a rock climbing course or scrambling course with
Wild Wales offer their own particular approach to tackling the
mountains of Wales, with small group sizes and a delight in keeping
well away from the well worn routes, their local knowledge pays
rich rewards for climbers who don't want to just follow the crowds.
Brett Dennis is one of these, he has climbed with Wild Wales on
several occasions and what follows is an account of his experiences
climbing with them.
"In July 1999, I had my first experience of Wild
Wales and have been returning on an annual basis ever since.
The original Wild Wales advert struck a
very personal chord wild and remote climbing on high mountain
crags, away from the crowds and finishing with a summit.
About 12 years previously, I had climbed part 'though not all,
of a well-respected rock climb on Tryfan and it seemed that the
best way to actually finish the route was to find a local guide
whose philosophy was similar to mine.
Having first climbed whilst at College, then taking a 10 year
break to pursue other sports, I found myself living in Kent with
ready access to it's Sandstone crags. Immediately following my first
Wild Wales trip I joined the local climbing
club and have been climbing on a regular basis ever since both outdoors
What has made the Wild Wales experience
special for me has been the focus on remote but high mountain areas
with a clear objective of completing a climb of quality. Books like
Ken Wilson's Classic Rock and Steve Ashton's 100 Best
Climbs have been an inspiration to many and the thought of actually
climbing those routes with a competent leader is a major attraction.
Like many other sports, playing with someone better than yourself
will inevitably improve your own game. At Wild
Wales, part of the preliminary planning involves the client's
objectives and personal 'wish list' of potential routes.
Whilst not deliberately aiming to 'tick off' the recognised routes
it is a wonderful feeling of achievement to successfully climb a
route 2 or more grades above your own leading level. A route with
a 'Star' in the guidebook usually means that it has more than it's
fair share of excitement either position, difficulty or sheer
exposure. It has frequently been an advantage to have the local
knowledge and experience of the Wild Wales
guides to escape the queues at the popular 'classics' and seek out
a lesser known climb of equal quality in blissful isolation.
mountain routes invariably mean long walk-ins but with Wild
Wales you are usually guaranteed an approach along little-used
paths and sometimes no path at all. Local knowledge both contemporary
and historical adds that extra little detail to the overall experience.
Over the last 4 trips and 13 Wild Wales
climbs, I have climbed in both sun and rain but can honestly say
I have never had a bad experience. Each trip, 'though different,
has resulted in a major sense of achievement. The company has always
been first class and the philosophy consistent throughout
no crowds, big mountains, carefully chosen routes, long days and
I am already looking forward to the next trip."
© Text and photos Brett Dennis and