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Rock climbing courses Eryri (Snowdonia)

By 27th July 2020November 17th, 2022Rock Climbing, Summer


Rock climbing courses in Eryri (Snowdonia) are hard to beat and come in all shapes and sizes. No doubt many people will have their own favourite area of the UK for rock climbing. My own personal favourite crag is in the Lake District, and not in Eryri. But many agree that the rock climbing in Eryri (Snowdonia) is generally the best in the whole of the UK. This is largely down to the variety and sheer quality of the climbing available. That in turn, has its roots in the geological history of Eryri.

Nowhere else in the UK are there so many different types of rocks offering such a variety of rock climbing than in North Wales. There are the impeccable rhyolite crags of the mountains offering superb multi-pitch climbs on huge faces. Then there is the slate of the quarries offering a totally different style of climbing, both ‘trad’ and sports. You can head out to the immense sea-cliff cliffs of quartzite at Gogarth on Anglesey, a good choice if the mountains are wet. Alternatively, there are many limestone crags offering sports climbing along the north coast, especially around Llandudno.

Booking and Prices

If you’d like to know more about our rock climbing courses in Eryri (Snowdonia), then see our main page for more details and prices or see what our clients say about us.

When you are ready, then get in touch to make an enquiry or a booking.

We also run rock climbing courses in the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

Rock Climbing Courses in Eryri (Snowdonia)

Our rock climbing courses in Eryri (Snowdonia) are run throughout the climbing season. The vast majority of our courses are highly tailored to the individuals, so each course is unique. However, they can be broadly categorised as follows:

  • Beginners’ Climbing Course
  • Intermediate or Improvers’ Climbing Course
  • Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing Course
  • Learn to Lead Trad Climbing Course

Beginners’ Rock Climbing Courses in Eryri (Snowdonia)

A climber has almost reached his leader's belay while climbing on Milestone Buttress in Snowdonia during a rock climbing course

Enjoying the climbing on a beginners’ rock climbing course in Snowdonia

Our beginners’ climbing course assumes no prior knowledge – nor courage! This is all about trying it out, learning some of the basics and having some fun.

Rock climbing is not the black art that some people might think it is. Nor is it down to thuggish upper body strength. It’s all about efficient, normal movement. We spend some time considering normal every-day movements that we all make. Then we see how to turn these into upwards motion – or climbing.

Rock climbing is made safe by rope-work and on this course we introduce you to some of the essential knots and techniques. It’s important stuff, but there are probably fewer knots to learn than you might imagine. You don’t need to be a boy scout/girl guide and know dozens of knots.

Intermediate or Improvers’ Climbing Courses in Eryri (Snowdonia)

A climber seconding the classic route Crackstone Rib during a rock climbing course in Snowdonia

A climber seconding the classic route Crackstone Rib in Llanberis Pass

Like our beginners’ courses, most of the intermediate climbing courses that we run in Eryri (Snowdonia) are unique. We start off by discussing your current experience and identify your goals and how these can be achieved.

These courses are all about moving you on to the next level, whatever that may be. Sometimes this may focus on climbing technique. Other times the emphasis may be more on the correct use of equipment in the right context – protection, karabiners, knots and managing the rope.

There are many different types and styles of climbing available in this part of Wales – from the sports climbing on the former slate quarries; to the rugged mountain crags; to the sea cliffs of Anglesey.

Whatever we do, you will be sure to have fun, learn loads and pick up numerous tips to help your future climbing.

Multi-Pitch Climbing Courses in Eryri (Snowdonia)

Guided rock climbing on Hope, Idwal Slabs in Snowdonia - also available in Yorkshire, the Peak District and Lake District

Climbing ‘Hope’, on Idwal Slabs

Eryri is perfect for progressing from single-pitch climbing, such as in the Peak District, and on to longer multi-pitch climbs.

The overwhelming majority of rock-climbing on offer in Eryri (Snowdonia) is traditional (trad) multi-pitch climbing on high mountain crags. This means that the climbs feel very remote and are adventurous in nature. This the perfect environment for learning not only multi-pitch skills, but also more general mountaineering skills. It’s a great training ground for bigger adventures in Scotland, the Alps and beyond.

Climbing multi-pitch routes isn’t fundamentally different to climbing single-pitch climbs. But it does require a wider, extended skill-set to cope with the more tricky situations and additional risks. Learning to set up a retrievable abseil is a vital component of climbing these longer routes, so we always try to include this in our Eryri (Snowdonia) climbing courses.

Learn to Lead Trad Rock Climbing Courses in Eryri (Snowdonia)

A close up of the rope set up used by someone who is learning about trad climbing belays on a course

Learning to build belays

At the top end of the scale is our learn to lead trad climbing course. Learning to lead trad rock climbs is absorbing and rewarding, but there are risks. Therefore it’s vital to learn how to minimise those risks and make your climbing as safe as possible. Our lead climbing courses in Eryri (Snowdonia) will give you the knowledge and skills that you need to do this, as well as discussing getting the right equipment.

Before even setting off climbing, there are numerous things to consider if you are new to trad climbing. Can I use the same harness as I use indoor? If not, why not? Can I use the same belay device as I use indoor? What gear should I take on my climb? Do I take wires or cams, or both? Where should I keep them? How many quick draws do I need? What lengths should I take? Where should I carry them? What else do I need to take?

Having finished the climb, you need to build a belay at the top before bringing up your partner. This is not something that you have to know in sports or indoor climbing. However, it’s vital in ‘trad’ climbing. This skill involves assessing potential anchors, placing gear, tying yourself to the anchor appropriately, belaying your partner from above and managing the rope effectively.

A good rock climbing course in Snowdonia will help answer all those questions in a safe, progressive way. The aim by the end is that you are ready to go off and have your own adventures as an independent trad lead climber.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I go on a climbing course in Eryri (Snowdonia)?

The answer to this question is the age-old one of “It depends”. Many people now come to climbing outdoors having climbed indoors for a period of time. It would be understandable to think ‘I can climb very well at hard grades indoors. Why would outdoors be any different?’

It’s certainly true that you don’t need to go on a professionally-run course to learn how to climb outdoors well and, more importantly safely. However, it’s equally true that you do have to learn certain basic skills from somewhere. So if not a professional course, then what’s your plan for learning these things?

How does climbing outdoors differ from indoors?

The most obvious difference between climbing indoors and outdoors is the lack of multi-coloured holds on rock outdoors. All the handholds and footholds are the same drab grey/brown colour. So even working out what a hold is may take a little while to ‘get your eye in’.

But there’s more to it than that. Indoor climbing walls are great at what they offer, but the overwhelming majority of routes and holds are based on jugs and crimps. The indoor world has very little in the way of blank slabs, cracks (especially jamming ones), bridging moves and so on. Climbing on real rock can feel very different.

Is climbing indoors safer than outdoors?

The answer to this isn’t as clear-cut as you might expect. Again – “It depends”. The safety in climbing consists of a ‘safety chain’. Any break in the chain changes the activity from being (fairly) safe to extremely risky.

You can think about the safety chain indoors in two main parts. First, the climbing wall facility. This has usually been designed and manufactured to exacting standards and is subject to a rigorous maintenance and inspection regime. In short, it’s a very reliable part of the safety chain. But when you actually go climbing, the final part of the chain is based on your own knowledge and skills and those of your belayer. Human error is almost always the cause of climbing wall accidents.

Outside, the climbing pair are still part of the safety chain. Tying in, doing buddy-checks and good belaying are still essential components of the safety chain. But what replaces the climbing wall itself? On a sports route it’s the quality and positioning of the bolts and lower-offs – not to mention the inherent quality and solidity of the rock itself. On a traditional climb, it’s the knowledge, skill and judgement that the climber has in placing protection and using the rope in an appropriate way to safeguard the climb. Do you know how to do all this?

Climbing indoors should generally be safer than climbing sports climbs outdoors, which should be generally safer than climbing trad climbs outdoors. At least that’s the theory. But….it depends. And what it depends on most is you and your partner.

What is a multi-pitch climb and why is it different?

The distance (height) that we can climb in one go is limited by the length of our rope. When we reach the end to the rope we need to stop and start again.  More usually, we stop well before the end of the rope on a suitable ledge. Either way, when the leader stops climbing to bring their second up to join them, we refer to this as “a pitch”.

On small outcrops of rock, the height of the climb is much shorter than the length of our rope and we can climb to the top of the climb in one go. This is a “single-pitch climb”.

However, on a very large cliff, we need to climb in repeated cycles of the leader first, then the second (one pitch); then the leader first again, then the second again (another pitch); and so on until we reach the top. We call this a “multi-pitch climb.” Even if the climb has only two pitches, it is still a “multi-pitch climb”.

Additional knowledge and skills are needed to handle this transition part way up a climb. There are hidden risks that a novice would not be aware of. There are also lots of tips and techniques to make this transition smooth and efficient, otherwise the climb may take more time than we expect (or have available).

What would I learn on a trad climbing course?

On a trad climbing course in Eryri (Snowdonia) you should expect to learn about things as diverse as:- legal access to the crags; use of a guidebook to choose and locate climbs; basic safety and ‘crag etiquette’; ropes and equipment; climbing technique and skills; belaying skills; using traditional climbing protection; choosing anchors; building belays to safeguard yourself and your partner; and probably abseiling too.

All of these are essential topics to climb legally, responsibly and above all safely.