Dinorwic Quarry - Australia West Face
The west face of the Garret Pit, in Dinorwic Quarry is more multiple pitches than true multi-pitch rock climbing. Nevertheless, it makes for an exceptional adventure offering over 100 meters of climbing on immaculate slate with a variety of grades to choose from. The trad climbs in the quarry are skewed towards the mid to higher end of the traditional climbing scale, with HVS & E1 needed to get the most out of the routes. The sequence described here links up a number of popular high-quality routes, starting with Looning the Tube and finishing with Act Naturally on the Skyline Buttress. The Garret area is commonly misnamed Australia by climbers. In terms of climbing style, there is some technical variety in the routes, but small edges, crimps and precise footwork are a regular theme on most of the terraces. There are two good sport routes included in the link up. The trad lines are all easy to protect with the exception of the M.I.L. Arete on pitch 4, which is short but very bold. Parking is good and offers easy and quick access making this a viable option to do in less than half a day.
The Route Topography
This is the route Australia West Face on Dinorwic Quarry in Gwynedd, Wales. It represents 113m of Slate rock climbing, usually over 6 pitches, of a max grade of E1 5b. Clicking the image will load the full screen high resolution Australia West Face climb topo.
Original Image: our own image
Approach & Descent Information
The approach is simple and takes around 15 to 20mins. Free roadside parking is plentiful before and around the bus stop turning circle at 53.12830201, -4.10817526 but it may be busy during the peak of summer. The footpath starts at the turning circle. From here it’s a short walk into the quarry. Cross a locked gate into the quarry proper and walk uphill and through a tall rock arch to the Looning the Tube area.
From the top of the skyline buttress, an additional climb (Goblin Party) can be completed at the Alice Springs level to the East or climbers can descend to the West either by the main quarry path (recommended) or a more direct route down the slate scree slopes.
Pitch By Pitch Information
There are some rough gear recommendations for the various pitches below, but in general a light rack should cover the climbs here.
1. Looning the Tube –20m E1 5b:
The belayer can anchor to the large rusted hooks on the left side of the slab. The leader starts with a rising traverse out to the right above the rusted tube to the first bolt. The leader continues on to the rusted chain, again clipping this before moving into the left leaning crack. The crack is followed to the top. Using a medium two finger width cam can protect the crack before the final bolt where there crux is.
2. Steps of Glory –15m f5b:
A simple but enjoyable sport climb that takes an obvious line on the left side of the largest slab. Making an anchor on the ledge above is tricky for this pitch but the large precarious block could be used. Access the risks and if in doubt use the lower-off or walk around. This is graded f5c in other guidebooks.
3. Sodor –11m f5c:
Graded f6a in some guides, this short sport route starts at the obvious graffiti face and climbs the hair line crack to the top. An anchor can be made using the low bolts in the wall behind. There are other alternative routes on this slab at similar grades.
4. M.I.L. Arete –11m E1 5b:
The climbing on this pitch is no harder than earlier sections but the protection is very poor. To find the line, look for a rusted metal bar, roughly the length of a person’s forearm, that hangs downwards, on the left side of the short slab. The slab can be climbed on the left to the obvious break. There are a couple of small slots for protection up to and on the break. From the break, climb to the bar, sling this with difficulty. - knowing the correct knots and how they hold is important because the bar slopes down. The route then climbs past this bar to the top with the crux on the upper half of the wall. An anchor can be made using the boulder above the climb.
5. Razorback –13m HVS 5a:
Razorback follows the obvious left leaning line not far back from the top of the last pitch. The protection is much better than it looks, taking small wires early, with better gear higher up. The crack offers very enjoyable HVS climbing. Once again, an anchor can be made using a boulder at the top of the pitch.
6. Act Naturally –43m VS 4b:
This pitch climbs the obvious natural line up the tallest part of the skyline buttress for a comparatively easy last pitch. Follow the grove and ledge system up to a single bolt, move right then climb up the crack and groves to the top where an anchor can be built using a pair of bolts.
Llanberis Slate - pg. 50
A good clear guide to Slate Quarries in the Llanberis area including Dinorwic Quarry and the Garret Pit. The photos and descriptions are clear and the guide contains a lot of history and other useful information. The book is a worthwhile purchase assuming you can get hold of a copy of it as it's now out of print.
R.R.P. £ 29.95
Weather & Local Conditions
Seasonal Weather Information
Note that some weather stations are close or even on the mountain, others are in nearby towns. Plan accordingly!
Estimated Rainy Days Per Month
The graph shows the estimated average number of rainy days in the month that had more than 1mm rainfall or snow:
Estimated Temperature Per Month
Estimated average high and low temperature in degrees Celsius for the given month.
Listed Nearby Climbs
The are some top quality multi-pitch rock climbs nearby. Guidebooks (see above) will have a more comprehensive list of other local climbing venues.
Ordinary Route on Cwm Idwal
140m climb graded D 3a.
Longlands Continuation on Lliwedd
280m climb graded S 4b.
Great Slab on Clogwyn Dur Arddu
162m climb graded VS 4c.
There are currently over 40 published multi-pitch climbs on the site.
View All Listed Rock Climbs