Craig Peniel


A big impressive boulder with many steep test pieces and the classic This Way Inclined. There are also several excellent satellite problems within easy striking distance. This is a beautiful spot with a really peaceful ambience; the view of the surrounding landscape even includes a clear sight of the sea in the distant Cardigan Bay.
The rock is rough rhyolite, a touch flakey in places but generally sound. The landings are friendly and free of any significant bogginess, just watch out for nettles around on the shadowy side in the summer.

Conditions: An open, sunny venue with no significant seepage issues. The exposed position ensures that it catches any wind that might pick up. This does make for quick drying rock and less midge-blighted evenings in the summer than might be expected, however it can be surprisingly cold up here in the winter.

Approach: This area can be found close to Chwarel Manod above the south east edge of the town centre of Blaenau Ffestiniog. If arriving by car, park sensibly, and with respect for local residents, in one of the streets just off the main road in the area below Chwarel Manod. From the back of the houses follow the track left past a five bar gate,

The first problems can be found on the lone boulder in the centre of the ancient quarry. Turn up just after the five bar gate and walk up to reach the boulder which is slightly hidden to the right of the old winding house walls.

Peniel topos 1,2.CDR

1. Anweledig 7C
The jutting prow provides a complex and desperate challenge, requiring some inventive manoeuvres and the use of a wonderful sloping hold. Start sitting. [Pete Robins 29.02.12]

2. Sex Bob-omb 7A+
The obvious line on the steep right side of the Anweledig prow. Start sitting with feet on the low block, left hand on the undercut and right on a low pinch out right. A hold up right and a double slopey edge directly above the undercut allow access to the slopey lip and jugs above. Various sequences are possible, including one which matches the double edge. [Jack Rattenbury 02.12]

Return to the track and continue up it as it turns into a long gentle incline running leftwards up the hillside left of Chwarel Manod. Just before you reach the point where the angle of the incline flattens out an attractive wall is seen 40m to the left, just beyond a stream.

Peniel topos 1,2.CDR

3. 5A
The left arête of the steep, narrow wall taken from a sit down start.

4. 6A
The right arête of the wall also goes from a sit down start.

It is possible to climb a good ‘blinkers – on’ eliminate up the wall between these two problems.

Just after the point where the angle of the incline flattens out you should be able to spy a large split boulder approximately 150m away diagonally leftwards from the path. Cross the fence and make a beeline for the boulder – this is the main event!

Peniel topos 3, 4.CDR

5. 5A
A sit down start tackling the left arête of the short steep face. [Dafydd Davis 90s]

6. 5C
Make the transition from steep to slabby a metre or so right of the arête.

6a. Blaenau Nights 7B
Using an obvious crimp for the right hand, make a desperate slap to the lip and mantel up onto the slab. [Chris Davies 2004]

7. Jack’s Sitter 6C
From a sit down start in the alcove (right hand undercutting the hole, left hand on a choice of low holds), pull up to a slopey finger hold in a slanting/horizontal crack and make a decisive slap to a good jug. Make a few moves up left to the obvious holds and rock up onto the slab. Linking Jack’s Sitter into Tramwyiad Car Gwyllt rates 6C+. [Jack Rattenbury 02.12]

8. Tramwyiad Car Gwyllt 6B+
Start sitting with good holds just right of Jack’s Sitter; move up to the lip and follow it leftwards on an assortment of interesting holds to finish up Problem 5. [Dafydd Davis 90s]

Peniel topos 3, 4.CDR

9. 5C
The steep arête is tackled from a sit down start. [Dafydd Davis 90s]

10. Project
A hard, board style line up the steep little face left of Y Creigwr.

11. Y Creigwr 5C
An excellent problem tackling the right edge of the steep face. The slappy 7A sit down start is a cracker too. [Dafydd Davis 90s]

12. Inkerman 7A+!
A stunning highball line accepting the challenge of the upper shield above This Way Inclined. It is high but the landing is very good. From the base of the crack pull out onto the steep face and connect a series of spaced holds up to an obvious spike. A slightly committing pull on a nice flat edge leads to the top arête and a high finish. [Pete Robins 29.02.12]

12a. Balaclava 7B!
The harder and bolder left exit from the good holds on Inkerman. Expect a few sketchy moments as you make the transition around the top arête. [Pete Robins 29.02.12]

13. This Way Inclined 5C
The big, steep diagonal crack beckons – hop on board and sample the classic of the crag. The sit down start boosts the grade to 6A+. Purists will start right at the back in the tight alcove. [Dafydd Davis 90s]

14. Frizbee 7A+
A powerful and fingery line sweeping leftwards across the steep face. Start as for the Peniel Arête sit down start, but swing left onto the face and follow the finger ramp line up and move across left with increasing difficulty until it is possible to reach and finish as for This Way Inclined. [Pete Robins 29.02.12]

15. Peniel Arête 6A
The right arête of the steep face. 6B from a sit down start. [Dafydd Davis 90s]

Peniel topos 5, 6.CDR

16. 5C
Crimpy climbing straight up the scoop and slab. [Dafydd Davis 90s]

17. The Pengwndwn Shuffle 6C
A pumpy lip trip on the shadowy side of the boulder. Start sitting on the right with a comfortable mossy jam and trace the lip up leftwards, finishing into the top of Problem 16. [Dafydd Davis 90s]

18. 5C
On the path side of the adjacent boulder there is a neat wall problem.

Wander over leftwards for 25m to find:

Peniel topos 5, 6.CDR

19. 5C
A great problem up the arête; the landing does require care though. The 6A low start adds some tricky moves.

20. 5C
The obvious crackline is very good. [Dafydd Davis 90s]

Just up behind is a high wall:

Peniel topos 7.CDR

21. Plentyn Thatcher 5C!
Climb up the impressive arête then traverse off right at the break to descend, or press on direct to a scary, heather infested exit. [Dafydd Davis 90s]

The wall between the arête and the dirty crack goes at 6A.

The dirty crack was once climbed, but has since reverted to nature. A couple of highball lines were also done up the wall to the right, but these have the same type of scary heather exits as Plentyn Thatcher.