GW/NW-009 via Cyfrwy Arete rock climbing route

At the weekend I had the pleasure of activating Cadair Idris GW/NW-009 via the climbing routes of Table Direct (VDiff grade) and then Cyfrwy Arete (Diff grade) in beautiful weather.

My climbing partner and I made a very early start to get to the small pay and display car park at Llyn Gwernan to the north of the mountain. In hindsight this wasn’t entirely necessary as I forgot there is overspill parking in an adjacent field.

My gear for the day including leader’s rack is shown below. This trip’s radio setup was just a Yaesu VX6, to keep the total bag weight down. It turned out the climbing shoes were entirely unnecessary as the route was completed without issue in boots.

Shortly after starting on the footpath from the car park we had a great view of the target arete line on the horizon:

We proceeded up the tourist path until breaking east towards the base of the mountain. I made a dubious decision to take a short-cut to the base of the climbing by heading diagonally across the scree slope, rather than going out to the lake and back up from the far side. This proved to be an extremely precarious loose approach that I will avoid next time.

The optional climbing route of ‘Table Direct’ was used to access the arete. This was an enjoyable four pitch climb with plenty of gear and good holds:

The views from the side of the mountain were fantastic:

We then proceeded to progress on to the Cyfrwy Arete route. The arete is a 6 or 7 pitch route with over 300 vertical metres of roped climbing.

Due to traffic ahead of us we opted to simul-climb - a technique where the climbers take rope coils and climb at the same time. This worked perfectly for this alpine style arete and allowed us to overtake other parties and quickly alternate leads.

The climbing was exposed at times but never desperate. Although there was no shortage of loose rock.

We made good time and after packing away the gear at the end of the climbing made the short walk to the summit of Cadair Idris:

I made 6 QSOs on 2m-FM in under ten minutes including three S2S. Of particular note was my first contact in the log which was with @M0RDF, making their first ever SOTA activation at G/WB-009.

We proceeded easily back to the car park via the scree path to the NE of the summit to complete the day. If you have some trad climbing competency I can highly recommend the Cyfrwy Arete as a way to activate Cadair Idris.

There are some more photos from this trip and others on my IG page here: M1HAX Instagram.


Good effort Richard. That approach looked rubbish!!

Nice pics too. :slightly_smiling_face:

I keep thinking of the day wben I finally get around to activating Ben Nevis GM/WS-001 that it will have to be via one of the classic ridge routes. Or a gully in winter. :grinning::grinning:

73, Fraser

Cheers Fraser. Yes the approach was less than ideal… Ben Nevis via the CMD arete is a great route and in summer conditions is perfectly achievable by any experienced hill walker such as yourself.


Yes, been round several times in both directions ans all seasons. I’ve done all the classic ridges on the Ben in summer and winter, all except for the North East Buttress, which is around 300m high and a long walk in! Maybe one day…


This is SOTA at it‘s best! :mountain:
73 de Martin, DK3IT


Thanks Martin, yes it was a top day :slight_smile:

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A masterly understatement, yet it is so attractive I’ve done it three times. After the Table there is really just one decent pitch and then its just a loose scramble and trying not to send debris down the main face. I always wanted to do it as a winter climb but never got the conditions.

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