A stunning Grade 1 scramble in Snowdonia that most people have never even heard of? It sounds too good to be true – but the Llech Ddu Spur really does live up to its billing.
Llech Ddu, has all the making of a modern classic with one added bonus: hardly anyone has heard of it. Secreted away on the remote northern side of the Carneddau, it’s gulfs apart from the flashy, high profile scrambling territory of the Glyders and the Snowdon Massif. The approach in itself is an hour-and-a-half’s tramp up the Cwm Llafar valley; and by the time you reach the base of the spur itself, you’ll almost certainly be the only soul in sight.
It’s the feeling of wildness that makes Llech Ddu so special, it has an amazing mountain ambiance and remoteness. The downside of that remoteness, of course, is that the crag is a good tramp in from the nearest parking spot. Most scramblers begin at Gerlan near the town of Bethesda, following a succession of easy paths and tracks up Cwm Llafar. Llech Ddu swims into view from far down the valley: a leaning pyramid of rock bolted onto the side of Carnedd Dafydd. Look out for the white quartzite bands on the shoulder above the crag, which mark the beginning of the scramble.
To reach the bottom of the scramble, skirt the boulder field at the bottom of Llech Ddu and follow a path that zigzags up scree slopes to the right of the crag. Around 30 metres before reaching Cwmglas Bach, a hanging cwm on the ragged northeast cliffs of Carnedd Dafydd, a grassy ramp cuts up and back to the left. Follow this to find the quartz bands at the beginning of the scramble.
Llech Ddu Spur makes a superb introduction to scrambling. It’s a straightforward Grade 1 with superb views, blocky handholds and an exposure factor that is decently high but still hovers well below that of Crib Goch’s.
The first section follows a series of rock steps and runnels up the shoulder of the crag before narrowing into a rocky ridge. You can pretty much pick your grade here by sticking to the crest of the ridge or sidestepping the major difficulties using sneaky detour paths to left and right.
This scramble description has been taken from Hannah Lindon and the British Mountaineering Council.
If you would like to do a days scrambling with me, please get in touch on 07534 387152 or using the links below;