Clogwyn Du'r Arddu

Clogwyn Du'r Arddu (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈklɔɡwɨ̞n ˈdɨːr ˈarðɨ̞], translates as the "black cliff of the black height"),[2] or "Cloggy", is a north-facing rhyolite set of cliffs located on the northern flank of Snowdon mountain. Cloggy is considered to be one of the best traditional climbing areas in Britain,[1][2] and has been called "The shrine of British climbing",[3] and a "crucible for the development of most of the finest climbers in Britain and the scene of many of their finest achievements".[2]

Clogwyn Du'r Arddu
Clogwyn Du'r Arddu.jpg
Clogwyn Du'r Arddu, showing the East Buttress (centre), The Pinnacle (triangle on top left of East Buttress), West Buttress (diagonal-striped face right of East Buttress), and Far West Buttress (opposite diagonal-striped right of West Buttress)
Map showing the location of Clogwyn Du'r Arddu
Map showing the location of Clogwyn Du'r Arddu
Location of Clogwyn Du'r Arddu
LocationSnowdonia, Wales
Nearest cityLlanberis
RangeSnowdon Massif
Coordinates53°04′45″N 4°05′38″W / 53.0792°N 4.0939°W / 53.0792; -4.0939Coordinates: 53°04′45″N 4°05′38″W / 53.0792°N 4.0939°W / 53.0792; -4.0939
Climbing typeTraditional climbing
Heightup to 300 metres (980 ft)[1]
Pitchesmostly multi-pitch
Ratingsrock grades of Diff to E9; winter grade of II to VIII[1]
Rock typeRhyolite[1]
Quantity of rock+215 routes[1]
Cliff aspectNorth
Elevation707 metres (2,320 ft) a.s.l.[1]
Classic climbs
  • Indian Face (E9 6c),
  • Womb Bits (E5 6c),
  • Great Wall (E4 6a),
  • The Axe (E4 6a),
  • White Slab (E2 5c),
  • Shrike (E2 5c),
  • Llitrig (E1 5c),
  • Great-Bow (HVS 5a)
  • Great Slab (VS 4c)[1]


Cloggy is north-facing and a comparatively remote mountain crag, that requires a long walk-in to access from Llanberis.[3] The cliff is broken into several large buttresses, most notably: East Buttress, The Pinnacle (lies above the East Buttress), West Buttress, and Far West Buttress. The cliff's circa 300 metres (980 ft) in height and mountain elevation, combined with the steepness and quality of rock, gives it the feel of a face on an alpine mountain.[3]

Climbing historyEdit

The first recorded climb was the 1798 ascent of the Eastern Terrace by Peter Bailey Williams and William Bingley, both botanists looking for alpine plants.[4] However, it was not until the 1920s, that British rock climbers began to scale the main buttresses, starting with the East Buttress in 1927 (Fred Pigott with Pigott's Climb, 4 pitches 83-metres at HVS 5a), and the West Buttress in 1928 (Jack Longland, with Longland's Climb, 5 pitches 126-metres at VS 4c).[2]

Since these early ascents, the cliff came to attract leading British rock climbers of every era including: Colin Kirkus (Great Slab 1930, and Chimney Route 1931 with J. Edwards, Curving Crack 1932), Joe Brown (The Boulder 1951, Llithrig 1952, The Corner 1952, Shrike 1952, November 1957), Don Whillans (Vember 1951, with J. Brown), and John Menlove Edwards (Chimney Route 1931 with C. Kirkus, and Bow Slab 1941).[4]

During the mid-1980s, it became the focus of the leading British rock climbers of the day, particularly Jerry Moffatt (Master's Wall 1983), John Readhead (Womb Bits 1984), and Johnny Dawes, who were striving to free up the main face of the Great Wall (or Master's Wall), in the middle of the East Buttress,[3] culminating with Dawes' October 1986 climb of Indian Face, which at a grade of E9 6c, was considered on the most dangerous and difficult rock climbs in the world.[5][6]

While the cliff contains routes of all difficulties, few other crags in Britain contain such a concentration of routes above the extreme E7-grade.[1]


  • Documentary: Hughes, Alun (director) (2006). Johnny Dawes & The story of Indian Face (Motion picture). Hughes Prod. Retrieved 9 January 2022.


  • North Wales Classics (Jack Geldard), 2010, Rockfax. ISBN 978-1-873341-17-9.
  • North Wales Climbs (Mark Reeves, Jack Geldard, Mark Glaister), 2013, Rockfax. ISBN 978-1-873341-82-7.
  • The Black Cliff: The history of rock climbing on Clogwyn du'r Arddu (Peter Crew, Jack Soper, Ken Wilson), 1971, Kaye & Ward ISBN 978-0718207908.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Clogwyn Du'r Arddu (Cloggy)". Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Rubin, Alan. "CLOGWYN DU'R ARDDU: THE BLACK CLIFF". American Alpine Journal. 18 (47): 534. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Hobley, Nicholas. "Clogwyn Du'r Arddu - Cloggy". Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b Williams, Paul (1989). Clogwyn Du'r Arddu. Climbers' Club. ISBN 0-901601-43-8.
  5. ^ "25 October 1986: Johnny Dawes climbs the Indian Face". The Guardian. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  6. ^ Editorial (3 June 2020). "Johnny Dawes and the Story of Indian Face: the UK's First E9 Climb". Climbing. Retrieved 9 January 2022.

Further readingEdit

  • Crew; Soper; Wilson (1971). The Black Cliff (Clogwyn Du'r Arddu). Kaye Ward. ISBN 0-7182-0790-4.

External linksEdit