28th March 2022

Plas y Brenin climbing wall opens to the public

Written by Nicola Forsyth

Plas y Brenin climbing wall is open to the general public every day 9am until 10pm. For more information pop in and speak to reception or call us on 01690 720214.

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It’s been a long and rocky road from the completion of the new Plas y Brenin climbing wall build, to its recent opening. Its completion coincided with the start of the global pandemic, which not only quashed any thoughts of opening, but also stopped play in terms of any real development of the facility generally, with all non-essential workers in a national lockdown.

As restrictions eased, we have been able to use the wall for our courses, and residential customers have had access to it in the evenings, but we are now pleased to be open daily to the general public.

Climbing Instructor Dave Evans describes the history of the Centre’s climbing wall and its significance in terms of the history of British climbing wall development…

The original wall, made famous by its appearance in the “dream” sequence in the epoch making Johnny Dawes climbing film “Stone Monkey”, actually still exists hidden behind the panels in what is now the equipment store.

Our wall was one of the earliest of its kind anywhere, with moulded concrete blocks in the brickwork to mimic features on real rock but in an indoor environment. Fast forward to 1992, when major British climbing wall builder, Bendcrete, came in, and produced the infamous Plas y Brenin “Arch” bouldering wall and adjacent lead wall in “The Tower”. This wall really was cutting edge at the time, featuring as it did, a moulded, textured fibreglass surface, feeling and climbing like rock on a crag outside. Opened by the great British climber and mountain guide Pat Littlejohn, this wall would remain in place until 2018, and many people in the UK climbing community, including myself, were sad to see it dismantled. One well-known local climber even used to refer to the bouldering arch as “the finest indoor climbing feature in Britain”!

So here we are today. The old, featured panels are no more, replaced with clean, flat textured plywood panels which are much easier to set an infinitely varied array of problems on. The wall is now more open and much lighter as a result, and actually feels more spacious. We have a much broader area for roped climbing as the tower has been opened up with some crack volumes courtesy of the Wide Boys. There is also a fantastic digital training board with wooden holds only, perfect for more elite level climbers training finger and core strength for performance climbing.

Ahead of its grand reopening to the general public, we thought we would get things started by asking one of the current stars of British rock climbing and route setting, and Llanberis local, Emma Twyford, to come and fully reset the bouldering wall for us. This will be followed up with a reset of the lead wall in the Spring.

So, if you’re in the area and the weather isn’t great for climbing outside, don’t forget to pop in for a session and maybe treat yourself to a hard-earned drink or some food in the Snowdon Bar afterwards.

The climbing wall is open every day 9am until 10pm, for more information pop in and speak to reception or call us on 01690 720214.