Snakes and Ladders is a classic and unforgettable journey around the Llanberis slate quarries. It’s scale, proportions and epic qualities leave even the hardcore adventurer breathless and in awe. This route is not for the faint hearted but can be accomplished by a novice climber with a competent guide.  However – you need to go prepared. A competent leader is a must!!! The knowledge of abseiling – is a given and the ability to judge serious situations should not be over looked.

Much of the information I had found in the past had been confusing and had been difficult to follow. I want this to be ‘guide book style’ information, for free – for others to follow. The topo will help link the description with what’s on the ground.

I hope that the following will shed some light and help those wanting an adventure, to go and take an amazing journey around Snakes and Ladders!!

Here goes:

Snakes and Ladders Parking Spot

Snakes and Ladders Description

From the car park at Dinorwig walk towards the main slate quarries on the large track. Go past the large disused building on your left and take the gate on the left hand side leading towards the long staircase going up hill.

The main track now bends around to the right – follow this and on your left there is a quarry with a pool at the bottom – Dali’s Hole. Head into Dali’s Hole and head across to the large tunnel visible on the other side.

Walk through the tunnel via a tricky step around a boulder to a path, right around another quarry. Head through the next tunnel. This leads to California.

Snakes and Ladders

Once in California, turn left and walk 100 meters to the chain dangling from another tunnel 20 meters up. Climb this, around HVS (The start of the chain has fallen off but you can stand on your partners shoulders or boulder up to it).

Large HMS krabs or slings protect.

Snakes and Ladders

Walk through the tunnel and abseil off the chain on the tree – 10m abseil.

Walk across the terrace to the corner directly opposite the abseil point. A few blocks mark the entrance to the cave. Squeeze through the hole downwards into the caving system and walk through the cave and out into the huge quarry of Australia.

Snakes and Ladders

From here scramble right heading towards the three terraces high on the right hand side. The traverse line is loose and deserves care. A rope may be required.

Snakes and Ladders

Once on the first terrace you will see the first ladder has collapsed. Climb a loose / easy ramp to the left hand side some 50 meters left of the ladder. Protect-able.

Climb the second and third ladders to the last terrace – both have a sense of adventure.

From the top of the last ladder turn right and head towards the derelict buildings. Continue leftwards towards the other derelict building. Ignore the slate stairs going down unless a quick exit is required.

Snakes and Ladders

After the last derelict building has been reached an obvious gully with high vertical walls will be in front of you on the left hand side. Walk through this.

Down climb or abseil and make your way to the large tree on the edge of ‘The lost World’. There is abseil tat in place but you need a minimum of a 60 meter rope – abseil off the tree.

Walk right facing out along the terrace and locate a long ladder heading down into the bottom of the quarry. The ladder is in two sections and is easily backed up for those that need it.

Snakes and Ladders

Once at the bottom take the left hand cave through into Mordor and follow the path around the left hand edge of the quarry.

I two stage ladder leads out of the quarry (lots of the rungs are missing and the nervous my want a rope). Once up, the next two stage ladder leads to the top.

Snakes and Ladders

Turn right and walk towards the old railway line that disappears off the cliff!!! Traverse around the gully to pick up the path that leads down hill and regains the main path back to the parking spot.

Snakes and Ladders

This description will help you find your way through the slate maze. An average group will take around 5 – 6 hours on route. If you are on a 30th birthday bash and need a rainy day activity, expect to take longer!!!

Please spend extra time exploring and getting to know the other tunnels, holes, caves and adventures on offer – this is just a quick way through. However, please be safe and respect your environment, look after each other and don’t get hurt. Safety – never take a day off.

UK Climbing has more information about some of the quarries – http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=10

Here is the description for you to copy in full:

Snakes and Ladders

From the car park at Dinorwig walk towards the main slate quarries on the large track. Go past the large disused building on your left and take the gate on the left hand side leading towards the long staircase going up hill.

The main track now bends around to the right – follow this and on your left there is a quarry with a pool at the bottom – Dali’s Hole. Head into Dali’s Hole and head across to the large tunnel visible on the other side.

Walk through the tunnel via a tricky step around a boulder to a path, right around another quarry. Head through the next tunnel. This leads to Calafornia.

Once in Calafornia, turn left and walk 100 meters to the chain dangling from another tunnel 20 meters up. Climb this, around HVS (The start of the chain has fallen off but you can stand on your partners shoulders or boulder up to it).

Walk through the tunnel and abseil off the chain on the tree – 10m abseil.

Walk across the terrace to the corner directly opposite the abseil point. A few blocks mark the entrance to the cave. Squeeze through the hole downwards into the caving system and walk through the cave and out into the huge quarry of Australia.

From here scramble right heading towards the three terraces high on the right hand side. The traverse line is loose and deserves care. A rope may be required.

Once on the first terrace you will see the first ladder has collapsed. Climb a loose / easy ramp to the left hand side some 50 meters left of the ladder. Protect-able.

Climb the second and third ladders to the last terrace – both have a sense of adventure.

From the top of the last ladder turn right and head towards the derelict buildings. Continue leftwards towards the other derelict building. Ignore the slate stairs going down unless a quick exit is required.

After the last derelict building has been reached an obvious gully with high vertical walls will be in front of you on the left hand side. Walk through this.

Down climb or abseil and make your way to the large tree on the edge of ‘The lost World’. There is abseil tat in place but you need a minimum of a 60 meter rope – abseil off the tree.

Walk right facing out along the terrace and locate a long ladder heading down into the bottom of the quarry. The ladder is in two sections and is easily backed up for those that need it.

Once at the bottom take the left hand cave through into Mordor and follow the path around the left hand edge of the quarry.

I two stage ladder leads out of the quarry (lots of the rungs are missing and the nervous my want a rope). Once up, the next two stage ladder leads to the top.

Turn right and walk towards the old railway line that disappears off the cliff!!! Traverse around the gully to pick up the path that leads down hill and regains the main path back to the parking spot.

Snakes and Ladders – Topo

Snakes and Ladders Topo
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