Guide to climbing Pen Y Fan

Climbing Pen Y Fan - Introduction

If you are looking to Climb Pen Y Fan then this is the Blog for You... This Blog on Pen Y Fan has been provided to give you every bit of information you will need to know when climbing Pen Y Fan. 

Where is Pen Y Fan?

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Pen Y Fan is a Mountain that is located in the UK specifically Wales within the Brecon Beacons. Pen Y Fan is between Corn Du and Cribyn the northern section of the Brecon Beacons. Pen Y Fan is the highest mountain in South Wales.

Above is an image that locates where Pen Y Fan is in the UK.  You can check on google Maps how long it will take you to get to Pen Y Fan from your location.  

How can I get to Pen Y Fan?

There are Many ways you can get to Pen Y Fan, however it all depends on where you are based. if you live within the UK and are not immediately local to Pen Y Fan the easiest option would be to drive. Below are the different transport options on how to get to the base of the mountain.

Car 

The Nearest Locations you can get to climbing Pen Y Fan by car is Storey Arms Car park - LD3 8NL, Pont ar daf Car park - CF48 2HY, Cwm Taf Fechan Forestry Commison Car, Cwm Gwdi Car Park - LD3 8LE depending on which route you are planning on climbing.  

Train 

The Nearest Train station to Pen Y Fan is Merthyr Tydfil. from here will need to get a taxi or coach to your desired starting point.

Plane 

If you are coming from over seas the best option would be to get a plane to Cardiff Airport, from here you will need to catch a coach or taxi to your desired starting point. 

How High is Pen Y Fan?

886m

Pen Y Fan is the Highest Mountain in South Wales standing at 886m (2,907 ft). 

How long does it take to walk up and down Pen Y Fan?

The time it will take you to climb Pen Y Fan will vary depending on your level of fitness and which route you decide to take  up the mountain. 

Storey Arms Route

📸 @ifangwilym

Distance - 3.6km / 2.2 miles

Time - 1 - 2   hours 

Ascent - 480m

Beacons Way

📸 @justin_grimwood

Distance - 3.25km / 2 miles

Time - 1 - 2 hours 

Ascent - 450m 

Beacons Horseshoe

📸 @mikeytrailrun

Distance - 12.4km / 7.8 miles

Time - 5 - 6  hours 

Ascent - 650m 

Cwm Llwch Route

📸 @ad.venture_snaps

Distance - 4.6km / 2.9 miles

Time - 1.5 - 2.5 hours 

Ascent - 600m 

How Many Routes are there up Pen Y Fan?

As Mentioned above their are four main routes up Pen Y Fan,. Detailed below are the stages of routes up Pen Y Fan.

Storey Arms Route

Stage 1 -  park opposite the Storey Arms. The footpath for Pen y Fan’s summit leads off to the left of the Storey Arms, clearly signposted, and sets off on a steady uphill for a good km or so past a forestry plantation.

Stage 2 - The path gradually climbs up toward to summit of Pen Y Fan. It descends to cross the Blaen Taf Fawr, where you have to cross a Ford. Beyond the ford, the path reascends again, continuing on a steady pull. 

Stage 3 - you’ll soon arrive at the Craig Cwm Llwch ridge where the path turns right and steepens for the final 130m up to Corn Du. 

Stage 4 - The path sets off along the flat summit of Corn Du from which it drops steeply for a short distance before reascending the final stretch to Pen y Fan. The route back to the car Park is the exact route you took up. 

Storey Arms

Beacons Way 

Stage 1 - Take the footpath at the southern end of the car park, pass through the kissing gate and cross the wooden footbridge over the river. From here, follow the footpath uphill towards Bwlch Duwynt . 

Stage 2 - Once you reach Bwlch Duwynt take the footpath at about which leads across the southern slope of Corn Du. You'll soon reach the saddle between Corn Du and Pen y Fan. Continue along the footpath for the last push to the summit of Pen y Fan. 

Stage 3 - Head back towards  the saddle in between Pen y Fan and Corn Du, and bear right, making your way up the pitched footpath to the summit of Corn Du. Once you've reached the summit of Corn Du, descend and take the footpath to your right, following the ridge. 

Stage 4 - Leave Corn Du from the northern end and climb down the steep section to reach the pitched path below which heads towards the obelisk. Re-trace your steps back from the obelisk to where the path divides. Take the permissive path that heads down towards the stream. Once across the stream, head upwards, following the path to the gate on Y Gyrn. Keep following the path and descend down towards Storey Arms. Follow the tarmacked footpath leading to a kissing gate, taking you onto a track that leads back to the car park.

Beacons Way

Brecon Beacons Horseshoe 

Stage 1 - The route starts from the Forestry Commission car park, walk north along the road to the  Lower Neuadd Reservoir. Make your way to the left of the reservoir, through a gate and start to ascend the steep climb onto the Craig Fan Ddu ridge.

Stage 2 - At the top turn right and follow the ridge around towards Corn Du. As you approach Corn Du at Bwlch Duwynt, the path forks right will take you around to Pen y Fan, while left takes you up over the second highest peak in the Beacons. Continuing around the crest of Corn Du, drop down into the saddle and up onto Pen y Fan. 

Stage 3 - From Pen y Fan  descend off the summit and follow the path to the summit of Cribyn. At the Cairn on Cribyn, turn right and follow the ridge along the back of Cribyn. Some sections along this path are fairly boggy, Carry on down, until you come to the Gap Road. 

Stage 4 - Cross over the stile and follow the fairly steep path to the summit of Fan-y-Big. From Fan-y-Big follow the Craig Cwm Oergwm ridge heading back towards the Neuadd Reservoir. As the ridge arcs around to the left, split from the path and head straight on, making your way diagonally down towards the lower Neuadd reservoir. Coming back onto the Gap Road and through the metal gate, follow the tarmac road back round to the car park from where you started.

Brecon Beacons Horseshoe

Cwm Llwch Route

Stage 1 - From the car park, take the road up to the gate and stile, then alongside the field. Step over the stile and slightly to your right there is a grassed track crossing several shallow grassed gullies, Keep right along this track, close to the edge and follow the old pony and sledge track up past some quarries. 

Stage 2 -  Keep rising up and pass through a large quarry.  Once you reach the top, turn right and follow the path along the ridge known as Cefn Cwm Llwch, all the way up to the summit of Pen y Fan. 

Stage 3 - Once you have reached the summit of Pen y Fan, follow the path down to the right and up to the summit of Corn Du, From here find the steep path off the north west. Go down this path and keep to the right, close to the edge of Cwm Llwch. Follow this path downhill. 

Stage 4 - Once you reach the lake (Llyn Cwm Llwch). Turn left and continue to follow the path down, crossing the stile. Keep heading north, past a cottage and then a car park until you reach the road. Continue along the road until you reach a crossroads. Turn right and follow the road until you reach a right turn opposite a cottage. Follow along the road for another 800m until you reach a sharp left. The entrance to Cwm Gwdi car park is on your right.

Cwm Llwch Route

How hard is it to climb up Pen Y Fan?

All Routes up Scafell Pike are reasonably difficult and it really depends on which route you take that will determine how hard it is to climb, above is a detailed description of all the routes up Scafell Pike. Generally the Corridor Route and the route from Eskdale would be the most difficult,. and one of the more easier routes up Scafell Pike would be the route from Wasdale.  

What Is The Weather Like On Pen Y Fan?

The Weather conditions on Pen Y Fan can be unpredictable, you should be aware that weather conditions on Pen Y Fan can change rapidly and often for the worst. A good day at sea level is no guarantee of good weather on the mountain! You should Be safe and prepared before climbing. 

Before going to climb Pen Y Fan you can check the forecast on the Met Office, (make sure you check the weather for Pen Y Fan and not the surrounding area)

Although the weather may chop and change, Pen Y Fan Does get hotter in the summer and colder in the winter, Below is a table of the average temperature on Pen Y Fan during the year. The Top numbers are the highest average and the bottom are the lowest.

Average Temperature

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
1°C 1°C 3°C 6°C 10°C 13°C
-1°C -2°C -1°C 1°C 4°C 8°C
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
14°C 14°C 12°C 8°C 4°C 3°C
9°C 9°C 7°C 4°C 1°C 0°C
This Table is a rough Guide for Pre planning, Please check the weather before you start your climb on Pen Y Fan.

What is the best month to climb Pen Y Fan?

The Best Month to climb Scafell Pike depends on what you want to experience when climbing Scafell Pike.  For example If you would like to climb Scafell Pike on a hotter/clearer day then in the Mid summer would be the best time to climb, you can locate the tables on the average sunlight hours and  the average temperature during the year on Scafell PIke, These two tables may give you a rough idea on what month you will want to climb Scafell Pike.

You may also want to know what the most popular month is to climb Scafell Pike to either avoid or join the many people who climb the mountain each year. The most popular time to climb Scafell Pike is usually during the summer, With the Winter being the more quieter times due to the worse conditions on the mountain.   

What is the best time to Climb Pen Y Fan?

The best time to climb Pen Y Fan will depend on the season you are climbing in and what you want to experience when climbing. Below is a table on the average sunrise and sunset times during the year.  When you go to book your trip please check the weather. The table is a rough guide so you can estimate what time you would like to climb. 

Average Total Sunlight

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
08:10 07:30 06:15 05:00 05:00 05:15
16:30 17:30 18:50 20:00 21:00 21:30
8h 30m 8h 50m 11h 50m 13h 25m 15h 30m 16h 30m
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
05.15 06:00 06:45 07:10 07:30 08:55
21:15 20:30 19:55 17:50 16:30 16:10
16h 00m 14h 30m 12h 35m 10h 40m 8h 50m 7h 55m
This Table is a rough Guide for Pre planning, Please check the weather before you start your climb on Pen Y Fan.

What do i need to bring up Pen Y Fan?

The ideal kit list when climbing Pen Y Fan will vary slightly depending on what season you are climbing in, in the winter you will need warmer clothes and base layers etc, however the essentials will pretty much stay the same.

Warm and waterproof clothing

These items are essential all year round due to the temperamental conditions on Pen Y Fan, in the summer it may be hot at the base the the conditions will get slightly cooler and could become drastically worse at the the top, due to this make sure you bring waterproofs and warm clothing up with you.

A pair of good walking boots

You will need a pair of decent walking boots regardless of the weather or temperature when climbing Pen Y Fan.

Useful Hiking Equipment

You will need to bring essential bits of hiking equipment when climbing Pen Y Fan. These items consist of a map, compass, torch, whistle and first Aid Kit. You can also bring trekking poles, however they are not essential.

Food and Water

Pen Y Fan is a long days hike regardless of which route you are taking so it is a must that you bring plenty of food and drink with you when climbing. you MUST take your litter down the mountain with you! 

ben-nevis-day-kit-apex-international

Day Kit

Is Pen Y Fan suitable for children to climb?

Pen Y Fan is suitable for children, as long as they are prepared for all weather conditions and keen for a challenge. 

Is Pen Y Fan suitable for dogs to climb?

Pen Y Fan is suitable for dogs if your dog enjoys long walks. It is advised to keep your dog on a lead especially when paths get busy.. There are some parts of Pen Y Fan that have uneven terrain and this may be tricky for some dogs. 

Guide to Climbing Pen Y Fan Created

15/07/2020 

Check out our Guide to Climbing Scafell Pike

22/06/2020

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