Hills: Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl and Snowdon
Date: Thursday 24th April 2014
Company: Just myself
Distance: 12.3km, Ascent: 1200m
Time: 6Hrs 20Mins

On reviewing the weather forecast this morning, I decided conditions were ideal for an ascent of Crib Goch (my final Welsh 3000ft mountain). The weather was set to deteriorate around 14:00 but all going well I would be finished the scrambling long before then.

I left the car in Betws-y-Coed today and instead used the Snowdon Sherpa bus to get to Pen-y-Pass (£1 flat fare each way). This avoided the extortionate £10 parking charge at Pen-y-Pass.

On arrival at Pen-y-Pass, I set off along the PYG track. I last ascended Snowdon in 2011 via the PYG track, so I was on familiar territory.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

PYG track information sign:

The PYG track is possibly named after the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, popular amongst early walkers and still a great pub!

The information sign advises, "The route up Crib Goch and along the ridge is extremely dangerous and should not be attempted by novice walkers." Thanks for the heads-up .

On the PYG track looking towards Crib Goch:

As I gained height I got good views down the Pass of Llanberis.

Looking towards Llyn Peris and Llyn Padarn, Llanberis (zoom):

On the PYG track:

Looking back to Pen-y-Pass from near the Bwlch y Moch col:

As I approached the path junction, separating the PYG track from the Crib Goch track, I took a full-zoom shot of the East ridge of Crib Goch i.e. my route of ascent. From a distance it looked fairly steep and tricky.

East ridge of Crib Goch (zoom):

Looking down to Llyn Llydaw and the Miner's track:

Track to Crib Goch:

Once on the Crib Goch track, the initial 100m of ascent is mostly walking.

Approaching the initial scrambling on East ridge of Crib Goch:

Looking across Llyn Llydaw to Y Lliwedd:

Looking back along the easy lower section of the East ridge of Crib Goch:

At around 750m the scrambling proper begins; there is a wall to ascend. As per the whole of the Crib Goch route there are plenty handholds. Before commencing scrambling I put my poles and my DSLR into the rucksack. Instead I used my iPhone to take photos whilst scrambling.

Scrambling up the East ridge of Crib Goch:

Scrambling up the East ridge of Crib Goch:

Once above the rocky wall, the route continues up broken rock with an almost infinite number of holds.

70m of sustained scrambling above the short wall:

Looking towards the 921m top of Crib Goch:

On reaching the 921m top, I had a wee rest before undertaking the Crib Goch traverse.

View towards Llanberis from the 921m top of Crib Goch:

There are two options for the traverse: walk along the crest with no hands or walk to the left side using the top of the ridge as handholds. I opted for the latter.

Looking along the Crib Goch ridge from the 921m top:

The ridge really does become a knife-edge; not a place to be if you don't have a head for heights.

Looking back along the knife edge ridge towards the 921m top:

The summit of Crib Goch is about half-way along the narrow traverse. I took my time going along the ridge ensuring I had good hand and foot holds at all times. Crib Goch is no place for a slip - definite death potential.

Looking towards the 923m top (summit) of Crib Goch with Snowdon in distance:

Approaching the summit of Crib Goch:

West ridge of Crib Goch beyond summit:

The pinnacles were easier to negotiate than expected. The first two pinnacles are flanked on the left, the third you go over the top.

Crib Goch pinnacles:

I was surprised to see six young children undertaking this traverse un-roped.

Children scrambling up the third pinnacle:

From the top of the third pinnacle it was good to see a stretch of easy walking ahead.

Crib y Ddysgl ridge from top of third pinnacle of Crib Goch:

Looking back to Crib Goch pinnacles:

Looking back to Crib Goch:

Easy section of track between Crib Goch and Crib y Ddysgl:

The easy walking did not last long before being confronted with another scrambling obstacle.

More scrambling at Crib y Ddysgl:


Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw:

At the summit trig point on Crib y Ddysgl:

Beyond the summit of Crib y Ddysgl the remainder of the route to the summit of Snowdon is just a walk.

Easy descent from Crib y Ddysgl:

While there were relatively few individuals ascending via Crib Goch, there were loads ascending via other tracks. There were hordes of people at the summit. Many were inappropriately dressed for such a mountain. I bet everyone wearing jeans regretted that when the rain started chucking down.

View from just before the top of the PYG track:

Approaching the top of the PYG track:

The lazy way up/down Snowdon:

Final ascent to the summit of Snowdon:

Panorama from just below the summit of Snowdon:

View from the summit of Snowdon:

After visiting the summit, I briefly visited the cafe for a drink.

It would have been tempting to continue on with the Snowdon Horseshoe had the forecast not mentioned rain by 14:00. Instead I decided to return initially via the PYG track and then via the Miner's track.

Descent via the PYG track:

Looking back to Snowdon:

On the Miner's track:

Shortly after 14:00, as forecast, down came the rain (and hail).

Following the Miner's track round Llyn Llydaw:

Walk out in the rain:

On arriving back at Pen-y-Pass I had roughly an hour to wait to catch the Snowdon Sherpa back to Betws-y-Coed. Crib Goch is quite superb but is not to be underestimated. It may only be Grade 1 scrambling but it is sustained and exposed.