Scrambles in Snowdonia
To celebrate the launch of the new Scrambles in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton, published by Cicerone, we’ve collated the best selection of Grade 1 scrambles in Snowdonia. We’ve steered clear of the trickier scrambles and kept to the easier grade 1 routes. Be warned that these are far from being ‘easy’ routes!
Scrambles in Snowdonia is the must have guidebook for anyone scrambling in Snowdonia, and the newer edition keeps up the standard. It is however, not your usual walker’s guidebook and it does assume you’ll have the necessary skills to get to the start of the scramble. Don’t expect a step by step guide on how to follow the path. This gives more scope for Ashton to concentrate on explaining and detailing the actual scrambles with a description and an essential image that shows the line to follow. Maps are of little use when you’re actually on a scramble. Here’s a selection of our favourite Grade 1 Scrambles in Snowdonia, along with the page number as well as a link to the route on Mud and Routes where available. Were adding all these scrambles to the site in due course.
It just happens to be that these scrambles are all in North Snowdonia. There are few scrambles to the south, with the Cyfrwy Arete on Cader Idris being one of the best in the park. However, it’s a Grade 3 scramble and one for an other article! That is, named scrambles. There’s little doubt in my mind that any route across the Rhinogydd ‘badlands’ of Craig Wion, and up Rhinog Fawr can be accomplished without a degree of scrambling!
Best Grade 1 Scrambles on Snowdon
The Snowdon Horseshoe – (Page 185) The absolutely iconic mountain outing! We’ll let the photos speak for themselves for this one.
Crib Goch North Ridge – (Page 191)
Starting off from Blaen y Nant in the Llanberis Pass, this is a quieter approach than the popular approach from Pen y Pass. One thing’s for certain, it retains the same character as the main ridge and is arguably a superior approach to the usual scrambling slog from the PYG track.
Y Gribin Ridge – (Page 222)
This is a very quiet but worthwhile route up to Bwlch y Saethau, the saddle between Y Lliwedd and Yr Wyddfa. It’s reached by following the Miner’s Track as far as Glaslyn, before heading off cross country towards the steep ridge. The only criticism we have of this route is that it’s over far too soon! You can follow this route as an alternative ascent of Lliwedd, or join the Watkin Path and ascend to the summit of Snowdon. When we wrote the trip report, it was the day of the Snowdon Race, so we decided that a shorter circuit over Y Lliwedd would be the wiser choice.
Best Grade 1 Scrambles in the Glyderau
Bochlwyd Horseshoe – (Page 56) This includes TWO of the best scrambles in Snowdonia, as well as another two in descent! The Bochwlyd Horseshoe initially ascends Tryfan’s North Ridge, the longest sustained Scramble in Snowdonia, before descending Tryfan South Ridge (the less exciting route!). That’s enough of a mountain day for most, but wait! There’s more! Arguably the best grade 1 scramble is up Bristly Ridge, and that’s next on the agenda. Ascending to the summit of Glyder Fach, via the Cantilever and then onwards to Bwlch y Ddwy Glyder past the one and only Castell y Gwynt. Finally, there’s a fourth scramble as you descend down the Gribin Ridge to Cwm Bochlwyd and the final walk to the A5 after one of the best mountain day’s you’ll have.
Senior’s Ridge – (Page 146) Glyder Fawr has few scrambles for mere mortals, with Senior’s Ridge being the only notable one and we wouldn’t count that scree chute from Llyn y Cwn as anything other than to be avoided.
False Gribin – (Page 138) While the, presumably, true Gribin ridge is described as part of the Bochlwyd Horseshoe, there’s also the False Gribin that makes an alternative start to this route. To confuse matters further, it’s probably the actual true start of the true Gribin ridge, rather than the real true Gribin, which should technically be called the false Gribin. Now that’s clarified, the False Gribin sets off from the southern end of Llyn Bochlwyd, and joins up with the Gribin ridge before the final ascent to Bwlch y Ddwy Glyder.
Best Grade 1 Scrambles in the Carneddau
Crib Lem – (Page 43) One of the annoying thing about most of the scrambling routes is the lack of walking. Well this route makes up for that! You’ve got a good hour or more’s walking before you start ascending to the relatively short scramble up to Carnedd Dafydd. It’s a good walk in, one which provides you with a feel of how high these mountains are. This atmosphere of Cwm Llafar, dominated by the crags of Ysgolion Duon makes for a truly breathtaking backdrop for this short, sharp scramble.
The High Carneddau – (Page 31) This route boasts the scramble up Pen yr Ole Wen, via the east ridge, and a short scramble down Craig yr Ysfa as its main scrambling highlights. In between you’re treated to a wonderful ridge walk between the main Carnedd summits, with a few easy scrambles thrown in. A classic day out!
Yr Elen NE Ridge – Not noted in the guidebook, but still a notable little route. Very little in the way of technical scrambling to be honest, but it does follow a steep ridge and somehow feels like a scramble up! If ever there was a candidate for a Grade 0.5 scramble, this is it.
Other Grade 1 Scrambles in North Snowdonia
Nantlle Ridge – (Page 234)
This is the classic ridge walk that has everything. Loads of summits, each with their own character, as well as a dose of scrambling here and there and a smattering of exposure. The scrambling is nothing overly technical, but you can follow harder lines where you choose to do so for more of a challenge. Bearing in mind that some lines may not actually be a grade 1 scramble any more (I’m looking at you – direct route up Craig Cwm Silyn!!)
Daear Ddu Ridge – (Page 248)
Finally – as there are only a few scrambles outside the main areas of Snowdon/Glyderau/Carneddau – there’s a nifty scramble up Moel Siabod. Most of the scrambling is avoidable, as I found out when I managed to miss all the scrambling the first time I walked it!Hillwalking Scrambling