Crib Goch Scramble from Pen y Pass
The thrilling Crib Goch is one most popular ridge routes in the country. It is the toughest ‘walk’ up Snowdon, and one of the best scrambling routes in the country.
Route Start Location: Pen y Pass - Snowdon Summit
|5.62 km||852 m||5 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Hard Walk, Scrambling, Scrambling Grade 1
Summits and Places on this Route
There’s a good cafe at Pen y Pass these days, as well as public toilets in the same block. Over the road you’ll find Mallory’s Bar in the Pen y Pass Youth Hostel.
Crib Goch is an extremely exposed scramble that should only be attempted if you’re confident in your abilities and have a head for heights. It becomes a mountaineering challenge in the winter requiring ice axe, crampons and plenty of experience.
Parking : LL55 4NY
Pen y Pass is the obvious choice but a £10 fee and limited availability often rule it out. You may need to arrive before 7am to get a space.
Laybys close to Pen y Gwyrd Hotel line the A498. These are pay and display, however, across the Nant Gwyrd river, in Cowny County, parking is free.
Despite appearances, parking in the area designated as a Urban Clearway, south of the A4086 junction, will likely lead to a parking fine and an expensive days parking.
The Snowdon Sherpa bus travels around the foot of Snowdon, creating a link between the six main routes that travel up Snowdon, as well as the main car parks, villages and tourist attractions in the area. Check out the Snowdon Sherpa page on Walk up Snowdon for the latest Snowdon Sherpa rundown.
There is a park and ride service from Nant Peris and Penygwryd car parks to Pen y Pass every Saturday from Easter Saturday to the last Saturday in October (duplicate journeys will operate as required between Llanberis / Nant Peris and Pen y Pass during busy periods).
Crib Goch Scramble from Pen y Pass
NOTE – Distance above is for one way only. You’ll need to double up if you descend the same way – but we don’t recommend it as a descent, not when it’s busy.
How Long Does Crib Goch Take? We reckon 3 hours would be a good time for a first traverse for a fit walker, who doesn’t have difficulty in finding the route. But! You will need to allow for the time of day/year into account as the sheer volume on the ridge will slow you down. Enough of these will be inexperienced enough to make the going slower.
When’s the Best Time to do Crib Goch? When it’s dry and the wind’s calm. You should also start very early in the morning, or the more confident walker can ascend it safely in the evening during the summer months. You should have it largely to yourself at that time of day.
How Hard is Crib Goch? It’s regarded as a Grade 1 scramble, the least technical grade (notice we didn’t use the word, easiest for good reason!) For experienced scramblers with a head for heights, it’s decent day out in dry weather. In anything other than ideal conditions, it becomes a different proposition. Under winter conditions, it’s an alpine traverse that requires winter climbing skills and beyond what’s considered safe for ice axe and crampon winter walkers.
What’s the hardest section of Crib Goch? For some, the entire traverse! While it’s often described as being similar to walking along the apex of a roof, that’s a roof with a wide apex. There’s a ‘bad step’ that’s no more than part of the scramble for seasoned mountaineers, just below the crest. The crossing of the pinnacles, especially the airy step to climb the first pinnacles is often thought of being the toughest section. Don’t however underestimate the scramble up Crib y Ddysgl, as this involves a fair bit of scrambling.
Crib Goch from Pen y Gwryd
1 – Parking at Pen y Pass seems to be getting more and more difficult these days and the £10 per day charge is enough to put a lot of people off. This walk reaches the same objective but starts a little further away in the valley near the Pen y Gwyrd Hotel. If you’re lucky enough to get a space at Pen y Pass, just skip forward a couple of paragraphs.
2 – From the hotel, cross the A4086 road, which leads up the Llanberis Pass, and head briefly downhill to find a gravel path that bears right, away from the road, leading to a gate. Pass through the gate to find the path which avoids a walk up the busy A4086. It is signposted ‘Llwybr Pen y Pass Footpath – 1.5kms’. Cross a footbridge and begin climbing the well-laid path to the car park at Pen y Pass.
Crib Goch from Pen y Pass Route Guide
3 – From Pen y Pass, aim for the footpath to the left of the toilet block which heads west. A slate marker will identify this as the ‘Pyg Track’. This begins as a fairly wide tarmac track but soons passes through a wall and becomes rough and rocky though easy to follow. As this is one of the most popular paths for climbing Snowdon, it is very well engineered in places though there are a few slightly steeper sections. If the weather is fine, Crib Goch is the triangular mountain you will see looming ahead and you will have a view almost straight down the Llanberis Pass on the right.
4 – The Pyg Track passes beneath the crags of Carreg Gwalch and climbs up to Bwlch y Moch – the Pass of the Pigs. Views ahead will open up as Llyn Llydaw and pointy peak of Y Lliwedd come into view. At the pass, it is time to leave the Pyg Track.
5 – After passing a drystone retaining wall on the right, bear right immediately to take a path which leaves the Pyg Track, indicated by a low slate sign. If you reach the double ladder stile you’ve gone too far. The correct route has a few modest warnings attached to the stiles indicating you are bound for Crib Goch.
6 – The initial climb towards Crib Goch is a little tedious with loose scree underfoot. Following the path, you will eventually reach a craggy wall – Crib Goch’s ‘bad step’. This will be your first opportunity to get some hands on rock, finding a route up the crags. The scrambling is generally Grade 1 with the main line scrambling through the crags and up a gully. You can probably seek out some Grade 2 sections if you wish and there are plenty of hand and footholds to help. If you find yourself struggling here with the height or exposure, you may wish to reconsider a crossing of Crib Goch.
7 – Once over the bad step, you will be faced with more climbing, though now the ridge begins to narrow considerably. The crest of the ridge is the best and easiest route and you will probably find yourself using your hands as much as your feet. After some sustained climbing you will emerge onto the Crib Goch ridge itself.
8 – The eastern end of the ridge is surprisingly wide and flat and you’ll likely be sharing with with others building up their courage for the crossing or waiting for another group to pass. Ahead is a sensational view of Crib Goch, flanked by Y Lliwedd, Snowdon and Garnedd Ugain. It is perhaps one of the most dramatic views in the country. This, however, is not the summit so, after steeling yourself and taking in the scenery, step out onto the ridge.
9 – Technique here is entirely a personal preference. Some will happily walk right along the crest while others may find all-fours a preferable option. Most find a happy compromise between the two, using the crest top as a handrail while shuffling along just below it on the left hand side. Be warned, the rocks lining the crest are almost like teeth in a socket – they are fine to push down upon but some may succumb to sideways force. It’s recommended that you test them if you are about to commit any weight to them.
10 – Crib Goch’s summit lies around halfway along the ridge, a small rise set amongst the drama with a few rocks perched on top. To most, passing it will probably go unnoticed. The view back along the Crib Goch ridge is stunning while the Pinnacles lie up ahead. Down to the left is Llyn Llydaw while the great bowl of Cwm Uchaf sites below the immense crags to the right.
11 – From the summit, the most practicable route will be to continue on, crossing the Pinnacles to reach Bwlch Coch. More quality scrambling lies up ahead on Garnedd Ugain before you reach Snowdon.
Crib Goch Photos