Glyderau from Deiniolen to Capel Curig
By Dave Roberts
on September 3, 2014 5/5 (2)
Glyderau from Deiniolen to Capel Curig
A traverse of the Glyder range from Deiniolen to Capel Curig
Route Start Location: Deiniolen to Capel Curig
|20.28 km||1271 m||8 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Strenuous Walk
Summits and Places on this Route
Cafe, Shop and pubs in Capel Curig.
Navigation can be awkward on latter parts. Steep scree sections and bouldery scrambles.
Parking at the start at road side, but returning from Capel Curig will need 2 cars or a walk from Deiniolen.
Buses to Deiniolen from Caernarfon and Bangor. Frequent sherpas from Capel Curig to Llanberis, with buses onward to Deiniolen and Dinorwig.
Glyderau from Deiniolen to Capel Curig Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download
Download file for GPS
Glyderau from Deiniolen to Capel Curig
The classic traverse of the entire Glyder range from Deiniolen to Capel Curig. The only way to improve on this route is to nip up Tryfan on the way past, as you lose less than 100m descending to Bwlch Tryfan. On this occasion, we camped over half way at Llyn y Caseg Fraith which provides one of the best viewpoints of Tryfan.
The Route A wild camp at Llyn y Caseg Fraith was the objective for this weekend. The mountains we’d cross to get threre were a definite bonus.
Elidir Fawr really has only two options for climbing it directly. Either the notorious slog up from Nant Peris, or a much easier and quieter route up via Elidir Fach. This quiet route starts at the road crossroads (SH 593 631), which is reached from Deiniolen itself by a brief walk along the main street and turning left at the very far end just after a church. Follow the road up, through a gate, and the road narrows.
The road passes a large quarry that at first sight appears to be exceptionally deep, but on closer inspection is at the same level as the track. Just uphill from this is the small lake of Marchlyn Bach. The road forks right just before this, which is the route we need to take. Initially the slope to the left is loose and steep, but once you pass through a wall, it becomes greener and slightly less steep. Start climbing towards the skyline, taking a direct 90 degree to the road will take you straight to the grassy ridge and an easy amble to Elidir Fach. As you gain height, views gradually open up towards Moel Eilio and beyond. There is no path along this section. Small cairn on the summit, enjoy views down to Llanberis that are superior to those from Elidir Fawr, might even be worth going along summit for view.
There is now a steep, but thankfully short, scree slope ahead to attain the first proper summit. On a clear day you can make out the paths that cross the scree. If you find the fence that crosses the col between Elidir Fach and Fawr and follow it, there is a path. However, a good path starts somewhat to the left, away from the fence. In poor vis, use fence to reach scree and follow the base of the scree (fain path) until a path starts to climb to your right. It is a good path, and not eroded like many other scree paths. You are on the summit ridge quickly. Turn left and after clambering over a few boulders, you reach the summit shelter.
Take time to enjoy the views to the rest of the Glyderau and down towards Marchlyn Mawr. On a clear day, little navigation is required. Y Garn is ahead, the grassy ridge that leads to it, obvious. On a mistier day, ensure you continue along the summit ridge, where a clear path descends to Bwlch y Brecan and contours above Cwm Dudodyn before passing the rocky Foel-goch.
It may be worth climbing this little summit, but the path is steep from this side, and with camping gear and a couple of major climbs ahead, it was skipped. Follow the path around the base, before it starts to rise and climbs easily along a widening path to the top of Y Garn. Today the summit was busy, you are now entering the area that tends to find the walkers from the Ogwen Valley, so from quiet you are now into very, very busy hills.
Descend along the horribly obvious path that scars this hillside, it is steep in places, but not unpleasant. Reach a stile and cross it. There are 2 stiles close together as there are two paths to the summit, both of similar distance. You are now in the Devil’s Kitchen area and the path soon takes you to Llyn y Cwn that’s a very popular spot for lunch. There is a decent outlet stream close by too so you can refill your water supply (I’d recommend filtering this water) before tackling the next section. We waited here for a couple of hours, to cook lunch and to wait for some friends who were also in these hills this weekend.
The scree paths up Glyder Fawr have nothing to be said in their favour. They thread about, meaning you have to decide on route. They are steep and loose. They have many people coming down as well as up, so you have to dodge
dislodged scree and step aside for people; standing still on this stuff isn’t easy.
I suppose the only good thing i can mention is that it’s a short but steep ascent, and you are soon on the gentler gradient of the Glyder Fawr summit plateau trying to work out which pile of rocks is the proper summit. The path passed one likely candidate, and it did look the tallest, before heading off across the rocky plateau. Large cairns lead the way, making navigation a bit easier, before the rock yields to grass and a more obvious path is yours to follow.
This takes you under the spectacular Castell y Gwynt, and you may well wish to scramble over it. In fact, there isn’t an obvious route now in any direction. The path that skirts it is sporadic, and i found myself again clambering over many large boulders to get to a path and the plateau of Glyder Fach. Further scrambling and the destruction of my trouser seat, found me roughly upon the top of the pile of boulders that make up the summit of Glyder Fach. This was a bad time to discover how slippery my trousers were when sat upon the sloping slabs of rocks, where my backpack didn’t help either.
The miner’s track down can be found by passing to the right of the Cantilever stone, but i forgot this (again) and went off right where a faint path clambers down over even more boulders (i was getting rather sick of them by this point). Before arriving at the comfortable grass near Llyn Caseg-fraith. This turned out to be an excellent wild camping spot, but you have to search for a decent spot as most of the lakeside is intolerably boggy. As you walk to the lakeside, you have an unnerving feeling that you’re actually floating on water.
Tryfan dominates the view, and it’s worth getting up early to watch the sun rising and bathing it in a red light. There was even a rainbow over Tryfan today. It was also meant to be an extra summit, but as it was wet, and we had the packs, decision was made to descend to Capel Curig in the thick mist that settled on us soon after sunrise.
Care is needed now, as the path is sporadic and sometimes threads off. You also need to avoid some boggy sections, and this is where the path tends to get lost. A short climb and you are on top of the last summit, Y Foel Goch, before navigating the descent to the boggy Bwlch Goleuni. You can extend the route to include Gallt yr Ogof if you want. The map shows the path to the left of a wall on the initial descent. Be warned that there is first a parallel fence to the North East of the wall that is not marked on the OS maps, the wall you follow down is soon encountered to your right.
Follow the path down, then it crosses the boggy Bwlch Goleuni, before descending to your right and then descending sharply in a scrambly descent over paths and slabby sections to the farm at Gelli (SH 719 584). Turn right here along the track and you are within minutes supping a coffee in the Pinnacle.