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All the Walking Routes up Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach

By Dave Roberts   

on January 27, 2018    5/5 (4)

All the Walking Routes up Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach

Facts and Figures about Glyderau

Glyderau Facts: 

Glyder Fawr was 999 metres high until resurveyed a few years back.

Both Glyder Fawr and Fach are one of the 14 Peaks.

Where is Glyderau?

Glyder Fawr and Fach are found in the Glyderau range which is just to the north of Snowdon in Snowdonia

How High is Glyderau in metres / feet?
Glyder Fawr is 1001 metres high, while Glyder Fach is 994 metres.
How long will it take to walk up Glyderau ?

Despite being short routes, the going can be rough so allow at least 3 hours to reach the summit and around the same to descend.

How Far is it to the top of Glyderau? 

None of the routes are particularly arduous, with a circuit of these summits barely hitting 10km

How hard is it to climb Glyderau 

None of the routes are easy, with each approach having it’s own difficulties. These range from steep scree, steep rocky ground and tricky navigation, with all three probable on your route!

What’s the best walking route up Glyderau?

The best for scramblers would be the Bochlwyd Horseshoe, the best for walkers is a dead heat between the Pen-y-pass and Devil’s Kitchen routes.

Which is the easiest walking route up Glyderau ?

We can’s single one out. Possibly the Miner’s Track from Pen-y-gwryd poses the fewest problems but can be tricky in mist.

Map showing all the routes up Glyderau

View the full route map

All the Walking Routes up Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach Introduction

There are few mountains so close together that still show such distinct character as Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach. While they’re both one of the 14/15 peaks, Glyder Fawr recently gained a few metres and increased from 999m to 1001m in height to become one of the 5 Welsh 1000m Peaks. Glyder Fach boasts the landmarks of Castell y Gwynt, a cathedral of vertical frost shattered rocks that you can scramble over, and the Cantilever. The latter looks like a precariously balanced rock that numerous generations have attempted to topple, but to no avail.

Why are they Called Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach? The name is a corruption of cludair which roughly translates as a ‘stack’ or pile. Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru defines it as :

anything gathered together, heap, stack, pile.

If ever there were a perfectly named pair of hills. The only thing is that they should be called Cludair Fawr and Cludair Fach  or the Cludeiriau (which would invariably and unfortunately be anglicised to Cluders)

What pubs are good for Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach? Ogwen might be the walker’s paradise, but is seriously let down by the lack of a pub! The nearest pubs would be the Bryn Tyrch in Capel Curig or the Douglas Arms in Bethesda (which we’ve yet to have found open after a walk!) From the Llanberis Pass side we recommend the Faenol Arms in Nant Peris and the Pen-y-Gwryd hotel. There’s also a bar (Mallory’s) and cafe in the YHA in Pen-y-pass.

Recommended Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach Maps   OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy ValleySnowdonia BMC (British Mountain Map) Snowdonia North XT25Landranger 115 Snowdon & Caernarfon

Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach Forecast: Met Office Snowdonia Mountain Weather

NOTE – Times given are for one way only unless otherwise stated. If you’re adding an ascent from one Glyder and a descent from the other, then remember that to add around 1.6km and roughly 90m of ascent and around 30 minutes to the day. 

Glyder Fawr from Llyn y Cwn

Height Gained – 730 metres,  Distance – 6 km, Time –3 hours. – For the Devil’s Kitchen Route.

This is the infamous scree path! There are essentially three approaches to this section. You can either approach this path from Ogwen via Devil’s Kitchen, from Nant Peris via Llwybr y Carw or from Y Garn . That could involve either ascending Y Garn from Ogwen or a full traverse of the Glyderau starting in Nant Peris or Dinorwig. Whichever route you take, the scree path from Llyn y Cwn is one of the worst ascents we can think of in Snowdonia. However, as part of a longer walk, we can forgive the hardships this path brings, put our head down and just put one foot in front of the other. It would help if that foot was not now behind the other, and we were sliding slowly backwards down the scree, but that’s only around 3 or 4 out of every step taken. You’ll get to the summit eventually.

Glyder Fawr from Pen y Pass

Height Gained – 630 metres,  Distance – 3 km, Time –2.5 hours.

A quieter route from Pen y Pass that follows a sketchy path up a steady path. The excitement levels aren’t high, but the views towards Snowdon are what make this one worth it.

Glyder Fach via Miner’s Track from Pen y Gwryd

Height Gained – 700 metres,  Distance –4 km, Time –3 hours.

Often combined with the previous route to form a pleasant circular route, this is an uncomplicated ascent of Glyder Fach from the Pen y Gwryd Hotel. Some sections are faint to follow, more so on the descent, but shouldn’t give too much difficulty to the seasoned hillgoer. Views across to Tryfan and Bristly Ridge, as well as across to Snowdon are highlights of the route. It’s worth a short dog-leg to Llyn y Caseg Fraith for views over to Tryfan, a great photo opportunity if the light is right.

Glyder Fach via Bristly Ridge and the Cwm Bochlwyd Horseshoe

Height Gained – 875 metres,  Distance – 6.5 km, Time –6-8 hours.  Stats given for the Full Route

This is the best day out on the Glyderau for the scrambler with the ascent of Tryfan and the North Ridge and Glyder Fach via Bristly Ridge, both serious grade 1 scrambles. The descent from Tryfan is down the South Ridge scramble and and from Glyder Fach down the Gribin Ridge, so as much scrambling as you could possibly fit into a 6km walk.

You can also approach the classic Bristly Ridge directly via Llyn Bochlwyd or Cwm Tryfan, but the best approach by far is as part of the Bochwlyd Horseshoe.

All the Walking Routes up Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach
Bristly Ridge

Glyder Fach via the Bristly scree path

Height Gained – 675 metres,  Distance – 4 km, Time –2.5 hours.

Directly to the side of Bristly Ridge is a steep scree path that’s a very short route to Glyder Fach. Why anyone would choose to use it as an ascent is beyond us. More often used as a descent, yet we’d prefer to continue along the ridge and descend the Miner’s Track. Here’s a map of the route, and feel free to explain the comments why anyone would want to bother with this route!

Glyder Fach from Miner’s Track from Ogwen

Height Gained – 700 metres,  Distance – 4.5 km, Time –3 hours.

This is a good track, eroded in places, that starts in Glan Denau on the A5 and ascends past Tryfan up Cwm Tryfan. It’s a steady ascent from there to Llyn y Caseg Fraith on a path that can be loose in places, before the final pull to Glyder Fach on a path that’s mostly easy to follow. It does have a tendency to disappear for short sections, which is inexplicable considering how wide a path it is for most of the duration. The linked route describes the route as far as Bwlch Tryfan where you can pick up the Miner’s Track, ascending to join the track from Pen-y-gwryd.

Glyder Fach via the Gribin and False Gribin

Height Gained – 710 metres,  Distance – 3.5 km, Time –3 hours.

This is a broad rocky ridge that ascends Glyder Fach from Cwm Bochlwyd. It’s the descending arm of the Bochlwyd Horseshoe. The False Gribin is the vague ridge just to the east of the main Gribin ridge. A much less technical proposition than Bristly Ridge, with a path avoiding much of the scrambling but still plenty of tough ground to traverse. Considering that both are be regarded as a Grade 1 scramble, makes us think that Grade 1 scrambles need splitting into two grades.

Glyder Fawr via Senior’s Ridge

Height Gained – 675 metres,  Distance – 3 km, Time –3 hours.

This is a grade one scramble up Glyder Fawr that startd from the shores of Llyn Idwal. If you’re a grade 1 scrambler, then the route starts via what’s called the Senior’s Gully before topping out and following the Senior’s Ridge to the summit of Glyder Fawr. Not in the same league as Bristly Ridge, but any path that avoids the ‘Scree Path’ gets a thumbs up in our books. We recommend the Scrambles in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton, published by Cicerone, which has further details on this scramble as well as tens of other scrambles up the Glyderau of varying grades of difficulty.

Local Information and Recommended Maps and Guidebooks

Recommended Maps

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Dave Roberts

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