Y Gribin Ridge Scramble up Glyder Fach
The Gribin Ridge up into the Glyderau is a classic Snowdonia grade I scramble into these unique mountains. It is neither as technical as Bristly Ridge or as sustained as Tryfan North Ridge and route finding is reasonably straightforward, making it the ideal introduction to these mountains.
|3.9 km||722 m||3 hours or so - ONE WAY.|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Ogwen
Seasonal visitor centre at Ogwen with cafe and toilets but the ‘hatch’ still caters with hot drinks and snacks all year round (If they’re open on a Thursday Mid November, then they’ll probably be open all year).
The upper section of scrambling is steep, and can be tricky in descent. As is usual with these sort of routes – you may well find yourself on harder or easier sections of scrambling.
Infrequent Sherpa buses from Bangor and Betws y Coed.Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable): LL57 3LZ
Limited parking available in Ogwen, but you can park on the A5 laybys for free. Pavement parkers on the A5 will rightly be ticketed.
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Y Gribin Ridge Scramble up Glyder Fach Route Map and GPX Download
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Y Gribin Ridge Scramble up Glyder Fach Details
Most people looking to walk up the Glyderau from Ogwen will probably choose one of the popular options, usually the Devil’s Kitchen approach. Thankfully, that makes this approach much, much quieter than it deserves to be. With excellent paths that are easy to follow and a section of scrambling that’s just exciting enough for those who are looking for something slightly edgy without going full out Bochlwyd Horseshoe or trying to find your way on some of the less popular scrambles without veering accidentally onto more technical terrain than you’re happy with.
Y Gribin is usually better known as the descent for the Bochlwyd Horseshoe, it makes a perfectly good target for a day’s scrambling. It’s mainly along good paths, with the approaches being some of the least complicated and pleasant paths on this side of the Glyderau. It’s only that final section of scrambling that ups the difficulty into what we’d call nicely challenging.
Y Gribin is really two ridges that meet half way up, with the other being known as the False Gribin despite being the true continuation of the upper ridge. That one’s for another day.
The Gribin Ridge Scramble up Glyder Fach Route
1 Setting off from Ogwen, there’s an excellent path (or hideous motorway, depending on your viewpoint) that heads towards Cwm Idwal. Follow this path as far as the obvious junction where the Cwm Idwal path turns round to the right and the track to Cwm Bochlwyd continues ahead. It does steepen significantly as you reach Nant Bochlwyd that cascades down in numerous falls, and beyond this you’ll be in Cwm Bochlwyd.
1b Alternative Approach 1 – You can also start the walk from the nearest lay by to Ogwen on the A5. This follows the Bochlwyd Walk route that does get sketchy as you strive to cross the hillside and the Nant Bochlwyd on the way to join the main path from Ogwen.
1c Alternative Approach 2 – A third option is via Cwm Idwal, where you follow an indistinct path from Llyn Idwal. This route to Cwm Bochlwyd is described fully here. This is probably our favourite approach to the scramble.
2 From Llyn Bochlwyd, the track heads right to the start of Y Gribin. Follow the main path, as the fainter continuation takes you down to Llyn Idwal.
3 The path winds its way steadily up Y Gribin ridge, and you’re wondering what the fuss is about. It’s a pleasant grassy ridge with excellent views all around on a path that continually changes direction and is never a slog.
Finally – the ridge begins to unexpectedly narrow with views across into Cwm Bochlwyd and Cwm Cneifion (it has a perfectly good name, thank you) making this one of the most scenic approaches into the Glyderau. The high northern cliffs of Glyder Fach being tantalisingly close only adds to the atmosphere.
4 The Scramble Just after you reach the flat plateau at the 800m contour, the real challenge begins. It’s been easy up to now! The upper Gribin ridge rises from the grassy ridge to a fine peak – one that is unfortunately an illusion.
While you can also keep to the ridge, we had to remain below the ridge due to gale force winds and damp conditions making the scrambling a bit tougher than it needed to be. We also found a number of holds to be loose in places, not something usually found on popular scrambles, so take care before launching yourself up on some of the sections. A path skirts right, but we found that it was easier to tackle the scrambles head on. These paths tend to find more problems than they avoid! All we can say is find a safe line and enjoy the scramble for it is over far too soon.
5 The scramble finally tops out and becomes a path as you reach the ‘summit’ shelter at Bwlch y Ddwy Glyder. Views up to now have been dominated by the crags of the Glyderau and Tryfan, but now open up to encompass the entire Snowdonia National Park. You can see as far as Llangelynnin on the coast and beyond Cader Idris and Aran Fawddwy further inland.
5a You can add an optional dog-leg out to Glyder Fawr from here which only adds around 2km to the walk and is virtually flat on a good path. It can be problematic in low visibility conditions however.
6 To finish the route you need to head towards Glyder Fach and Castell y Gwynt. Those looking for more scrambling can cross directly over the shattered spires of Castell y Gwynt, which is slower but the route finding is at least easier. Those heading for Glyder Fach will need to drop down and follow the clear path that skirts Castell y Gwynt to the south before heading up to the ridge. The exact point at which to ascend can be tricky, especially as the path continues onward. At roughly SH 654 581 you’ll see some polish on the boulders and the hint of a path higher up – just follow this and your instinct to reach the flat area in front of Castell y Gwynt. It’s worth walking to the clifftop to take in the view before returning back to follow the obvious gravelly path that’s marked by a cairn. This brings you to the summit plateau, we recommend walking around the summit towards The Cantilever and ascending the bouldery summit from there.
Options for descent from Glyder Fach. You can follow option 5a and then descend “The Scree” to Llyn y Cwn from where you can drop down via the Devil’s Kitchen to Cwm Idwal. Much better would be to continue to Y Garn and descend from there back to Ogwen. Continuing from Glyder Fach you can tag Tryfan onto the route making an Alternative Bochlwyd Horseshoe that cuts out Bristly Ridge for those who might find it too hairy. The descent via the Miner’s Track is getting eroded, with sections lower down washed away by land slips. Ensure you don’t descend the first cairn for the Miner’s Track as this is an eroded chute, instead continuing a little towards Llyn y Caseg Fraith before dropping down. Those looking for something a bit different might consider continuing towards Llyn y Caseg Fraith and descending via Braich y Ddeugwm which is a straightforward route that involves no scrambling but you do need to have your nav skills ready as it’s pathless.