Tryfan South Ridge Scramble and the Devil’s Kitchen
Summits on this Route
The Tryfan Circuit0.3km
The alternative to the tougher North Ridge up Tryfan.
Distance: 12.9 km
Ascent: 939 m
Time: 6 hours
Start and Finish: Ogwen
Visitor centre at Ogwen with cafe and toilets.
Exposure, scrambling, route finding
Infrequent Sherpa buses from Bangor and Betws y Coed.
Limited parking available. Pavement parkers on the A5 will rightly be ticketed.
Post Code for Sat Nav: LL57 3LZ
Pen y Gwryd Hotel4.8km
Tryfan South Ridge Scramble and the Devil’s Kitchen Details
Tryfan South Ridge is a route up the easier, yet never that easy, side of Tryfan and then continuing on over the Glyderau. Descending back to the start via the Devil’s Kitchen, or Devil’s Appendix as it’s amusingly named on some of the online Google maps (select Terrain on the map below and zoom out a little!). The walk also bags you the Glyderau, but you could also finish the walk at Bwlch Trfan and descend via Cwm Tryfan or Llyn Bochlwyd
Tryfan South Ridge Scramble Route Map
The Tryfan South Ridge and Devil’s Kitchen Route
You can park anywhere along the A5 from Ogwen Cottage to Glan Denau, where we parked today.
The route for Tryfan South Ridge is straightforward, setting off on the old coach road towards Gwern Gof Isaf at which point you start off uphill.
The theme for the day is now set, and it’s steps. Follow this first lot of steps up to the skyline and the way soon eases. Steady as she goes, and you contour around the base of this magnificent mountain, which is so intimate you can see people along the Heather Terrace and the summit.
It’s a steady walk until the very final pull up to Bwlch Tryfan, where you can have a well earned rest with everyone else. Ahead is Bristly Ridge, which if you’re nervous about scrambling the South Ridge of Tryfan is probably not recommended today! There is a scree chute to the side of the ridge. Go for it if you want, but it’s not much fun.
There’s a clear path to start with, and this does go all the way to the summit IF you can keep on it. The bouldery nature of the ground makes it difficult to stay on path and you’re more likely than not going to find yourself clambering at some point or other.
If it’s a fine day, unless you’ve been up with the larks, you’ll find the summit busy. It’s a different sort of busy to Yr Wyddfa, but busy all the same. If it’s not a fine day, then you’ll probably have a lot more peace and quiet, but equally a lot more hassle getting up and down!
Returning to Bwlch Tryfan, you now follow the Miners’ Track up to Glyder Fach. It’s only a short pull up to the main ridge, before the final ascent to Glyder Fach. The path starts off obvious, but seems to fade into the rocks at intervals making it easy to lose. The map shows the path more to the south, but the one I’ve always found seems to find you right at the top of Bristly Ridge.
Crossing the Glyderau is always a pleasure, but you need your wits about you to find your way past Castell y Gwynt, onto Glyder Fawr’s summit plateau and then finding the scree path down to Llyn y Cwn. In foul weather, you’ll need to use a compass. Be warned that the descent from Glyder Fawr is particularly nasty on loose scree, poles might help if you’re uncertain.
From Llyn y Cwn, the path down to the Devil’s Kitchen is easy enough to follow, and at least your navigational worries are now over. That is, unless you dislike steps. I personally detest them, well my knees do and surely enough they complained soon enough, with a final crack causing me to hobble to the end of the walk. However, the surroundings more than make up for that, and it has to rank as one of the best spots in the area. The images below don’t do it justice.
Finally, you can either descend directly to Llyn Idwal, or contour around underneath Idwal Slabs and down to the lake that way. If you thought the rest of the walk was busy, the next section is even more so as you’re joined by the scores who walk up to Cwm Idwal. Don’t forget to take a few piccies at the lake, this is one of the iconic spots in Snowdonia.
All that remains is to walk back to the walk start along the busy A5.
For more walks up Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach, visit our All the Walking Routes up Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach article.