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Tryfan South Ridge Grade 1 Scramble

By Dave Roberts   

on June 30, 2023    4/5 (1)

Tryfan South Ridge Grade 1 Scramble

Route Essentials

Route Summary

The alternative to the tougher North Ridge up Tryfan.

See the end of the article for local information about parking, public transport facilities, pubs and cafes.


12.88 km


939 m


6 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Start Location

Ogwen Cottage Visitor Centre


Hard Walk, Scrambling Grade 1


Exposure, scrambling, route finding

Weather Forecast:

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Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need. 

Tryfan South Ridge Grade 1 Scramble Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

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Tryfan South Ridge Grade 1 Scramble

Tryfan South Ridge is a route up the easier, yet never that easy, side of Tryfan. Tryfan’s South Ridge starts from Bwlch Tryfan and there are a number of approaches you can take to arrive at this point,  including tacking it onto a circuit of the Glyderau. This loop however, takes in the approach via Cwm Tryfan towards Bwlch Tryfan before descending via Cwm Bochlwyd to the start. You could extend the outing by descending via Cwm Bochlwyd and then Cwm Idwal, and returning along the far shore of Llyn Ogwen and negating the need for the short section of road at the end.

While it may not be the most technically challenging scrambles, care is still required and it is still a cracking day out. The path can be tricky to follow in places, and poor navigation could find you on perilous terrain, and cragfast before you know it. If the going seems to be harder than a simple clamber, then you should stop, rethink and probably retrace your steps while you still can.

For more information about Tryfan, including why it’s called Tryfan, see our article – All the Routes up Tryfan.

The Tryfan South Ridge Grade 1 Scramble Route Description

1 The route for Tryfan South Ridge starts off at the far end of Llyn Ogwen at Glan Denau. You can start off closer to Ogwen Cottage and reduce the walking at the end. Wherever you’ve managed to park or dropped off by the bus, the first thing you’ll need to do is find the gate for the old coach road from the A5 towards Capel Curig as shown below. 

2 Follow the coach road for around half a kilometre to Gwern Gof Uchaf where you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for the the footpath heading right onto the hillside. There’s a street view for this section, you can follow it below.

3 This path sets off with the views towards Tryfan absolutely dominating the view. More directly ahead you’ll spot the crag of Tryfan Bach, usually overrun by novice climbers. Tryfan Bach is ‘small’ Tryfan, and from this angle you can clearly see why! The path is good and heads towards Tryfan Bach before taking a set of steep steps that climb parallel to Tryfan Bach and bring you out on to the lip of Cwm Tryfan. 

3 Once you’re in Cwm Tryfan, the route climbs steadily along a rough path through the heathery terrain as you contour around the base of this magnificent mountain, which is so intimate you can easily look up and see people along the Heather Terrace and the summit.

It’s a steady walk for around 1km, where the path veers right and pulls uphill towards Bwlch Tryfan. Take care as the map comes up short in this area, with the best path rising to Bwlch Tryfan not shown on the map which would suggest continuing towards the Miner’s Track

4 This path finally reaches Bwlch Tryfan, where you can have a well earned rest with everyone else. To your left 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 which avoids the scramble, but replaces it with a treacherous and unpleasant route that’s more trouble than it’s worth. The South Ridge to the summit of Tryfan, is to your right and while not as intimidating as Bristly, it is still not a walk to be taken lightly. One good bit of news is that you’ve already climbed to around 720m, so you’ve only got another 200m of ascent left to despite how it looks!

5 From Bwlch Tryfan, there’s a clear path to start with that initially veers left from the wall, and this does largely 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. The scrambling itself depends on the line you choose to follow, but it should never be difficult. The wall to the right prevents you from going too far in that direction, and you should also avoid going too far left as you may find yourself on some dodgy ground on Tryfan’s West Face. There’s also a slightly exposed section just before you arrive at the summit, so you’ll need a head for heights (and some care in the wind and wet, when it’s probably best to avoid it).

6 Finally, you’ll arrive at Tryfan’s summit. If it’s a fine day, unless you’ve been up with the larks, you’ll probably find it quite 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!

7 From the summit – you’ll need to descend the way you came to Bwlch Tryfan. The path can be tricky to spot from above, and there’s plenty of down scrambling. Ensure you don’t veer too far right (towards the West Face) and keep roughly to the broad ridge. 

8 Once you arrive back at Bwlch Tryfan, you can finish the walk by returning the same way you came. However, it’s well worth extending the walk by turning right and descending via Llyn Bochlwyd. A good path brings you down to the lake, a distance of around 0.5km. It’s worth doing if only for the views back up towards Tryfan.

9 From Llyn Bochlwyd, there’s a steep path to the A5. There’s also a path that descends to Ogwen, also steep, and it can be tricky to figure out which one to follow. As you reach the far end of the lake, the route you need is to your right rather than the Ogwen route that continues past the lake’s outflow stream and descends steeply by this river. It can be tricky to identify where to descend and you’ll definitely need some navigational skills to find. If in doubt, follow the more obvious track back to Ogwen which is much easier to follow.

10 Finally, from the A5 you can return to you starting point. If you managed to start from Glan Denau, turn right and follow the main road for just under 1km, though this clearly depends on which route you managed to find down from Llyn Bochlwyd!

For more walks up Tryfan, visit our All the Routes up Tryfan article.

Local Information and Recommended Maps and Guidebooks

Route Summary:

The alternative to the tougher North Ridge up Tryfan.

This walk includes the 3 Washis of Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach, Tryfan

This walk includes the 3 Hewitts of Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach, Tryfan

This walk includes the 4 Nuttalls of Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach, Tryfan, Castell y Gwynt

Route Start Location: Ogwen Cottage Visitor Centre

12.88 km 939 m 6 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Hard Walk, Scrambling Grade 1

Summits and Places on this Route


There are toilets at the visitor centre at Ogwen Cottage as well as a food counter that serves snacks and drinks. All local facilities, including a Tesco Extra can be found in Bethesda, along with cafes and a few pubs. In the opposite direction, there are pubs and a café in Capel Curig, and further on in Betws-y-Coed.


Exposure, scrambling, route finding

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : LL57 3LZ

Parking at Ogwen can be absolutely horrific during bank holidays and fine weekends, so you’ll need to arrive early. There is paid for parking at Ogwen Cottage, £6.00 a day or 4 hours: £3.00, card payments only and there are EV charging points available. There’s also a great deal of free parking in the laybys along the A5 and towards Glan Denau, but this is insufficient at busy times. Plenty will try and park on the A5 itself, but don’t do it as this is a trunk road and you’ll be rightly ticketed for parking along the main road.

Easter ’23 saw the A5 trunk road shut due to inconsiderate parking, something that was absolutely unheard of a few years ago.

Public Transport:

There is an infrequent T10 TrawsCymru Bus Service bus service between Bethesda and Capel Curig/Betws-y-Coed, helpfully it doesn’t run on Sundays or Bank Holidays. Thankfully, the electric Bws Ogwen has been running since 2022 between Bethesda and Ogwen and hopefully they will continue to do so in 2023. They ran 12 mini-buses midweek (not Wednesdays) and 15 on the weekend and can carry 9 at a time.

Traveline for UK Public Transport

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Dave Roberts

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