Traverse of Crib Goch, Snowdon

By 1st August 2020 Scrambling, Summer

A traverse of the Crib Goch ridge to Snowdon could be one of your most exhilarating mountain experiences. The Crib Goch ridge connects the summit of Crib Goch with Garnedd Ugain and from there to the summit of Snowdon.

People often describe it as being a “knife-edge”, with isn’t completely the case, but it certainly is very exposed. There is a very steep slope on one side and an even steeper cliff on the other! The best way to tackle it is simply to walk upright along the crest. However, for many this is too daunting. It’s a common sight to see people on all fours moving cautiously along, but this actually makes it more difficult.

On a fine day, the views are spectacular. But on a windy day an exposed ridge is not really the place to be, as the photo makes obvious. In this picture, the scramblers have just completed the Clogwyn y Person Arete and are now descending Crib Goch ‘the wrong way’, meaning against the flow of the majority of scramblers who move anti-clockwise towards Snowdon.

Two scramblers on a traverse of the Crib Goch ridge with the summit of Snowdon in the background during a scrambling course in Snowdonia” width=

The usual start for doing Crib Goch is from Pen y Pass. From here, as you look up, Crib Goch is the obvious main summit that is visible. Quite a few walkers assume this is Snowdon and keep their eyes on it and head that way. There are signs at Pen y Pass warning of this common mistake. An easy walk up one of Snowdon’s main paths will become a scary Grade 1 scramble when you find yourself unexpectedly on Crib Goch!

To start with, from Pen y Pass you follow the main PyG track along with hundreds of others towards Snowdon. Soon the path crosses the ridge of the horseshoe shape at Bwlch y Moch and Snowdon’s lakes first come into view. At this point you strike off to the right towards the Crib Goch – the ‘red ridge’ in Welsh. At first this is just a steep broken path, but before long you find yourself at the foot of a short, steep wall. It appears to be guarding the foot of Crib Goch. There are several ways to climb this, but it is one of steeper and more technical sections and it stops a fair few people in their tracks.

Easier scrambling leads to the summit of Crib Goch, and then the fun really starts. First comes the exposed narrow ridge of Crib Goch. This responds best to a confident approach and you should just walk upright along it. Then come the pinnacles, with a few sections of climbing both up and down. The gaps between the pinnacles are very atmospheric places and make great photographs. But before long, the Crib Goch ridge is over. A wide open, flat grassy areas marks the end and is a good place to pause.

The scrambling isn’t over, however. You now continue along the ridge of Garnedd Ugain which has a few interesting scrambling steps in it. Finally, it flattens out and the trig point on the top comes into view. From here way walking, first down, then back up leads to the summit of Snowdon. Descending off Garnedd Ugain will bring you back into contact with the masses. It is here that the PyG and Miners’ paths meet the Llanberis path so you can expect to be in a long queue from this point forward.

You can descend via any of Snowdon’s paths, depending on how you wish to regain your car. But the best and quietest option, though the longest and hardest, will be to complete the whole of the Snowdon Horseshoe by continuing to Y Lliwedd. You can then be doubly proud of your day’s achievement

If you’d like to know more about a traverse of the Crib Goch ridge then get in touch. We  run many other guided scrambles in Snowdonia or the Lake District as well as scrambling courses for all levels of experience.