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Dolmen Ridge Glyder Fach

By 5th August 2020August 6th, 2022Scrambling, Summer


Come on a guided scramble up the Dolmen Ridge on Glyder Fach, one of the finest Grade 3 scrambles in Snowdonia. There are very many to choose from, but this is up there among the best.

The main cliff on Glyder Fach is an imposing sight. It dominates the view from Llyn Bochlwyd above the Ogwen Valley in Snowdonia.  ‘Glyder’ is pronounced closer to ‘bidder’ rather than ‘glider’ and it comes from an old Welsh word meaning ‘pile of stones’. There are two mountains here named Glyder – Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr.  ‘Fawr’ means ‘big’ and ‘fach’ means ‘small/little’. So Glyder Fach is ‘the small pile of stones’ but, I can assure you, it’s anything but that!

We offer a whole range of scrambling courses and guided scrambles in Snowdonia. These range from courses for the complete novice to those wanting to learn rope work skills for scrambling in the UK to mountaineering in the Alps.

Booking and Prices

If you’d like to know more about a scramble up the Dolmen Ridge on Glyder Fach, then see our main page for more details and prices or see what our clients say about us.

When you are ready, then get in touch to make an enquiry or a booking.

We also run scrambling courses in the Lake District and on the west coast of Scotland.

Routes up Glyder Fach

There are easy paths up Glyder Fach from Capel Curig, from Pen y Gwryd, and from the other peaks of the Glyderau. However, from the Ogwen Valley (north) side, imposing cliffs and ridges are the main options. There is an exception of one steep path from Bwlch Tryfan. This is one of the best areas for mountain scrambles in the whole of the UK.

Probably the easiest scramble/scrambly path goes up the Y Gribin ridge to the west of Llyn Bochlwyd. This is a Grade 1 scramble if you take the true rocky ridge, but many choose the shattered path to the right (looking up). Take care here though. The rock is broken and loose and a number of nasty accidents have happened.

The most well known scramble up the north side is undoubtedly Bristly Ridge.  Everyone should have it on their ‘to do list’ of Welsh scrambles. Bristly Ridge makes the perfect continuation to the North Ridge of Tryfan if you have the time and the fitness. The route goes from the gap between Tryfan and Glyder Fach up the left hand side of the main cliff face.

Main Cliff of Glyder Fach

However, the main cliff of Glyder Fach has numerous wonderful routes to the summit. You just need to have the knowledge and skills to tackle them. None of them are easy. You need good judgement even on those routes of a low technical grade. They are often in poor condition, with wet, slippery rock. There are multi-pitch rock climbs at a variety of grades on some of the lower buttresses. But best of all is the range of Grade 2-3 scrambles that lead from the base of the cliffs to the summit plateau.

The Dolmen Ridge, Glyder Fach

One of these is the Dolmen Ridge. Although there is excellent scrambling along the whole of the route, to my mind there are two unmissable highlights. There is an unmistakeable belay ledge high up on the Dolmen Buttress with an enormous drop below. This must be one of the best picnic spots in the whole country. The second follows immediately after this. It is the steep corner pitch which is the crux of the route. Easy climbing in the most dramatic of situations illustrate what good Grade 3 scrambling is all about.

After this, further short obstacles are relatively easy to surmount until the route ends abruptly on the summit plateau. You can expect to take groups of walkers by surprise. They will wonder where on earth you have just appeared from. From the plateau, the views over to Snowdon and the spectacular Castell y Gwynt are the additional reward for your efforts. Finally, the way down. The most usual descent is the scrappy path on the Y Gribin ridge and from there down to the Ogwen Valley road.