The South Ridge of Tryfan

Key: mountainMountain over 914m   peakPeak over 600m   peakPeak under 600m  

Length: 7km   Height gain: 605m   Highest point: 915m   Approx time: 3.5 - 4 hours   gpx file

Tryfan is the closest mountain to the road as you are travelling down the A5 from Capel Curig to Bangor. The name translates to three stones. It also has the reputation of being the only mountain in Wales which cannot be climbed without the use of hands. This in itself explains that it is not an easy mountain, and the route described here is probably the simplest. The route covers rocky ground which may be slippery when wet, thus meaning extra care is needed. Also the description will be fairly vague so you will need to be able to pick your route over rocky ground to the summit.

Begin from Llyn Ogwen (There is free parking in the laybys alongside the lake) and then walk down to Idwal Cottage. Take the path which leads up to Llyn Idwal, however when you reach a sharp bend which goes right to the lake you will continue straight on. A path up by a waterfall can be seen ahead, and it is this which you will follow until you reach a lake called Llyn Bochlwyd. This is sometimes known as lake Australia, since its shape when seen from above resembles that of Australia. From here there are good views of the Glyderau and Y Garn (particularly spectacular in snow).

We will continue along the well defined path which will lead up to a wall with a ladder style over it. This is at Bwlch Tryfan. To the right is the Bristly Ridge which is a grade 1 scramble on to the Glyderau. Do not cross the style but follow the wall low the wall to the left. The path will reach a point where it begins to head down slightly. If you want a challenging route you can head up to the right where a route can be made up round the Far South Peak. The easier route to follow carries on descending slightly before going up to the right (North) on a scree like slope. This will soon turn to more rocky ground which continues past the Far South Peak to the summit. On the ascent you should notice a ladder style over a wall just past the Far South Peak. This marks the point where you should descend.

When you reach the summit you will see two standing stones (Adam on the left and Eve on the right). There is a challenge for those with a steady head to step from one to the other. Again take care if you attempt this since there is a substantial drop on the far side. Views are across to the Carneddau where the Whale Back can be clearly seen (so called because of its shape) and back to the Glyderau.

Make your way back to the ladder style just before the Far South Peak. Cross it and descend a steep scree slope to Heather Terrace. Turn left along the terrace, but take care not to turn off too soon (it is very easy to do!) If you do you will run into difficulties and will need to cut down further till you reach the terrace. As you proceed along you may see some rock climbers on the cliffs of Tryfan to the left. You will find that the path eventually goes off to the East, and here I recommend cutting off and following a slope down to Tryfan Bach where there is quite a lot of rock climbing practice. Make your way down to the A5 and then back to your transport.

Back to y Glyderau

The GO Guide to Snowdonia