The rocky mountains immediately to the north of Snowdon are popular with the more adventurous walkers and hikers for good reason - the Glyderau are home to some of the most iconic ridges, scrambles and mountain scenery in the U.K. Tryfan, Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr, Y Garn and the nearby mountains are part of the famous "Welsh 3,000ers", a series of mountains all above 3,000ft above sea level, and tackled back to back by some as an epic mountain challenge.
Most of the peaks of the Glyderau are best accessed from the north via the Ogwen Valley, although a quieter route can be found from the cwm adjacent to Pen y Pass, or further down in the Llanberis Pass. The hills to the west of Y Garn are quieter but have a unique character, sitting high between the slate quarries of Llanberis and Bethesda on either side.
There are many ways to make up a circular walk or scramble from Ogwen Valley - but here are some of our personal favourites:
Tryfan (917m) cannot be missed as you drive along the A5 main road. It stands over the waters of Llyn Ogwen like a silent guardian, steep cliffs on the Western and Eastern faces but tempting ridges to the North and South. The North Ridge of Tryfan follows possibly the finest line, with a Grade 1 Scramble running virtually from the lakeside to the narrow summit.
This route takes you past the Cannonstone, and finishes under the twin pillars of Adam and Eve on the summit.
If you want to reach the summit of Tryfan without taking the exposed scramble of the North Ridge there is a second route for the adventurous walker - the Heather Terrace, followed by the easier South Ridge. This route does have sections of Grade 1 Scrambling, but the worst parts are avoidable and the route is a little more relaxed than the neighbouring North Ridge.
Glyder Fach (994m) is the slightly smaller of the two 'Glyders', the twin summits that make up the solid mass of rock to the south of Tryfan. The imposing spine of Bristly Ridge links the high pass of Bwlch Tryfan with the summit plateau, and a hidden route runs up through cracks and fissures to the top of the ridge. This is an exposed Grade 1 Scramble that requires a serious head for heights.
Glyder Fach itself can also be reached via the nearby Miners Track (a different path to the one on Snowdon that shares a name), and the summit is home to another iconic piece of geology - The Cantilever.
Glyder Fawr (1001m), the slightly taller of the pair, can be reached from Glyder Fach but a much more fun route is to sneak up from Cwm Bochlwyd via Y Gribin, a ridge that starts off as a broad sweep of rock and grass but becomes a narrow scramble as it approaches the triangular plateau between the summits of Glder Fach and Glyder Fawr.
Y Garn is several dozen metres shorter than either Glyder Fach or Glyder Fawr at 947m but is the best place to see the curve of the Glyderau range as it hovers above the narrow Ogwen Valley, and the exit towards the sea and the Menai Straits along the Nant Francon valley directly below. The summit sits above a steep drop to Llyn Clyd, but the best way to climb Y Garn is probably by picking your way through the boulders of Devil's Kitchen. This high cleft hangs over Cwm Idwal and looks inpenetrable from the valley floor - but a narrow gap leads to a flat area between Y Garn and Glyder Fawr.
This is a full day out to be savoured in the best of conditions - but if you have the time and the stamina it is well worth attempting. Most variations include an ascent of Tryfan and start somewhere in the Ogwen Valley, tackling Tryfan early on, steeply ascending to Glyder Fach before passing through the Tolkein-esque landscape of Castell y Gwynt and onwards to Glyder Fawr, Y Garn and back to the valley floor.
If you have your heart set on one of the above routes, or just want to climb Tryfan or any of the neighbouring mountains along a route that matches your experience level then we can help.