There are a few to choose from.
Which do you like best and why?
Which has the widest range of routes and locations?
What should I spend my hard earned pocket money on?
I have a vested interest but we reckon this is the best - https://rockfax.com/climbing-guides/books/snowdonia-mountain-walks-and-scrambles/
It certainly has the most scrambles and walks covered.
Free sample here - https://rockfax.com/wp-content/uploads/intros/Snowdonia-preview.pdf
My favourite is North Wales Scrambles by Garry Smith. It has all the info you need, as well as being a delightful little book, a thing of beauty.
For something that is purely a scrambling guide, I would suggest Garry Smith’s is best. It is very clear and easy to follow. I don’t find Steve Ashton’s guide very clear at all.
But I would also recommend the new guide by Mark Reeves. It’s comprehensive and has easy rock routes and walks in it as well as scrambles. Therefore, it’ll serve you well for when you are feeling ambitious or when the weather is bad and you fancy a decent mountain walk instead. It’s also very clear and easy to follow.
smith’s scrambling guide is smaller and easier to carry in a pocket, whereas Reeves is in A5 format (I think) and won’t fit in a normal sized pocket. But I tend to photograph the pages I need, so have them on my phone. The guide can then stay in the pack for those moments when you realise you’ve strayed so far off route that you need to take stock again and that you should have paid closer attention to the guidebook.
I'd say Smith's is more user friendly than Ashton's Scrambles in Snowdonia...haven't tried the Rockfax
The Stevie Ashton one is a rite of passage book, if you haven’t struggled your way up Bilberry Terrace with it, then are you really even scrambling?!
Ashton all the way, especially now an updated version has been released. Original and best? It's so well written it even makes for entertaining reading at home. The Garry Smith one has some great photos, but is essentially the same Ashton routes, plus downgrading some climbs to scrambles and adding them.
Of course, if you want something a little different then I could do a shameless plug:
Both GS and SA books are fine and small enough not to burden you. The Ashton will be cheaper. The Rockfax looks grand for reading in the loo but do you want to carry 74 pages of introductory material up the hill?
For consistent quality nice photos and pocket size GS is great. I’ve ticked all bar one and there is nothing not worth doing in it.
The ‘Steve Ashton book of death’ has some more esoteric content but is more comprehensive. Marks new offering looks great but is maybe a bit bulky to lug around.
I lament the drift towards A5 grumble grumble FRCC......
I have acknowledged my bias but I feel that Mark Reeves' wonderful book isn't getting well reflected here and, more importantly, I suspect I may be one of the only people commenting on this thread who has actually seen it.
Snowdonia Mountain Walks and Scrambles is A5, hence bigger than the other books, around 150g heavier, although it is pretty small by Rockfax standards. For that extra 150g, you get 65 walks, 86 scrambles, 22 rock climbs, 41 winter routes, 16 pages of logistics and gear, 30 pages of skills and 14 pages of environment. In comparison, Garry's book has 50 scrambles and Ashton has 80 scrambles.
So there is certainly more included if you want it, for about the weight of a quickdraw.
It’s a lovely book. Nice to leaf through at home, full of detail with some quality topos and photos.
Personally I’d take a photo of the appropriate pages to take on the hill, as I do with most books.
Your book looks really interesting Mike, I haven't seen it before. Is there a list of the included routes anywhere online?
It only came out a month or so ago. You can see some of the contents here on Twitter:
There's another page that covers a handful of routes in the Moelwynion, Coed y Brenin, Cadair, etc, but not so many. Happy to send a screenshot. Just email me if so.
There's also more photos on Twitter under this hastag:
The updated Ashton is my preferred. The slight changes of naming in the others can be confusing.
Example: I climbed Nor Nor Buttress Variant (Ashton naming) yesterday. A couple came along as I was about to start. They were also looking for a scramble on Nor Nor but were under the impression that that were two different ones - 'Nor Nor Buttress' and 'Nor Nor Buttress Variant'...
Why did Smith confuse things by giving his description of the same route a different name? (Reeves sticks to 'Variant'). There are even two entries on UKC, each with around 100 entries, amusingly with different grades, but of course they are the same route.
I sort of like the smith book but I wish he has stuck to Ashton's naming.
Or would that be plagiarism?
> The updated Ashton is my preferred. The slight changes of naming in the others can be confusing.
Funny you mention that, because I thought the same when I first bought it. Ashton's NW Face of Glyder Fawr became Idwal Buttress (or something) in the Smith book. I just checked the logbooks and both routes are also listed. Yet exactly the same I think.
It seems needlessly confusing.
> Will to be available on the app?
All the scrambles and climbs are already on it. We couldn't find an easy way to include the walks.
Excellent thanks. I looked earlier and could only see a select few Scottish ones so will look again.
> Excellent thanks. I looked earlier and could only see a select few Scottish ones so will look again.
It is in the North Wales section folded into the climbs.
I have got the original, which I have had since it was published. How is the updated version different? Route descriptions edited, grade changes, new routes added? I like Steve Ashton's writing style, always somewhat tongue in cheek.
I think all the routes were re-checked and descriptions updated. Some of the more esoteric routes were deleted and moved online (Pennant Rib, Western Arete, etc) and a few were added in other areas (e.g. Rhinog Fach S Ridge). There are new photos and topos, so no more scrabbling around wondering if you really have found Tregalan Couloir or not...
Info is here:
Thanks. It looks like a significant update. However, I'll never know if the Embryo Ridge on Moel Siabod was the one I actually climbed now it's disappeared from the guide! Now it's got decent photos and topos I'll have to check and see which routes I need to revisit and climb the actual route.
I remember Bryant's Gully being particularly challenging clambering over slime covered rock and negotiating a waterfall.
Alan, the Rockfax will, undoubtedly be excellent. It's on my birthday list. However, it's a new book and it's up against the definitive text (Ashton) and a well loved personal take on the definitive. Don't take offence!
I've gone from hill walker to scrambler using Garry Smith's "North Wales Scrambles" book. And as a solo walker, so I am a solo scrambler − I bought it after doing the Snowdon and Bochlwyd horseshoes, and have systematically worked through the book − at all times I've found GS's descriptions and gradings to be spot on. I also prefer how it's written!
At some point I added the updated Cicerone guidebook but I haven't gelled with it; some descriptions have left me scratching my head and it often skips/misses great pieces of climbing − I definitely prefer GS's routes and disagree with some of the Cicerone's gradings: Maybe Tower Rib now a 3?
Cicerone's "Scrambles in Snowdonia" is the definitive guide I guess, whereas GS just includes the worthwhile stuff (handy if you're starting out, and/or wanting to maximise your time in Snowdonia!). I like that the Cicerone lists all the scrambles in order of difficulty, but again I don't agree with the order. The Mark Reeves book looks interesting, I'll certainly take a look if I see it in a shop, but Garry Smith's "North Wales Scrambles" has never steered me wrong; if you're soloing and exploring new routes, that's an admirable trait that the Cicerone book doesn't quite share*.
*N.B. for me! It just hasn't earned my trust yet :-D
P.S. Garry Smith I think... *stresses* "I think," introduced the notion of + and - gradings. The updated Cicerone has followed suit and it's genuinely useful to have!
Embryo Ridge is obvious, in an vague sort of way. It's the line to the right of Embryo Gully on the far right of the summit crags as you look from Llyn y Foel. In this photo it's the broad ridge casting the shadow:
But Embryo Ridge never made it to the 2nd edition of Ashton (the new, updated version is the 3rd). The mentions of it from the 1st edition were removed, along with Glyder Fawr South Spur, Gallt yr Ogof, Nameless Rib, and Mynydd Mawr Central Rake. I thought Embryo Ridge, South Spur, and Nameless Rib were all interesting enough to connoisseurs of the esoteric, so I put them into my book. Certainly Embryo Ridge gives the opportunity for another way up Siabod from Llyn y Foel, and that isn't to be sniffed at.
> P.S. Garry Smith I think... *stresses* "I think," introduced the notion of + and - gradings. The updated Cicerone has followed suit and it's genuinely useful to have!
Isn't this mostly just a cosmetic difference? Ashton used grades of 1, 1/2, 2, 2/3, 3 which served the same purpose? But yes, interesting that the 3rd Scrambles in Snowdonia adopted the + and - too.
I've gone with Smith. At the current rate of adventure I'll need to upgrade to another book in 2050
Thanks for that. I am fairly sure we climbed the buttress to the left. However, that was in the early 1980's. Siabod is one of my favourites for an overnight camp on the summit. Next time I am up there I'll go up Embryo Ridge.
I have got your book, so I'll look in there.
Carl McKeating said that it was to remove all ambiguity regards which line of the divide the scramble lay; it’s subtle I grant you that, but when starting out and exploring a new scramble solo… I much preferred reading 2+ versus 2/3, the latter leaving me to ponder whether it was more 2 or 3.
Having both 2+ and 3- helped me work up through the grades confidently, but the differences are (in hindsight) so slight that it probably is just a confidence thing. I’ve stayed away from 3S, new to the third edition; the idea of pitching a scramble is anathema to me so they’re a touch risky. Smith’s 3+ are a mixed bag though e.g. Chasm Face Route? An easy 3 for me, but that’s why his descriptions are so valuable − if I read “delicate” or “slabby,” I move on :-D
The Steve Ashton book is on scrib'd which always has a decent sized sample and a free month of membership so a good chance to try it out before committing to buying the hard copy.