Crib Goch is one of the finest ridge scrambles in the UK. It is popular but shouldn't be taken lightly since it has some difficult sections and some very exposed terrain on which even experienced scramblers can struggle. It is best saved for perfect conditions when it is dry and the winds are light. The two hardest sections are the start up the East Ridge of Crib Goch and the first step on Crib y Ddysgl. From Pen y Pass, head to the top right corner of the carpark to where The PYG Track starts. Follow this up across some rocky steps and through boulders before it starts to curve back round to the right towards a steepening. This steepening starts as a flight of rock steps and soon turns back to a rocky path that ascends to Bwlch y Moch. From here leave the main track and follow the path signed 'Crib Goch'. Follow this up a rounded rib passing some rocky steps to reach the base of the East Ridge of Crib Goch.1) This marks a clear transition from walking to rocky scrambling. On the left side of the base of the East Ridge is a short wall and some flakes. Climb these to pass the initial wall and head right to below another step. See photo right. 2) A gully in the middle of this leads to another terrace with a wall above. 3) The smooth corner on the right is the most popular option for this next step. After this the ridge opens out and it is a case of following your nose up the exposed and open rib. The best thing is to stick to the crest where you get the best exposure and a few smaller, easier but exposed steps.4) Fairly quickly you reach a small bay between the East and North Ridges of Crib Goch, just below the start of the impressive crest of the knife-edge ridge. 5) Traversing the exposed crest of the ridge is not as hard as what you have done, but it is extremely exposed and inescapable. A fall from here would be very serious so take your time and don't slip. Most people use the crest as a handrail. The true summit comes a little after a quartz band.6) From the summit, stick more to the left side of the ridge and descend below the first and second pinnacle towards a tight col (the pinnacle's are possible but usually avoided).7) At the narrow saddle between the second and third pinnacle, move round to the right side of the ridge where a wildly exposed rising gangway leads over the pinnacle and then down more easily to the other side to Bwlch Coch.Descent into Cwm Uchaf - This is the first point on the ridge where you can escape if you are finding the going too tough, or the weather is changing. The descent right into Cwm Uchaf is the easiest (overview p.104).8) Continue along the ridge and the path levels out and becomes much easier until you reach the first tower that guards access to Crib y Ddysgl. Don't be tempted to head left and try to avoid the next section since that will lead to difficulties. (See inset topo on opposite page).9) Climb up and head right along a break to gain the very edge of the tower with views down into Cwm Uchaf. Now follow a hidden ramp up to a notch. Head through this then traverse left to below a bay and climb the steep juggy corner on good holds to the top of the tower.10) Head along the ridge to gain the base of another exposed rocky knife-edge ridge section. The best way is to stick close to the crest mainly on its right-hand side and head up past some interesting rock polygon formations, similar to the Giant's Causeway. This section can be avoided on the right at a similar difficulty level on looser ground, but with slightly more shelter should the wind have picked up.11) A large cairn marks the end of this section and the junction with the top of The Parson's Nose coming in from the right. If you are reversing this route, take care not to follow the ridge down to The Parson's Nose since that is definitely not a descent route.12) From here the ridge continues much more easily and you soon reach the summit of Garnedd Ugain which has a commanding view of Snowdon and the surrounding area. It is often preferable to eat your lunch here since the summit of Snowdon is likely to be busy with crowds that can number in the hundreds around the summit.13) Descend to the Llanberis Path and follow this left to the summit of Snowdon. Descent - Descend The PYG Track or The Miner's Track or The Llanberis Path if you caught a taxi to Pen y Pass. © Rockfax
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The Ridges of England, Wales and Ireland
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Grade: Grade-1 ***
(Llech Ddu (Black Slab))
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