Crib Goch

5 July 2013

It was overcast as we left Selkirk, but we arrived in Snowdonia on a lovely evening, and set up camp at Gwern Gof Uchaf in the Ogwen valley, right below Tryfan’s north ridge.  A perfect evening for a stroll down to Llyn Ogwen.   Would the good weather hold?

Next morning was bright and sunny, so we decided to make the most of it and headed off to Pen-y-Pas to climb Crib Goch (“red ridge”).  Arriving at just before 9.15am, we were just in time to get the last parking space (at £10 for the day).  Five minutes later, and we would have had to park 2 km away at Pen-y-Gwrd.  I hate to think what it must be like on a Saturday!

And so, at 9.30am, we set off with many other walkers, up the well-built path (the “Pyg” Track) that leads to the summit of Snowdon.

setting off up the Pyg Track towards Crib Goch

setting off up the Pyg Track towards Crib Goch

From a 359m start, we climbed steadily up to the Bwlch y Moch (“pig’s pass”) at 569m, where the Crib Goch path splits off from the Pyg path.  Taking a deep breath, we set off towards the dramatic crags of Crib Goch’s east ridge towering above us.  Unlike the previous time, we could see clearly the terrain ahead, and could see small coloured dots moving slowly up towards the summit.

heading towards Crib Goch from Bwlch y Moch

heading towards Crib Goch from Bwlch y Moch

Initially, the path was clear, winding its way through rocky and grassy knolls to the foot of the rocky section.

just below the steepest section on Crib Goch

just below the steepest section on Crib Goch

Now the way ahead became less clear, and we watched for a while as groups ahead tried different routes, and made slow progress.  We selected a route that seemed promising, and scrambled carefully upwards.  After the initial steep section, the broken ground ahead became easier, although still rough and rocky all the way to the end of the ridge.

looking down to Llyn Llydaw from the top of the steepest section

looking down to Llyn Llydaw from the top of the steepest section

At 11.25, we reached the start of the ridge – a busy place! – and the dramatic view opened up.  To the left, Y Lliwedd towering over Llyn Llydaw.  Next, the main bulk of Yr Wyddfa.  Straight ahead, the knife-edged ridge leading to the actual summit of Crib Goch, and falling away dramatically on its right side.   And, to the right, the Pass of Llanberis.  Time to sit down and admire the view, have a bite to eat and drink, and contemplate the route ahead.

along the initial knife-edge ridge from summit of Crib Goch

along the initial knife-edge ridge to the summit of Crib Goch

By now, the route was becoming pretty crowded, and we set off with a group ahead of us and another behind.  Progress was slow, as there were no passing places!  Fortunately, everyone was heading the same direction.

along the ridge of Crib Goch, with Yr Wyddfa the dramatic backdrop

along the ridge of Crib Goch, with Yr Wyddfa the dramatic backdrop

To the left a steep rocky slope dropped towards the Pyg Track, some 250m below;  to the right, a sheer cliff fell 200m into Cwm Uchaf.  We teetered along the knife edge between these alternatives for a couple of hundred metres to the next top!

Anne makes her way along the ridge;  summit of Crib Goch behind

Anne makes her way along the ridge to the highest point

Beyond this, the ridge dropped down towards some pinnacles.

dropping down towards the pinnacles on Crib Goch

dropping down towards the pinnacles on Crib Goch

The big group had moved ahead of us and it wasn’t  clear how to cross the pinnacles – over or round?  However, we joined up with another couple, and found the route down and to the left of the first pinnacle to the top of a rocky gully, then up over the right hand side of the second pinnacle, with fearsome drops to the right.  The a smaller gap to scramble over the final pinnacle.

looking back at the pinnacles on Crib Goch

looking back at the first pinnacle and second pinnacles from the final one

Once over, we breathed a sigh of relief – we had negotiated the hardest part (we thought!).  An hour of exhilarating scrambling was behind us.  Looking ahead the ridge was green, with just a few small crags as it climbed up from Bwlch Coch (“red pass”) towards Cry y Ddysgl (Garnedd Ugain). Technically, Crib-y-Ddysgl (“the ridge of the dish”) is the east ridge of Garnedd Ugain (“mountain of twenty”), but the names are commonly used interchangeably.

the ridge to Crib y Ddrysgl

the ridge to Crib y Ddysgl

From the col, the views across to Yr Wyddfa were excellent.

looking across from Bwlch to Yr Wyddfa

looking across from Bwlch Coch to Yr Wyddfa

Those “few small crags” provided some final interesting scrambling, including  a steep climb up a gully with a chimney at the top, to reach the final part of the ridge.

looking back to Crib Goch from crags of Crib Y Ddrysgl

looking back to Crib Goch from crags on Crib Y Ddysgl

the final rock steps on Crib y Ddrysgl

the final rock steps on Crib y Ddysgl

We reached the top at 13.35, and found a fine spot with a view to sit and enjoy our lunch.

on Crib y Ddysgl, with Crib Goch in background

on Crib y Ddysgl, with Crib Goch in background

We could see the crowds trekking up the path to the summit of Snowdon, and decided that we had been there before, and didn’t really want to mingle with so many other people – Crib Goch had been quite busy enough! A visit to the new top station could wait until another time!

looking across to the Snowdon Mountain Railway from our lunch spot

looking across to the Snowdon Mountain Railway from our lunch spot

After a 20 minute lunch break, we wandered on down to the top of the Pyg Track.  We had seen some trains earlier, but sadly all noisy diesels, but decided to wait to watch the next one pass.  A good day became even better when a steam train appeared !

steam train approaching the col below the summit of Snowdon

steam train approaching the col below the summit of Snowdon

train crosses the main path, and continues up towards the summit station

train crosses the main path, and continues up towards the summit station

Now it was 1415, and time to descend – down the Pyg Track.

view from the top of the Pyg track, with Crib Goch on the left

view from the top of the Pyg track, with Crib Goch on the left

looking across Glaslyn and the Cribau ridge to Y Llewedd

looking across Glaslyn and the Cribau ridge to Y Llewedd

Although a good path all the way back down, it was a long and tiring tramp down hard rocky ground on tired legs after a hard first hill day of the summer!  An hour and a half took us back to the col where we had started the ascent to Crib Goch, and another 45 minutes back to the car park.

map of Snowdon horseshoe

map of Snowdon horseshoe

Summary:
10 km walk
750 m climb
7 hours

Log:

Pen-y-Pass (359m)
09:30
Bwlch y Moch (569m) 10:15
Crib Goch (923m) 11.25 – 11.40
Garnedd Ugain (1065m) 13:35 – 13:55
top of Pyg Path (998m)
14:15
Bwlch y Moch (569m) 15:45
Pen-y-Pass (359m) 16:30

(written and uploaded 02/01/14)

 

 

 

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One Response to Crib Goch

  1. Carol says:

    I’m the other way round about the trains – I like the diesels (although I hate diesel cars for their fumes) but am not fussed about the steam trains. I suppose it depends what you had in your youth – we had DMUs. We had steam engines briefy when I was a very small girl but they terrified me, belching hot steam everywhere and that glowing hell inside!

    It’s best to get the buses up to Pen-y-pass – cheaper, less bother, there’s around one an hour and it means you can descend any route you like and get the bus back again :-)

    Great photos of the ridge. I’ve approached a few times from Crib y Ddysgl but the pinnacles put me off each time!
    Carol.

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