Conveniently, the start of the route is located quite close to the A5 meaning that there isn't a long approach to the bottom of the mountain.
If approaching from the north or west, e.g. from Liverpool or Hollyhead, turn off the A55 and onto the A5 at the large junction (SH 593 694) that sign posts for Bethesda and follow the road until Llyn Ogwen where parking is available.
If coming from the east, take the A5 through Bettws y Coed (SH798 599) and Capel Curig (SH 719 580) which will take you directly to the base of the mountain.
If driving from the south, take the A470 through Blaenau Ffestiniog (SH 700 458) to Bettws y Coed, and turn off onto the A5 towards Bethesda which will take you the same way as if coming from the east.
There is plenty of parking along the A5 near Tryfan, some of which you have to pay for, some of which you don't. My advice is to never bother with the official car parks and just park along the roadside. There is a wide 'pavement' type verge on the southern side of the road that can easily accommodate the width of a car or minibus, and is completely free and never full (even on bank holidays). It also allows you to park even closer to the base of the mountain and the start of the path.
Route DescriptionThe Approach
The approach can start anywhere along the A5, however for the sake of clarity I shall use Idwal Cottage (SH 649 604) as the starting point. The route takes the path around the rear of the toilet block and then after a few metres forks left, and crosses a stile and a footbridge onto a stone track. The route diverges from the path where is curves around to the right towards Cwm Idwal. It ascends leftwards over marshy terrain and joins a steep path on the west bank of a stream to Llyn Bochlwyd. The route crosses the stream overflow and follows the path to Bwlch Tryfan.
To begin with the route follows the stone wall to the base of the ridge. From the foot of the lowest crags it goes 10m right and ascends a short gully, existing left over another wall to the foot of the imposing sinister gully. Some careful scrambling is required here detouring onto the left wall where it steepens and then escaped onto easier ground. There is quite a lot of loose rock in the gullies and care is needed in order to avoid dropping large stones on anyone climbing below you.
The route continues up a slabby shoulder and onto an increasingly narrow ridge, goes over a small pinnacle followed by a second lager one and then descends into the prominent notch of Great Pinnacle Gap. It then escapes up a short wall just right of the slender Great Pinnacle (stop and get a picture of yourself on the pinnacle, the exposure is awesome), and then passes through a gap between a small pinnacle and the main body of the ridge to reach easier ground. An elevated boulder pavement leads onto the summit plateau.
The route then goes south-west to join the normal route up Glyder Fach and follows a path to the summit tor.
Essential GearDuring the summer you will need all the equipment you would normally use on a Grade 1 scramble i.e. a good pair of boots and full waterproofs. A rope and helmet may be required for the inexperienced or those without a head for heights.
If your lucky enough to climb this route in winter conditions then and two ice tools, crampons, a helmet, a rope and a winter rack are all essential.
GuidebooksSnowdonia (Official National Park Guide) by Merfyn Williams
The Mountains of England and Wales: Volume 1 Wales (Cicerone Guide) by John and Anne Nuttall
Hillwalking in Wales Vol 1 (Cicerone Guide) by Peter Hermon
Hillwalking in Wales Vol 2(Cicerone Guide) by Peter Hermon
Hillwalking in Snowdonia (Cicerone Guide) by Steve Ashton
Ridges of Snowdonia (Cicerone Guide) by Steve Ashton
Scrambles in Snowdonia (Cicerone Guide) by Steve Ashton
Climbers Club guidebook for Wales: Ogwen and the Carneddau
Rock Climbing in Snowdonia
The Long Routes: Mountaineering Rock Climbs in Snowdonia and the Lake District
Welsh Winter Climbs (Cicerone Guide) by Malcolm Campbell and Andy Newton
Snowdonia National Park Authority
Gwynedd County Council
Local Information from Gwynedd.com
Local Information from Snowdonia Wales Net
North Wales Index
Countryside Council for Wales
The National Trust
Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales
Gwynedd Archeological Trust
British Mountaineering Council
The Climbers Club
Mountain Weather Wales
Weather from the Met Office
Weather Channel UK
Welsh Public Transport Information
Uk Train Timetable
Welsh Highland Railway
Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Pyn y Pass YHA
Capel Curig YHA
Plas y Brenin
Gwern Gof Uchaf Campsite
Gwern Gôf Isaf Campsite and bunkhouse
Garth Farm Campsite
Dolgam Campsite and B&B Capel Curig
Maps and Guidebooks
Harvey Map Services
Climbers Club Guidebooks