The Cwm Glas routes are the quietest of Snowdon's walking routes and are subsequently the most pleasant. There are two starting points, one at Pen y Pass the other at Ynys Ettws, the latter of which is the shortest. The routes are special because they take the walker around the lesser-seen parts of Snowdon; the views of Crib Goch and Clogwyn y Person from the Cwm Glas Mawr are truly spectacular. The fact that this part of the mountain is so quiet means that it offers a truly unique experience.
The starting point for the first Cwm Glas Route is the Pen y Pass car park (SH 647 555) at the zenith of LLanberis Pass, which can be reached easily by road on the A4086 that runs between Llanberis (SH 582 598) and Capel Curig (SH 719 580).
Owing to the popularity and number of the routes that start here,the Pen y Pass car park often fills up quickly so if you want to park there a very early start is recommended. Luckily there are other options, the first of these is an excellent park and ride which runs regularly all day (including weekends and bank holidays) from Nant Perris (SH 607 582). The second option is the
Snowdon Sherpabus service which has various stops around the mountain and runs from Llanberis, Bettws y Coed, Caernarfon, Beddgelert, Bethesda and Porthmadog. Be sure to check timetables first as you don't want to end up missing the last bus and find yourself stuck, of course in these situations hitching is always an option.
The second route starts at Ynys Ettws (SH 622 568) which is around halfway up the Pass of Llanberis. There is some parking on the roadside and the Snowdon Sherpa also stops there.
The first route (red, see map, approx. 6km) starts at Pen y Pass (SH 647 555) and follows the same path as the Snowdon Horseshoe and PYG Track, but deviates from them at Bwlch y Moch (SH 628 552) where it takes a rather indistinct path, marked by a small cairn and contours around the eastern margins of Crib Goch. The route hugs the base of North Ridge and passes through a shallow col (SH 624 559) between the knoll that caps Dinas Mot (SH 624 562). Its best not to drop any height and aim for a notch in the North Ridge well above Dinas Mot. If you drop down into Dinas Mot there is a very steep and awkward climb back up which crosses a waterfall and can be dangerous when if full flow.
From the North Ridge the path is partially lined with cairns and follows the shape of Cwm Uchaf around the base of Crib Goch's pinnacles and Crib y Ddysgl towards the base of the Clogwyn y Person Arête (SH 616 556). The path follows the base of the Arête around to its western side where it reaches the pond of Llyn Bach (SH 615 555). From here the route ascends the east facing part of the Llanberis Ridge (which the Snowdon Mountain Railway runs up) and takes the grassy slope between a scree gully on the left and steep cliffs on the right. After a short and easy scramble at the beginning of the slope the route turns back into a path taking the walker onto the ridge just above the Clogwyn Station (SH 607 561). From here the path joins the Llanberis Path and travels south to Snowdon's summit.
The second route (violet, see map, approx 5km) is more physically strenuous forcing the walker to ascend over 2,000 feet over a very short distance. The extra effort is definitely worthwhile as the atmosphere of being enclosed in the cwm, with Crib Goch ridge demonstrably on the skyline. The route starts at a small bridge over the Afon Nant Peris near Blaen-y-Nant (SH 622 568). After crossing the bridge and going over a stile, the path crosses another small bridge (made of railway sleepers), and sharply turns to the left and follows a rather indistinct path up the right bank of the stream. It then heads through a gap between Craig y Rhaeadr on the left and the rockface of Gyrn Las on the right, the route from here is wither directly but steeply up the left side of the stream, or by the slightly easier route through a shallow gully further to the left. Both routes are steep and travel over loose rock. By crossing two other streams and scrambling up a short bank the path reaches Llyn Bach where it joins the first path and ascends the Llanberis Ridge.
Just a good pair of boots, waterproofs and some lunch. If walking in winter make sure you also carry an ice axe and crampons.
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Snowdonia (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
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