Overview:-Y Garn is one of the 3000feet summits of Snowdonia National Park / Wales
Wales has many summits under the name of Y Garn. This out of all of them is the highest. The summit is part of the Glyderau Range with in the Snowdonia National Park. It stands out proud at the west end of the Ogwen valley when travelling west from Capel Curig and alongside the waters of Llyn Ogwen. When seen from this angle the mountain has the fantastic shape of an armchair. This summit does not really get the attention as the others in the Glyderau range. This is because it does not have the height of the adjoining Glyderau summits of Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr or the Scramble of the popular Tryfan summit's north ridge.
The thing is Y Garn has many routes and can be combined within complex scrambles and treks throughout the Glyderau range. One common route up with a great scramble is that of the Devils Kitchen.
The two ridges that come off the north face making what look like the arm rests are also steep and just as a warning under ice and heavy snow should be avoided unless properly prepared.
The easiest valley to ascend from is the Llanberis area as these routes have no real technical scrambles at all but to me they are bland routes. The best routes up are definately them from the Ogwen valley area itself and if the time of year is right many other summits can be combined into the one day.
Other summits that can be combined are as follows:-
Tryfan and the Glyders.
Foel Goch and Elider Fawr.
www.snowdoniaguide.com is a good web site
Y Garn route from www.snowdoniaguide.com
The Ogwen valley and the Glyders range of summits in general is a stunning area of summits and there are great corries created by the great glacier that carved its way out through via Nant Ffrancon. The Glyder range on there southern sides are easy and very bland when heading up from Llanberis and the Pen y Pass side when from the north side and the Ogwen Valley area the glacier action is clearly evident.
Local Geography Extract from www.ngfl-Cymru.org.uk
The glaciation of Cwm Idwal and the Nant Ffrancon valley was part of a much larger glaciation of Snowdonia and has been a complicated story much of the last 100,000years. As the main ice sheets melted individual glaciers were left primarily in the north facing valleys, often hanging over the Nant Ffrancon and other main valleys. During the last re-advance of the ice some 12,000years ago small cwms were carved into the mountain tops and larger cwms like Idwal held the advancing glaciers.
More information from this link www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk
Getting There:-From the midlands region as in Birmingham:-
The main A5 Road cuts its way through the North section of Wales and passes direct through Snowdonia. From the English side the first Welsh town on this A5 road is Llangollen then continue west on the A5 through the towns of Corwen, Betws y Coed then on to Capel Curig. Continue round the sharp right bend in Capel Curig village following signs for Bangor and Hollyhead. From Capel Curig you now enter the wilds of the Ogwen valley. Tryfan stands proud on the left and then Y Garn comes into view dominating the west end of the valley along with Foel Goch. After travelling alongside Llyn Ogwen there is plenty of parking throughout here.
From the northern region as in Lancashire, Liverpool and Manchester etc:-
This route brings you in from these regions via the M6, M56 and Chester.
From Chester take the A55 now a complete dual carraigeway along the North Welsh coast past the towns of Holywell/Treffynnon, St Asaph/Llanelwy, Abergele, Colwyn Bay/Bae Colwyn, Conwy then on to Bangor and take the A5 back in an east direction for Bethesda and up through Nant Ffrancon to the Ogwen Valley area for parking.
From South and Mid Wales region:-
Accessing from these areas is not difficult. The A470 is what I call the backbone road of Wales. This road is from Cardiff in the south to the A55 at Conwy in the north. If you are near this road then it is really the only route you can choose. The main let down on this road is the way it winds through Wales and not being dual carraigeway adds so much time on the journey. Using the A470 head for Betws y Coed and then take the A5 west for Capel Curig. Continue round the sharp right bend in Capel Curig village following signs for Bangor and Hollyhead. From Capel Curig you now enter the wilds of the Ogwen valley described in the access from the midlands region as in Birmingham.
Parking is primarily along the A5 road and its various layby's next to the waters of Llyn Ogwen. There are some small car parks which charge a pay and display. In one of these smaller car parks there is a tea and coffee hut for snacks and drinks.
Red Tape:-I have never had a problem concerning access within this region.
As mentioned in Nanuls Tryfan page.
No red tape at all, just park the car and walk. Although unlikely it is worth checking the countryside access map provided by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) regarding whether or not any restrictions on movement in the area are in place.
Mountain Conditions and When To Climb:-Anytime of the year.
Both my times up here recently have been late-summer / early-autumn and the weather luckily enough was nice.
The last time I faced up to snow and serious ice was when I was 15years old at my Shrewsbury boarding school. This was serious involving ice axe and crampons as the scrambling routes are difficult in these conditions.
Sadly even today I am not a real ice climbing person.
The Carneddau, Glyderau along with Tryfan and the Snowdon ranges are all clearly visible from here and in clear weather is a must to see.
The main area of difficulty under winter conditions is the scramble's through the Devils Kitchen route and the ridges that make the arm rests off the north side of Y Garn. These are very steep routes with rocks and debrit carved out by the glacial action with a large spectacular waterfall between them in the Devils Kitchen and a lake in between the arm rest ridges. If you are well trained and sensible when it comes to playing on the mountains then most weather conditions should not course you and your companions any problems. But to many times i have seen people up there in just T-Shirts and trainers and nout else...!
I recently saw a group of Liverpool lads with cans of beer up on Tryfan chucking there finished cans over the cliff. Dress sense as stated above.
And these sort of people need there heads testing.
Mountain Weather Wales:-
Mountain Weather for Wales via this LINK
Most other details covering the conditions are mentioned in my when to climb section above. Just be prepared, plan you route carefully, tell a contact such as your bed and breakfast where you are going and give detail of your route along with times of when to call them. Mobile phone network service is still patchy out there on the mountains especially down in the deep Cwm's so even a mobile phone is not 100% reliable.
Camping and Accomodation:-Camping throughout this area no limits especially at Capel Curig. If camping is not permitted in layby's or certain areas it is normally well signposted.
There are plenty of Bed and Breakfast's in this area at Betws y Coed and Bangor.
Some various external links that may be of use:-
UK Accommodation Index:-
General Google Search Page:-
Snowdonia B&B Google Search Page
This site has lots of information available:-
Youth Hostel YHA Home Page:-
YHA Home Page
Snowdonia National Park Authority:-
National Park Authority
Snowdonia Guide Home Page