Confusingly, Wales is home to a lot of Cribins, which simply means ridge, so before this page goes any further I think it would be best to clarify which Cribin this is. To be clear, this Cribin is the one that sits between Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach, separating the glacial cwms of Cwm Idwal and Cwm Bochlwyd from one another.
Although the ridge sits among some of the most spectacular scenery in Snowdonia, it’s not as popular as some of its similar neighbours. This is not a reflection on its quality, but simply points to the vast wealth of quality routes this area holds. Where Y Gribin perhaps falters, is that firstly, unlike Tryfan’s North Ridge or Glyder Fach’s Bristly Ridge, it does not end at a summit, and secondly, its difficulties are much less sustained. These difficulties are largely confined to its upper reaches, and while never excessive they are always enjoyable. In summer the route is a straightforward but exposed Grade 1 scramble, while under a covering of snow and ice it’s transformed into a Grade II winter climb with a very Alpine feel. Most will know the route as the final part of the Bochlwyd Horseshoe, but it is also works well in combination with any number of other routes in the area, and in winter it makes the perfect finale for a day pent in the icy haven of Cwm Cneifion. Just be sure you have a head for heights!
Conveniently the mountain is located very close to the A5 meaning that there isn't a long approach to the bottom of the route.
The ridge is best accessed from Llyn Bochlwyd (SH 654 593), which is the ‘Australia’ shaped lake between Tryfan (SH 664 594) and Y Gribin (SH 650 585). This can be accessed from either Ogwen Cottage (SH 648 603) or from the roadside near Tryfan. My recommendation would be to choose the first option since the route from the cottage is much better defined. Park in the cottage car park (which you will need to pay for) or alongside the road.
Take the path from the Cottage towards Llyn Idwal (SH 645 595) but soon after crossing the first bridge, leave this path and take a left towards Tryfan. This path will take you past Clogwyn y Tarw, also known as the Gribin Facet (SH 649 596), on your right hand side and along a winding course to the shores of Llyn Bochlwyd (SH 654 593). If there’s a lot of snow on the ground or visibility is poor (or both!), finding the right path may prove difficult, so make sure your map and compass skills are well up to scratch before setting out. Once at the lake, bear right and follow the crest of the moraine to the ridge which is quite broad at its base. Your route starts here (SH 651 594).
The key to this route is to keep left, because this is where you’ll find the greatest interest and difficulty. If at any point however, you feel like things are a bit too much, you can drop down to the right hand side where progress is easier and less exposed. Begin by following the broad ridge on its left hand side passing through and around the various rocky outcrops along the way. After a little while the ridge will broaden out into a small plateau, which is about the size of a football pitch (SH 650 587). If you stray too far right you will be bought to the top of the Cneifion Arête so keep left and after a short climb you will come to the meat of the ridge. This is where things get really interesting as Y Gribin narrows to a rocky knife edge. Route choice from here is simple, with the best climbing found on the crest. Follow this to the top. Once the end of the route is reached you will be presented with the choice of continuing on to either Glyder Fawr (SH 642 579) or Glyder Fach (SH 657 582), whichever you choose you won’t go far wrong if you just stick fairly closely to the rim of either Cwm Bochlwyd (SH 654 593) or Cwm Cneifion (SH 647 582).
In summer, all you will need is a good pair of boots and waterproofs. In winter, providing conditions are favourable, most will not feel the need to use anything more than a single axe and crampons. However, this route has bags of exposure, so if the weather's a bit on the rough side or the party's a nervous one it would be best to rope up and place a few runners.
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