In summer, Crib Goch can be a busy, busy place. So what if you want to still climb it but want to avoid the crowds? What if you want to do the Snowdon Horseshoe but want mix things up a bit by covering some different ground?
Well my friend, the North Ridge is your answer, because although it's not climbed as much as the East Ridge and isn't on the normal route of the aforementioned Horseshoe, that doesn't make it any less beautiful or interesting to climb. It is still a Grade I scramble and an exposed one two and it also takes you through the tranquil and less visited Cwm Glas Mawr.
It is a wilder experience than the usual routes up the mountains, it's rocks are less polished and you will find loose rock in places. All in all, it's not only a great scramble in its own right but a whole new way of experiencing the much visited Snowdon.
The starting point for North Ridge is at Blaen-Nant (SH622569), just off the A4086 in the Pass of Llanberis. This is next-door to the better known Climbers' Club Hut at Ynys Ettws.
The Pass can be reached easily by road on the A4086, which runs between Llanberis (SH 582 598) and Capel Curig (SH 719 580). Parking may be found in one of the various laybys along the road, with the largest being just opposite the Cromlech Boulders (SH 628 567), which is around 3km up the Pass from Nant Peris (SH 605 584).
Owing to the popularity of Snowdon, the rock faces above the Cromlech Boulders (namely, Dinas Cromlech) and the boulders themselves, thee parking areas fill up quickly so an early start is usually required. Alternatively, in the summertime, an early evening start will do the same job.
Luckily for those without a car or who can't find parking, there are other options, namely the excellent park and ride that runs regularly all day (including weekends and bank holidays) from Nant Peris (SH 605 584). 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 and option.
Another option is to catch the bus from Llanberis (SH 582 598) and alight at the Cromlech Boulders. After climbing the North Ridge, traverse over Crib Goch's pinnacles to the summit of Snowdon and take the Llanberis Path back down to Llanberis.
From the parking space, which will probably be higher up the Pass than Ynys Ettws, walk down the road passing the aforementioned hut until you reach the entrance to Blaen-Nant (SH622569). Cross the bridge which leads to Blaen Nant and shortly after cross another smaller bridge over a stream on the right-hand side.
Follow a small path for 20m and then swing left and follow the the stream up the hillside. After about 150m you will reach a more obvious path and you should follow that. Further streams join the one you're following and you will have to do a lot of river hopping.
To your left you will see the valley side steepen and what seems to be a gully; this is your goal. Cross the stream and head for the gully, as you approach it you will see an obvious waterfall coming down some 100m to the left of it. This is your means of ascent.
You may take either the right or left hand side of this, although most guidebooks suggest that you stick to the left, effectively going in-between the gully and the waterfall.
This will bring you to a plateau from where you should be able to see the scree slopes of Crib Goch falling into the valley. Keep walking right and climb through scree until you reach the apex of the ridge.
It's scrambling from here on as you can follow the ridge to the summit. The sides of the ridge are quite broken so stick to its crest, which is exposed and where all the fun can be found. The scrambling is sustained but never challenging and never exceeds Grade 1 in difficulty.
The North Ridge ends abruptly when it joins the East Ridge (also Grade 1) near the summit of Crib Goch. You could use this as your descent, but most will choose the must better option of carrying over the pinnacles of Crib Goch to the summit of Snowdon itself.
|Most ascents are made during the spring and summer. The area is often cloudy and showers are frequent so full waterproofs are always essential no matter what the weather forecast. A good pare of boots, a map, a compass and a hat are also a necessity.
Most scrambles can be done with no more extra gear than one might carry for a hike, but for the harder routes, some may choose to carry a helmet, rope, harness and a small rack of slings, crabs and nuts.
When snow and ice are likely, an ice axe and crampons should be carried.
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