Pinnacle Ridge is another classic Welsh scramble offering short but challenging scrambling and of course, stunning views of the valley below.
This route is perfect for those with limited time or for completing at the end of the day if you still have energy left in the tank. Some will continue up to Pen yr Ole Wen to make a day out of it, but most will head back down to the A5.
This is a serious route and climbing parties often use rope up here.
Everything you need to know about this grade 2 line can be found in this article and also in my video published in August 2022.
In a hurry?
Watch my video and use the chapters to skip to the relevant sections if you wish:
Approach – How to Get to Pinnacle Ridge
My parking map displays over 250 spaces, many of them in laybys and free car parks along the A5. Go check it out if you’ve never visited the area before but be warned, this is a popular mountain range, and parking can be problematic on busy weekends but it’s always quieter than on the Snowdon range.
The approach to Pinnacle Ridge takes between 20-30mins and it’s easy to find, although there are lots of loose stones and heather to navigate.
From Ogwen Cottage, cross the road and head towards the bridge where the stream flows underneath.
Jump over the low-level gate and check out the water flowing under the bridge, it’s a beautiful scene and hard to believe that this is all under the busy A5 road.
From here, there are two well-worn paths, choose the one that runs parallel to the A5. There is a short scramble to reach a grassy plateau and from here the path rises above the A5, the two pinnacles should soon come into view.
Gaining the Ridge
There are two ways to gain the ridge; the climber’s route which is just below the grassy ramp – you’ll need rope on this line. Or, take the grassy ramp and scramble up behind the block below the first pinnacle:
The scramble from the block to the first pinnacle does involve one steep section at grade 2 but there are plenty of holds.
Traversing the Pinnacles
Once you gained the block below the first pinnacle, the line should become clear.
The most obvious choice is to take the right side of the first pinnacle, scramble up to the second one and traverse that on the right side too:
Roped climbers usually pass the second pinnacle on the left and if you look closely when you are up there, there is a step-down, but there’s plenty of exposure and those without a rope may wish to take the right side of the pinnacle as shown above.
Once completed, there’s space for a rest at the top:
Once you’ve completed this grade 2 scramble, you have a few options:
- Continue up to Pen yr Ole Wen.
- Go down the path to the right of the ridge and head down to the A5.
- Go down the path and do it again :-).
Bailing Out/Escape Route
So you find yourself up on one of the pinnacles and you don’t like it, and you wish to get down as safely as you can, what do you do?
It is possible to reverse the route but there are two notable hazards:
- The step down from the flat block just underneath the first pinnacle.
- Correctly gaining the grassy ramp off the ridge and not scrambling too far down the ridgeline and ending up on the climber’s route below it (see photo above under “gaining the ridge”).
Pinnacle Ridge Route Profile and More Info
Scrambling Grade: Grade 2.
Navigation: Easy once you’ve found the correct path from the bridge/stream.
Dangers: Loose rocks and unstable heather on the approach. The initial scramble up to the flat block below the first pinnacle is also at grade 2. The steep drops and exposure around the pinnacles, especially the second one.
Approach Time: 20-30 mins.
Ascent Time: 10-15 mins unroped.
Popularity: Climbing instructors often bring their students to Pinnacle Ridge so you may need to wait until they have cleared the ridge.
Fun Rating: 8/10.
My Dislikes: It’s a very short route and over too quickly.
Kit List: I was wearing La Sportiva TX4 Mid Boots on this scramble. My full kit list is here.
Similar Routes in Snowdonia: Crib Goch.
Pinnacle Ridge is a delightful but short route and well worth the grade 2 rating.
The short approach will attract many and it makes for a good introduction to grade 2 scrambling.
I initially found this route in a guidebook called “Scrambles in Snowdonia” by Steve Ashton. It was first published back in 1980 but has been updated several times since, most recently in 2017.
If you want a guidebook to take with you on scrambles, this compact book is the best.
Recommended Guide Book:
Scrambles in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton (#ad)
About Daniel Woodley
This description of Pinnacle Ridge was created by Daniel Woodley, aka The Bald Scrambler.
From walking along beaches and kayaking down rivers to making his way up mountains and even jumping out of planes, Daniel has a love of the outdoors but scrambling is his real passion.
Daniel Woodley aka The Bald Scrambler