Main and East Gullies provide scramblers with an alternative route up to the summit of Glyder Fach and if you’ve traversed Bristly Ridge before, consider one of these slightly more difficult lines.
At grade 1+, these two gullies are a step up from most of the more popular routes up to the summit and they can also be used to access other, more challenging scrambles such as Main/East Gully Ridges.
Welcome to my guide to East and Main Gullies on Glyder Fach.
In a hurry?
Watch my video and use the chapters to skip to the relevant sections if you wish:
Approach – How to Get to Main and East Gullies
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.
Main and East Gullies can be found on the north side of Glyder Fach and the easiest way to reach the start of the scramble is to take the path behind Ogwen Cottage and up to Llyn Bochlywd. At the lake, leave the tourist track and take the faint grassy path through the scree at the foot of the mountain face, next to the “A” shaped rock, known as Alphabet Slab.
The map and images below may help:
Imagery © 2023 Google, Airbus, Bluesky, Infoterra, COWI, Cnes/Airbus, Getmapping PLC, Landset, Maxar Technologies
Main Gully is reached via a line left of Alphabet Slab:
East Gully is reached by traversing a line to the right of Alphabet Slab:
Part 1: Main Gully
Main Gully is typical of gullies at this grade apart from a troublesome chockstone which few overcome gracefully.
Grass and loose rock are present but are of little concern in this gully, and the ground dries fairly quickly after rain compared to most other north-facing gullies.
At Alphabet Slab, take a left line into a wide, rocky depression that narrows at its neck.
Follow the line into the gully and make your way over solid rocks and a few minor obstacles to the crux of the route; the chockstone, which is more of a prow, but either way, you’ll have fun pulling yourself over it.
Use upper arm strength and brute force or face left and attempt to overcome it with grace.
At the top of the gully, you have several options:
- Head straight up the obvious, wide gully to the summit (boring).
- Take a left to the section above the Chasm Face, over or around some scrambly rocks and up to the summit (most popular route)
- Head right and descend into East Gully (to make the most out of the area).
Part 2: East Gully
Many scramblers descend into East Gully so they can reach the starting point of several routes nearby:
- Main Gully (grade 1+).
- The Chasm Face (grade 3).
- Main Gully Ridge (grade 2).
- East Gully Ridge (grade 3).
If you descend into this gully, take care you don’t go too far and end up on the steep cliffs below (severe climbing grade requiring ropes, marked with a red X in the image below).
Instead, take a line parallel with the top of Alphabet Slab:
How to get to and from East Gully
As for East Gully itself, the first section is the most dramatic and offers a great photo opportunity:
Just above the first capstone.
The first capstone is breached by scrambling up underneath it and passing from the right.
I then took a left line that offered some decent scrambling which then snaked to the right, passing the second capstone.
The upper reaches of the gully were full of loose scree and the line then merges with the top of Main Gully.
Of note is the moss and lichen in East Gully, which isn’t an issue on a dry day but could prove slippery when moist.
There are several routes nearby worth exploring but to reach the summit of Glyder Fach, take a left line at the top of the two gullies for about 20 metres to the top of the Chasm Face route and then head upwards to the summit, either scrambling over or avoiding the rocks nearby.
I then descended from Glyder Fach via Bristly Ridge (a long grade 1 scramble) but prior knowledge of this route is best before you try to descend it.
Route Profile and More Info
Scrambling Grade: Both Main and East Gullies are grade 1+ scrambles.
Navigation: Take a faint path from Llyn Bocklywd to the foot of the cliff at the Alphabet Slab which is the starting point for both gullies.
Dangers: The chockstone/prow in Main Gully is the crux of that route but wet slippery rocks will be of concern in both gullies after rain. Navigation up to the summit of Glyder Fach could be an issue in low cloud if you don’t know the area well. If you decend into East Gully, take care not to go too far due to the cliffs below (see red X in the photo on this page).
Approach Time: 1hr 15mins
Ascent Time: 15-20 or so minutes each.
Popularity: Fairly quiet compared to Bristly Ridge, these routes are usually frequented by climbers and experienced scramblers only.
Fun Rating: Main Gully: 7/10. East Gully: 7/10
Tips: Incorporate these gullies into a longer route, perhaps including a summit of Glyder Fach and a decent of the popular Bristly Ridge, if you are familiar with the area.
Kit List: My kit list is here.
I’ve summited Glyder Fach many times via scrambling routes on several sides of the mountain.
If you know the area well, I suggest incorporating these scrambling routes into a longer route that includes other lines of interest nearby, such as Bristly Ridge and perhaps Main Gully Ridge.
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 Main and East Gullies 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