Seniors Gully and Ridge: An Introduction

By The Bald Scrambler

Published By: Daniel Woodley. Updated: 17th October 2023. Filed at: Glyderau Scrambles. Disclosure: I may earn a commission from purchases made via links. Disclaimer: Scrambling & climbing are dangerous sports, this route description does not provide step-by-step instructions. Read Disclaimer.

Seniors Gully and Seniors Ridge is an excellent summer grade 1 scramble from Llyn Idwal up to the summit of Glyder Fawr.

The views from this part of the Glyderau are stunning, from the unmistakable Devil’s Kitchen to the adjacent Carneddau range.

The terrain on this route is mixed with plenty of rocks, a broken path, scree and, weather permitting, some small but gushing streams to navigate over.

The difficulty ranges from a few sections of descent but challenging grade 1 scrambling to plenty of strenuous hiking.

An introduction to his route can be found in this guide and in my updated video that I originally published in February 2022.

A warning:

This is a summer grade 1 scrambling route but is considerably more dangerous in winter conditions when rope, axes, crampons and winter skills may be required.

I hope you enjoy this route description but if you are unsure of your ability, I suggest finding a local mountain guide to take you on this line as there are dangers present and this page does not provide step-by-step instruction or highlight every danger.

Approach – How to Get to Seniors Gully and 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.

The route starts at Ogwen Cottage; follow the steps behind the building up to Llyn Idwal, where you should head along the east shore to a prominent neck in the lake.

The map below may help:

Map of seniors gully and ridge

Imagery © 2023 Google, Airbus, Bluesky, Infoterra, COWI, Cnes/Airbus, Getmapping PLC, Landset, Maxar Technologies

At the neck, look out for a faint fork in the path. Take a faint left path and follow over stream beds to the foot of Seniors Gully which is located next to Idwal Slabs, a popular climbing area.

The approach is straightforward and doesn’t require any scrambling but watch out for mud and wet grass on the slightly steeper sections.

The stream beds look similar to the path, so it’s easy to end up going off track here.

Ascending Seniors Gully

Seniors Gully is wide and not too steep; it’s far shallower than Sinister Gully or Dexter Gully, but there is still a risk of injury should one slip or fall.

The gully is best tackled by going straight up the middle, following the line of least resistance.

There are a couple of slightly steeper sections where the gully earns its summer grade 1 rating, but for the most part, it’s a series of steep steps.

You’ll find handholds everywhere in this gully, there’s plenty of choice but watch out for wet and slimy rocks; this gully holds a lot of water, and care should be taken if tackled after rain.

The top of Seniors Gully is reached surprisingly quickly, but the upcoming ridge is a longer outing.

Looking up to Seniors Gully

Looking up at Seniors Gully.

A steep section in Seniors Gully

The steepest section in Seniors Gully

How to Scramble Seniors Ridge

After topping out of Seniors Gully, take an immediate right turn and ascend the fairly shallow incline of mostly grass.

After ~30 metres, take a left and scramble up onto the ridge proper, following the “S” shape route as shown in the image below:

Start of Seniors Ridge

Imagery © 2023 Google, Airbus, Bluesky, Infoterra, COWI, Cnes/Airbus, Getmapping PLC, Landset, Maxar Technologies

Image above: The top of Seniors Gully and the start of Seniors Ridge.

The bulk of Seniors Ridge is a mixture of strenuous hiking and sporadic but decent summer grade 1 scrambling. Some route-finding skills would be of benefit as the path is faint and broken up by sections of rocky scrambling. In winter, this route is far more challenging and ropes, crampons, axes and solid winter skills may be required.

The first one-third of the route stays true to the ridge and follows a faint path.

The second third of the route strays slightly to the left (east) of the ridge, but a faint path is still visible.

The final third of the route is where the ridge widens into a broad area, and the path disappears. The best way up from here isn’t obvious, but as long as you continue ascending, you’ll be heading in the right direction.

At no point on the ridge should you descend onto the right (west) side; as this leads to a popular climbing area with steep sections.

Typical scrambling section on Seniors Ridge

A typical scrambling section on the first third of Seniors Ridge.

Seniors Ridge in winter

This screenshot is from the second third of the ridge and is typical of the terrain.

The top of Seniors Ridge

The final third of Seniors Ridge widens onto a broad, featureless plateau that’s difficult to navigate in poor weather.

Continuation to Glyder Fawr

The top of Seniors Ridge is several hundred metres from the summit of Glyder Fawr, and while navigation is easy in good weather, it can be an issue in low could or snow.

Map reading skills or prior knowledge of the mountain will be crucial in poor weather.

Several cairns (easily missed) mark the route from east to west, as shown by the red circles in the image below; these can be of benefit, but shouldn’t be relied upon.

Cairns on Glyder Fawr

Imagery © 2023 Google, Airbus, Bluesky, Infoterra, COWI, Cnes/Airbus, Getmapping PLC, Landset, Maxar Technologies

Two cairns are shown in this image

Two cairns can be seen in this image, they mark the way to Glyder Fawr in poor weather.

Descents and Continuations

From the summit of Glyder Fawr, there are several options for descent or continuation.

Head east to reach Glyder Fach and The Cantilever or head north-west and then north to descend the scree slope to Llyn y Cwn where there are further options such as the steps around Devil’s Kitchen back to Llyn Idwal.

A reverse of Seniors Ridge and Gully is possible but best avoided in low cloud, snow or wet conditions.

Descent from Glyder Fawr

Imagery © 2023 Google, Airbus, Bluesky, Infoterra, COWI, Cnes/Airbus, Getmapping PLC, Landset, Maxar Technologies

Image above: The most popular descent route is north-west and then north onto the scree slope down to Llyn y Cwn. The upper section is notoriously difficult to navigate in cloud and snow but there are cairns that mark the route.

Descent from Glyder Fawr

Navigation from Glyder Fawr to the scree slope isn’t easy in cloud or snow, hence why a map or prior knowledge is crucial.

Route Profile and More Info

Scrambling Grade: Summer Grade 1.

Navigation: Reaching the start of Seniors Gully is straightforward, as is scrambling it. The ridge is slightly more difficult and much more so in poor weather. The final section up to Glyder Fawr is easy to follow in good weather and very difficult in low cloud or snow.

Dangers: Wet, slimy rocks within the gully. Loose rocks. Navigation issues on the top section onto Glyder Fawr. Navigation on the descent onto the scree slope. Ice in winter.

Approach Time: 45min max.

Ascent Time: Gully 30 mins. Ridge to Glyder Fawr 2hrs (in the snow, quicker in summer).

Popularity: Reasonably popular with some polished rocks visible, mostly in the gully, quieter in winter.

Fun Rating: 7/10.

My Dislikes: The gully holds lots of water and isn’t so much fun after rain or in winter. Experienced scramblers may find the route easy, and there are plenty of other, more challenging options in the area.

Kit List: My kit list is here.

Map: OS Explorer Waterproof OL17.

Similar Routes in Snowdonia: Dexter Gully, Nor’ Nor’ Groove, Sinister Gully, Tryfan’s North Ridge, Main and East Gullies, Tryfan’s South Ridge, Milestone Gully.

More:

I’ve been up Seniors Gully and Ridge a few times but only once in the winter. It’s a great route and with the effort.

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

Scrambles in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton (#ad)

About Daniel Woodley

This description of Seniors Gully and 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.

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Daniel Woodley

Daniel Woodley aka The Bald Scrambler

Have fun, keep safe. Hopefully I’ll see you on the mountains one day

By The Bald Scrambler

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