The Ultimate Guide to Crib Goch in Snowdonia

by the bald scrambler

Published By: Daniel Woodley. Updated: 1st May 2024. Filed at: Snowdon Scrambles. Disclosure: I earn commission from purchases made via links, read more.

Crib Goch is one of the UK’s finest ridge scrambles and is considered by mountaineers to be a classic route.

You can expect plenty of grade 1 scrambling, lots of exposure and sheer drops, stunning views and a thoroughly enjoyable day out in the mountains.

My name is Daniel and I have completed Crib Goch over 25 times, including at night, in winter conditions, and in reverse. I’ve also tackled it from the lesser-known north ridge approach. I am not a qualified mountain guide but I have lots of experience.

In this guide, I’ll cover:

  • Parking.
  • Route description from Pen y Pass car park.
  • Map.
  • Photos of the key sections, including the main ridge and the three pinnacles.
  • Continuation and where to go after you’ve completed the ridge.
  • Video and drone footage, taken by me.

A warning and disclaimer from me: Crib Goch is not a hiking route, it’s a scrambling route and you will need to use your hands to pull yourself over obstacles. This guide does not provide step-by-step instructions and I accept no responsibility for your actions. There have been accidents and by continuing to read this page, you accept that you are solely responsible for your actions should you attempt this route.

I suggest you attempt this route in good weather and allow plenty of time.

If you are new to scrambling I suggest going with a qualified mountain guide/leader or at the least, someone who has been up there before.

Drone Footage

Check out this footage I published in 2023 on my YouTube channel:

Route Profile

Here are the key points:

Start: Pen y Pass car park (LL55 4NU) | What3words: decisions.square.late | Grid: SH 64723 55629

Alternative parking: See map below

Time there and back: 5-6.5 hours if you include a summit of Snowdon

Grade: Grade 1 scramble

Main hazards: Slips and falls from height, getting lost in low cloud, wind

Distance: 11km there and back (inc Snowdon’s summit)

Parking

The starting point for this route is Pen y Pass car park but from April to October, this is pre-book only and the car park is very small. You’ll need to book online and it isn’t cheap:

  • up to 8 hours: £20
  • 8-12 hours: £30
  • All day: £40

(Prices correct as of March 2024)

You can book your parking space here. If the website doesn’t allow you to book a slot, it’s either because they are fully booked or you are trying to book out of season. Currently, the pre-book system is only from April-Oct, outside of this you can just turn up (this is subject to change so check the booking site).

Additional Parking

Here you’ll find my parking map with several hundred spaces marked, many of them are in free laybys.

Also, below is a map of the nearest spaces which are in a layby (pay & display). I’ve also marked the hiking route up to Pen y Pass so you don’t have to walk on the busy road:

Parking for Crib Goch

Map of the Route

Here’s a map of the Crib Goch route, starting at Pay & Display layby and finishing on the summit of Snowdon:

Download file for GPS

Route Description

There are four notable sections to this route:

  1. The approach along the Pyg Track from Pen y Pass.
  2. The ascent to and across Crib Goch.
  3. The continuation up to Garnedd Ugain.
  4. The short distance from Garnedd Ugain to the summit of Snowdon.

Section 1) Approach

From Pen y Pass, take the Pyg Track (well marked) westwards for 30-40 minutes or so as it rises above the Llanberis Pass road.

The terrain here is rugged but easy to follow, it’s hiking rather than scrambling on this section.

Just before the double steps, come off the Pyg Track by turning right (easily missed):

Approach to Crib Goch

The path forks here with the Pyg Track ahead and Crib Goch to the right

Fork in the path

Easily missed fork with the Crib Goch visible (top, right).

From the fork on the Pyg Track, the route gradually rises and becomes far more rugged with some spicy scrambling sections to enjoy as well.

This is where the fun begins:

Approach to Crib Goch

This photo was taken from my drone and shows how rugged the upper section of the approach is.

While there isn’t a path to follow, the best guidance I can offer is to follow the worn rocks – this is a popular route and there are tell-tale signs that thousands of people have been here before you. Worn out areas of soil/gravel and shiny rocks are an indication that you are on track.

Eventually, you reach the summit which is the start of Crib Goch proper.

Section 2) Crib Goch Ridge

Once the start of Crib Goch has been reached, there’s a flattish rock which is perfect for resting, having a snack and enjoying the stunning views down to the Pyg and Miners Tracks:

The start of Crib Goch

The start of Crib Goch

The view from Crib Goch

The view from Crib Goch

View of the North Ridge of Crib Goch

View to the north of Crib Goch

Drone photo fo Crib Goch

Drone view of Crib Goch

The ridge itself is very steep and nearly impossible to traverse without using your hands to hold onto the rocks to steady yourself.

I’ve found it best to move slightly to the left of the ridgeline (about a metre) and then use my hands to hold onto the top of the ridge.

The ridge is very rugged but almost all the rocks are solid with only a few loose pieces here and there.

How Steep is Crib Goch?

The two photos below show you how steep Crib Goch is.

The left side is steep but if you slipped, there’s plenty of rock that could break your fall.

The right side is far steeper and while not vertical, there’s very little to break your fall should you go over the edge.

I strongly suggest staying just left of the ridgeline. I have walked on the very top of the ridge before but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and certainly increases the risk of falling.

The Crib Goch route is one of the more difficult ways to reach the summit of Snowdon and is considerably more exposed than the Watkin Path which is widely considered the most difficult walking route.

Left side of Crib Goch

The left side of Crib Goch (shallower)

The right side of Crib Goch

Right hand side – very steep

How Long Does it Take to Traverse Crib Goch?

The ridgeline itself is fairly short (just over 200m) and the steepest section is even shorter (about 50m where it’s vertigo-inducing steep).

Moving at a reasonable pace, I usually traverse the bulk of the ridge up to the first pinnacle in around ~15 minutes.

Taking the three pinnacles directly, rather than avoiding them on the left side, took me around 8-10 minutes.

A first-timer may require more time – there’s no rush! I’m quick as I’m very familiar with the terrain.

The third pinnacle on Crib Goch

The first two pinnacles can be tackled directly or bypassed on the left side. Here, I’m tackling the third pinnacle up a series of ledges rising left to right.

Section 3) Crib Goch to Garnedd Ugain

My favourite thing about Crib Goch isn’t just the steep ridge but also the sheer variety of scrambling on the entire route.

After the exciting pinnacles, there’s a drop into a small col at Bwlch Coch and from here the route rises to Garnedd Ugain with another burst of exciting scrambling at grade 1 en route.

Rocky pinnacles at the end of Crib Goch

The rocky pinnacles at the end of Crib Goch with a dip into a col in the background (obscured by the pinnacles)

End of the Crib Goch route

Stepping down off the third pinnacle into the col which marks the end of the route. Llanberis is in the background.

Section 4) Garnedd Ugain to Snowdon’s Summit

The official Crib Goch route ends at the col after the three pinnacles and the section up to Garnedd Ugain is a continuation.

From Garnedd Ugain, you have several options:

  • Walk up to the summit of Snowdon.
  • Go down the Pyg Track.
  • Go down one of the other paths such as the Llanberis Path.

A Different Approach to Crib Goch

The most popular approach to Crib Goch is via the Pyg Track but there is another approach via the North Ridge.

I feel this route is best suited to those who have already tackled Crib Goch at least once and want to try another approach.

Watch my video to find out more:

You may also like:

Nearby scrambles:

About Daniel Woodley

This guide to Crib Goch for beginners 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

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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