What is Crib Goch Like in Winter?

By The Bald Scrambler

Crib Goch

Published By: Daniel Woodley. Date: 12th December 2021. Filed at: Snowdon Scrambles. Disclosure: I may earn a commission from purchases made via links. Disclaimer: Scrambling is a dangerous sport, this route description does not provide step-by-step instructions. Read Disclaimer.

Whether you’re thinking about traversing Crib Goch in winter or just want to see what it’s like, check out my video below, which was filmed on the 9th December 2021.

New to scrambling and want to know what Crib Goch is like? Check out my guide to Crib Goch.

A Warning:

Crib Goch is a challenging summer grade 1 scramble that is considerably more dangerous in winter.

Anyone attempting this route in winter conditions does so at their own risk and they will require crampons, axes and solid winter skills. Many also take rope for protection as well.

This page does not provide step-by-step instructions nor does it highlight every hazard.

If you are unsure of your ability, there are plenty of qualified guides in Snowdonia who can take you out for a fun, safe day in the mountains.

Below you’ll find a route description, photos and other bits of helpful information.

This isn’t a step-by-step guide but just an overview of Crib Goch and the ascent of Garnedd Ugain as I experienced it in winter.

Equipment List

Here’s what I took with me:

  • Warm, waterproof boots and thick socks.
  • Crampons.
  • Leg gaiters
  • Thermal base layer leggings.
  • Insulated and waterproof trousers.
  • Thermal base layer long-sleeved top.
  • Several sweat-wicking t-shirts.
  • Long-sleeved fleece.
  • Waterproof jacket with hood.
  • Neck and face mask/gaiter to protect from the wind.
  • Gloves.
  • Axe with a leash.
  • Bag with food, drink and Bothy bag shelter.
  • Fully charged phone and whistle.

Personally, I feel that decent crampons and an axe are essential for this route and shoe spikes or cleats won’t be sufficient.

Parking & Approach For Crib Goch

There are plenty of parking spaces nearby, but due to the limited number of daylight hours in December, I parked at the closest car park – Pen y Pass.

The approach was via the Pyg Track up to the first set of steps by a wall with the lake to the left. The approach to Crib Goch is to the right along a well-defined path.

Grivel G10

Good quality crampons – check price. (#ad)

Ice axe

Ice axe – Check price. (#ad)

Ascent to Crib Goch (Map)

Crib Goch map

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

Photos of the Ascent

A few photos that give you an idea of what to expect on the ascent:

Looking back to the Pyg Track

Looking back at the Pyg Track and Pen y Pass.

Snow covered rocks on the ascent to Crib Goch

Snow-covered section, not too steep yet.

Getting steeper but there's plenty of time for some photos

Steep but we didn’t require rope here

From Crib Goch, looking back at Llyn llydaw

From Crib Goch approach, looking back at Llyn Llydaw

Climbing up to Crib Goch

Getting steeper on the Crib Goch appoach now, at least in places

Looking up to the final section of the approach with Crib Goch to the left

Looking up to the final section of the approach with Crib Goch to the left.

Looking back down from the top of Crib Goch

Looking back down from near the top of Crib Goch

Photos of the Traverse & the Pinnacles

The infamous Crib Goch knife-edge ridge traverse is very short but with a steep drop to the right side.

Once completed, the scrambler must find a route around or over the three pinnacles, only one of which I found challenging.

The start of Crib Goch in winter

Snow-covered Crib Goch in winter

A few moments later, the cloud rolls in

A few moments later, the cloud rolls in.

On Crib Goch in winter

On Crib Goch in winter.

Dan on Crib Goch

On the steeper section of Crib Goch in winter.

It's a long way down.

It’s a long way down.

Ascending  the most challenging pinnacle after crib Goch

Ascending the most challenging pinnacle after Crib Goch ridge (note the steep drop to the right).

The pinnacle as viewed from above

The same pinnacle as viewed from above.

Descending the last pinnacle on Crib Goch.

Descending the third, last pinnacle, towards Bwlch Coch.

Photos From Bwlch Coch to Garnedd Ugain

With the weather worsening, the trek from Bwlch Coch to the summit of Garnedd Ugain was full of fun, strong winds, rain and whipped up snow.

There is one notable scrambling section that is challenging in ice and snow.

The final scramble up Garnedd Ugain

The final challenging scrambling section.

The final scramble

There are several lines to choose from, all are steep and covered in ice and snow.

Snow covered ridge

The final section up to Garnedd Ugain.

Descents and Continuation

While the summit of Snowdon was a tempting target, the increasing wind, rain and whipped up snow was enough for us, so we headed down the Pyg Track then onto the Miners Track and back to the Pen y Pass car park.

In summer, a great continuation would be the entire Snowdon Horseshoe but with limited daylight in winter, it was out of the question for us.

Crib Goch Route Profile and More Info

Scrambling Grade: Grade 1 (summer grade that is) with a steep section to one side of a knife-edged ridge.

Suitability for Beginners: Not in winter and even in summer, it could be challenging for a complete beginner, especially if they don’t have a head for heights.

Navigation: Fairly straightforward as the scrambler should take the centre line for most of the route. Navigation up to Garnedd Ugain could be difficult in low cloud/whiteout conditions.

Dangers: Steep drops, exposed sections, ice, snow accumulations, severe wind.

Time (car to car): 7 hours (much less in summer).

Popularity: A very popular route, we saw 4 other people, even though the weather was poor. This is a very popular summer route.

Fun Rating: 10/10.

My Dislikes: None.

Similar Routes in Snowdonia:

Tryfan’s North Ridge offers similar summer grade 1 scrambling but without the exposed knife-edged ridge and is more sustained.

Crib Goch via the North Ridge.

More:

I’ve scrambled up to and along Crib Goch dozens of times in the summer and also completed a few ascents in winter and I must say it’s far more challenging in snowy and icy conditions, but also more fun too.

Crib Goch is also included in Steve Ashton’s “Scrambles in Snowdonia”, which is a bible of sorts for scramblers.

If you’re new to scrambling or want to find new routes, try this compact book that is small enough to fit in your backpack and maybe even your pocket.

Recommended Guide Book:

Scrambles in Snowdonia

Scrambles in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton (#ad)

About Daniel Woodley

These photos and route description were created by Daniel Woodley, aka The Bald Scrambler and this page forms part of the Snowdon Range Scrambles.

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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