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:
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.
Here’s what I took with me:
- Warm, waterproof boots and thick socks.
- 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.
- 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, which cost £10 (more in the summer).
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.
Ascent to 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 at the Pyg Track and Pen y Pass.
Snow-covered section, not too steep yet.
Steep but not too steep.
From Crib Goch approach, looking back at Llyn Llydaw
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 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 is challenging (for me at least).
Snow-covered Crib Goch in winter
A few moments later, the cloud rolls in.
On Crib Goch in winter.
On the steeper section of Crib Goch in winter.
It’s a long way down.
Ascending the most challenging pinnacle after Crib Goch ridge (note the steep drop to the right).
The same pinnacle as viewed from above.
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 challenging scrambling section.
There are several lines to choose from, all are steep and covered in ice and snow.
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 grade 1 scrambling but without the exposed knife-edged ridge and is more sustained.
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 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.
Daniel Woodley aka The Bald Scrambler