This guide refers to Y Gribin on the Snowdon range and not the Y Gribin on the Glyderau – there are two routes with identical names within a few miles of each other, so it’s easy to get confused!
My name is Daniel Woodley, and welcome to The Bald Scrambler and my route description of Y Gribin, which I’ve scrambled up several times.
Here’s my video from November 2021:
Parking For Y Gribin
I’ve created a map with over 500 parking spaces, some of these are free and some are pay and display so bring some coins as some don’t accept cards or the card machine is unreliable.
Approach – How to Get to Y Gribin
The approach is easy and straightforward, if somewhat lengthy.
Make your way to the Pen y Pass car park and take the Miners Track all the way to the third lake (Glaslyn).
At the mouth of the lake, cross the stream over small rocks just big enough to step on, Y Gribin Ridge will be directly in front of you with an obvious path through a grassy section visible.
Y Gribin Map
Imagery © 2023 Google, Airbus, Bluesky, Infoterra, COWI, Cnes/Airbus, Getmapping PLC, Landset, Maxar Technologies
From the stream at the mouth of Glaslyn, follow a well-worn path up a grassy area slightly to the right of steep rocks. Stay on the path until you reach a crest with a slabby section of rock in front of you, watch out for this section as it will be slippery after rain.
Note the prominent grooves on this slab, they make for excellent hand and footholds – the best line is slightly to the right as the left side is far steeper.
The first obstacle – not particularly steep on the right side but very slippery when wet.
From above the slabby section, take a line roughly central where a path makes its way through grass at first, then onto steeper rock where the scrambling is typical of what you can expect at grade 1.
Avoid taking a line too far to the right; this flanking route may look tempting and shallower at first, but it soon steepens, and there’s a lot of loose rock further up.
Instead, stay on the ridgeline but look for the line of least resistance. Some sections are particularly steep, so the ability to make a judgement call about the best line will be crucial, especially when the rocks are wet.
A typical steep section. Good quality grade 1 scrambling can be found here, but some lines are steeper than others and all are slippery when wet.
The usual advice for those undertaking a grade 1 scramble in a popular area is to follow the well-worn, polished rocks to stay on track.
Unfortunately, that tip isn’t so relevant here.
This route isn’t particularly popular, and with several lines to follow, the rocks aren’t well-worn, and the best route may not be obvious.
In a nutshell; if you’re new to scrambling, be careful on this route.
Looking back down Y Gribin. Note the wet rocks, wet grass and lack of polished rocks to follow.
The top of Y Gribin is a grassy plateau around 200 metres from the popular Watkins Path.
Descents and Continuation
A small cairn is located at the top of Y Gribin, and this marks the end of the scramble.
While there’s no summit, there are four routes to now consider, two of which are descents and two are continuations.
1) Descend back down Y Gribin – not recommended when the ground is wet, and it’s slightly more difficult than the ascent.
2) From the top of Y Gribin, walk south-west for a couple of hundred metres and descend via the Watkins Path. This option is only viable if you have transport back to the starting point; buses are infrequent, especially in the winter.
3) Descend the Watkins Path briefly and then deviate up to Y Lliwedd, and then descend down to the Miners Track at the eastern end of Llyn Llydaw.
4) Take the popular Watkins path up to the summit of Snowdon. Or, briefly join the Watkins Path, then deviate onto the East Ridge up to Snowdon’s summit; this is a tiring route up scrappy terrain but offers the most direct line.
Y Gribin Route Profile and More Info
Scrambling Grade: Grade 1 that’s sustained most of the way to the top.
Suitability for Beginners: No scrambling route is ever safe and the drops on Y Gribin are steep and potentially lethal. Wet rocks are far more slippery than dry rocks on this route and there are other scrambles in Snowdonia that are easier. Y Gribin is a fairly typical grade 1 route, if somewhat underused.
Navigation: Literally straight up the centre of the ridge after ascending the lower slabby section which is best tackled a few metres to the right.
Dangers: Slippery rocks when wet, lack of polished rocks to follow. General navigation at the top in low cloud if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
Approach Time: 1hr 15m
Ascent Time: 30 minutes.
Popularity: Not very popular, most go up Snowdon via the tourist paths.
Fun Rating: 6/10.
My Dislikes: Very slippery slabs and rocks when wet – the lack of footfall means moss, grass and algae grow on the rocks. Parking can be problematic during the busy summer period and bank holiday weekends.
Recommended Equipment: See my kit list here.
Similar Routes in Snowdonia:
Bristly Ridge is far more sustained and there’s less grass on the route as it’s rockier.
Seniors Ridge is similar, perhaps slightly easier.
I’ve scrambled up Y Gribin four times now, twice in wet conditions, and I must say it’s far better in the dry, and I wouldn’t recommend this route to beginners when rain is forecast, or the rocks are wet.
I first scrambled Y Gribin over 10 years ago, and it’s a great route that joins two of the most popular paths up Snowdon.
It’s 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
This description of Y Gribin was created by Daniel Woodley, aka The Bald Scrambler and is 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