Crib Goch has 4 main scrambling routes, all fantastic fun, and sometimes slippy in wet weather!
The main routes are:
North Ridge Ghyll
This route climbs the ghyll next to the North Ridge Gully Route. It is in no guidebook and sees hardly any traffic. As with any ghyll expect slimy, mossy holds and suspect rock in places. The ascent described here was in Summer; the route will be a very different proposition in Winter or after heavy rain. The route can be used as an approach to Crib Goch North Ridge, or better to get to Clogwyn y Person Arete.
Begin at the Blaen y Nant campsite in the Llanberis Pass. Take the path that heads to Cwm Glas Mawr. At a fork in the stream leave the path and follow the left branch. This offers some easy grade 1 scrambling and boulder-hopping if you are so inclined. Follow the stream to below the steep and wet Craig y Rhaeadr ("Waterfall Crag"). Here the stream issues from a gully on the left. The North Ridge Gully route scales the rock to the right of the stream but this route climbs it direct.
The first major fall that is reached is probably too difficult, and is best avoided to the right. Above this the stream flows through a short level trough. This can be avoided but in the spirit of ghyll scrambling a traverse can be made along the left wall.
Higher up the walls close in and a steep mossy step is ascended. A short way up again is the biggest waterfall yet. Forget it! From the base of the waterfall scramble left to leave the stream. Turn left again and walk down beside the ravine until you can about turn and scramble back up to above the fall.
Back in the stream there are a few tricky and vegetated steps to overcome. Here there is a vague fork in the ghyll. Take the right-hand branch which is drier than that previously climbed. This section gives delightful, easy scrambling and deposits you on a bouldery area where the gradient relents. Above this is a few metres of mini-ravine, topped by a small pool. Climb the small step beyond the pool to finish the route.
The best plan from here is to head SW to lovely Llyn Glas with it's island of trees. From here the Clogwyn y Person Arete makes a worthy challenge, or a path can be followed back to the Llanberis Pass.
Crib Goch East Ridge
This route forms part of the popular Snowdon Horseshoe and is accessed via the Pig track from the Youth Hostel at Pen y Pas.
The route branches off to the right at the col, where Llyn Llydaw first appears, below and to your left. After a scrappy start over steep, broken ground the scrambling begins at a pleasant, broad buttress traversed by numerous routes on excellent, clean rock equipped with plentiful handholds.
Higher up the buttress narrows to an arête. Thin tracks run to the right, below the ridge but it’s probably better to stick to the solid stuff on the crest (unless it’s uncomfortably windy, in which case you might like to think of better things to do with your day – see below). Eventually the gradient eases off but the ridge continues as an airy tightrope with vertigo-inducing drops on either side.
Several points are worth making here. Firstly, while it’s true that Crib Goch is rated as a mere grade 1 scramble, the exposure is very noticeable and is sustained for a remarkable distance. Some people may find this tiring, not to say panic-inducing. Secondly, although you may be able to drop down a couple of feet from the crest there’s generally very little protection from inclement weather.
Thirdly, there’s still plenty of demanding and inescapable scrambling ahead. Eventually, having ignored all warnings, you’ll reach a series of pinnacles. These mark the end of the ridge but provide an interesting finale. A path picks its way left round the base of the first pinnacle though keen scramblers will obviously prefer to go over the top. After this, it’s a free-for-all with the route twisting over further slabs and little ridges before reaching more civilised terrain at Bwlch Goch Though at this point you’ve technically completed the Crib Goch scramble you might like to know that there’s still another obstacle head of you.
This takes the form of a dour bastion barring the continuation of the Horseshoe ridge onto Carnedd Ugain. At first sight this looks quite formidable. If you look at the crest of the bastion, however, you’ll see a sort of notch over to the right and if you follow this down slanting slightly to the left you’ll see that it meets the ground in a broad cleft. Climb this on good holds and you’ll find you can then follow an easy, well-worn route to the top. At this point all difficulties cease.
Crib Goch North Ridge
This is less popular than the busy East Ridge and although there is less scrambling it is perhaps more similar in style to the actual traverse of Crib Goch.
Approach is either via the grade 1 North Ridge Gully or from Pen-y-Pass. If starting at Pen-y-Pass follow the Pig track before traversing round to the base of the North Ridge. Route finding is easy on the ridge and the scrambling is simple.
It can be unnerving in wet and windy conditions however. As for mist; that just hides the exposure! The ridge is reasonably spacious at first, with a path avoiding difficulties.
The characteristic shattered rock provides comforting handholds if moving on one side of the crest as the ridge narrows. The right side is the best option further up, with ledges and rock steps offering easy moves in an exposed position. Higher up you reach a notch. Move into this then climb out the other side (easier than it looks) and continue a short way to reach the convergence of the north and east ridge.
Here you can relax as there is plenty of space to rest before continuing onto the main traverse of Crib Goch. It can be noted that the North Ridge also offers a feasible descent route, though trouble may be encountered navigating off the shoulder of Dinas Mot in poor weather.
North Ridge Gully
This is a short and relatively unknown route that offers a more adventurous way onto the North Ridge of Crib Goch than the usual Pen-y-Pass approach.
Begin at the campsite at Blaen-y-Nant and follow the path into the cwm. Stay left where it splits, aiming for the steep, dripping crag of Craig y Rhaeadr (which aptly translates as “Waterfall Crag”). Just to the left of the crag a waterfall issues from a wet gully.
The scramble ascends this. Depending on water levels either scramble up the stream or on damp rocks to its right bank. Continue upward on the right bank on a mix of heather and rock; much of the way is path marked. Further up the gradient eases.
Cross the stream where possible to the other side. A few outcrops offer some fun but beware of a huge difficult slab; follow the path to the left of this rather than climbing it.
Continue walking up on grass and scree until you reach the beginning of the North Ridge scramble proper.