Tryfan North Ridge Scramble
If you can only scramble up one mountain in Wales, Tryfan has to be the pick. This iconic peak is best climbed via the North Ridge, the most direct and recognized route to the summit. With plenty of famous sights accompanying the steep ascent, this is a bucket-list adventure for those with experience and a head for heights.
Join our newsletter
Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers
Route Description for Tryfan North Ridge Scramble
Those visiting Tryfan should know that most of this walk is really a scramble. There are very few sections where you won’t be using your hands to provide support as you clamber up the mountain. In cold or wet weather, the surface can be slippery and hazardous. This adventure is for experienced hikers only who aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty! The route is officially classified as a Grade 1 scramble, though there are alternatives for those who want even more of a challenge.
While Snowdon may be the highest peak in Wales, many adventurers visit Snowdonia for the express purpose of summiting Tryfan. It’s one of the most eye-catching peaks in all of Britain, with a rugged three-headed shape that dominates the landscape. None other than George Mallory, the famed explorer who got ever-so-close to the first successful summit of Everest, undertook his first two British climbs on Tryfan. It’s an iconic mountain that makes for a memorable adventure!
From the car park, follow a stone wall on your left up to the base of the Milestone Buttress. You’ll be able to see this buttress from your starting point at the car park - almost impossible to miss. As you approach, a path on the left-hand side of the buttress leads you up and over this section, where you turn right at the base of the scramble.
At this point, there are any number of routes to choose from as you work towards the summit. Try to stay fairly central, and keep an eye out for the junction where the Heather Terrace Path leads off to the left, away from the mountain (not the path you want today). The Cannon Stone marks the beginning of the real scramble, and makes for a great photo-op. You may find dead-ends that are too steep or difficult and require a quick backtrack to find a better angle. It’s all part of the adventure!
As you close in on the North Tower, the final (official) approach leads through a gully on the right-hand side. You’ve made it! You’re likely to share the summit with fellow walkers, especially on weekends. If you’re feeling bold, try the classic jump across the “Adam and Eve” stone monoliths that crown the summit - certainly not for the faint of heart.
When it’s time to descend, make your way down the South Ridge (more scrambling, just in reverse) towards Bwlch Tryfan. From this point on, the scrambling reverts to walking, and you can take a more leisurely approach down the hill. The path turns west and then back to the north along the shores of Llyn Bochlwyd. Just past the northern end of the lake, bear right along a somewhat boggy path that return you to the A5, with a short stroll right to the car park.
The aptly-named Cannon Stone marks the start of the true scramble up Tryfan. Jutting away from the mountain at a pronounced angle, it’s a favourite place for visitors to climb on top and snap pictures before tackling the toughest part of the route.
Adam & Eve
These two three-metre boulders atop the summit of Tryfan are undoubtedly the most iconic sight on the famous mountain. It is said that if you make the leap between the two, you will “gain the freedom of Tryfan” - whatever that entails.
Frequently Asked Questions
How difficult is Tryfan?
Tryfan is not an easy walk! Most of the route requires scrambling, using your hands to climb up the mountain. While not too technically challenging, the steep and rocky terrain can be treacherous in poor weather conditions.
Is Tryfan harder than Snowdon?
Tryfan requires more scrambling than Snowdon. So while Snowdon is the taller mountain (and takes longer to walk), Tryfan has a greater concentration of difficult terrain.
Can I climb Tryfan in the winter?
Climbing Tryfan in the winter requires special gear and plenty of expertise. It is possible, but only for those who really know what they’re doing!
Insider Hints for Tryfan North Ridge Scramble
- For campers, the Gwern Gof Uchaf campsite is less than a mile east along the A5. This is an excellent option for staying right at the foot of the mountains! Make sure to bring your own supplies, including wood for any fires.
Getting to the Tryfan North Ridge Scramble Trailhead
To get to Tryfan via the North Ridge, head for the southern shores of Llyn Ogwen, right along the A5 expressway. There are multiple car parks just off the road - the one furthest towards the lake’s eastern end gets you closest to the direct ascent.
Tryfan North Ridge Scramble Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Tryfan North Ridge Scramble Reviews
Add a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.