South ridge of Tryfan scramble, Snowdonia.

Tryfan in Snowdonia is an ionic mountain steeped in history, with the likes of George Mallory having trained here in the early days of mountaineering, before heading off to attempt to summit Everest. I love hiking up this beauty and there are some great scrambles and climbs all over it. Sian Sykes from Psyched paddleboarding, led this day up the hills, and choose the south ridge scramble as the route for the day. It’s a great scramble in Snowdonia, quite gentle and with superb views all around on blue sky days.

It has been a while since my last blog, and I’ve been keeping myself busy with this that and the other. I have fancied some time off from the blog for a variety of reasons, we can go into that in another blog. But anyhow, I’m back and I’ve been doing quite a lot of hiking and running of late which has been a lovey phase into autumn to keep the fitness and spirits high.

My good friend Sian and I had a great hike on the south ridge of Tryfan in Snowdonia for our little days outing and it didn’t disappoint. With glass calm conditions and clear blue skies all around, we even had an empty summit to ourselves (bar the ravens) which was superb.

Tryfan is a steep mountain in Snowdonia, that rises straight up from the A5 road that drives through the Ogwen valley. There are many ways to hike up it, one of the more gentler versions is the south ridge. A great little scramble section gives you a little taste of ” air ” further up, so don’t think it’s a pushover.

The walk began at Ogwen cottage where we parked at the far car park (Near Milestone buttress) and we walked in the “long way” which isn’t that long (the car park is free there and less crowded FYI). Most people like to walk from that particular carpark, to climb milestone buttress or to hike the north ridge of Tyfan itself. But I think its a nice warm up, preceding the hight gain that you have to do on the foot hills towards Tryfan.

The walking route up the south ridge of Tryfan, with a 30 minute stop on the summit for lunch took us 4 hours 33 and we covered 5.07 miles from start to stop. The data below is from my Garmin 735XT watch I recently acquired, which is simply amazing. You down load the Garmin app on your phone and then connect it to your phone and it gives you all sorts of print outs (see the graphs below)

The walk at the start is rather lovely, you walk along Llyn Ogwen on the roadside, then up and across the bridge at the waterfalls that run just above Ogwen cottage and then break out on the main path leading to either Cwm Idwal or Cwm Bolchwydd. The route is paved with nice big stepping stones and easy path for sure. It’s a moderate ascent angle, and it winds its way up to the more steep steps, that lead you along side a steam that runs from the large lake (Australia lake) above Cwm Blochwydd

The two images from my phone show : A satellite map of our track (First image) and a Terrain map (second image). Colour coding on the route is our speed. Be nice!- it was steep and I was unfit !

The path is quite steep after the initial walk in, as it winds up the first steep path (For note: I always take some poles- as it can be a little heavy on the knees on the way down). It’s great little first incline, to take your breathing up another level and bust those lungs out a bit!

Anyhow onwards and upwards towards Australia lake in the Cwm above, which was the water was crystal clear, so tempting to get in the water and get a dip on in there …Maybe next time. As you gain even more height you will start to contour towards the saddle that separates Tryfan and Bristly ridge. There is a great long wall that lines the entire saddle back between the two mountains, with a big style across it, which provides great shelter from the screaming westerlies sometimes up there..

It’s also a nice stop to hydrate and get a small feed in if you fancy out of the wind before you push for the main cliffs above after, as they are rather exposed to the elements thereafter. Cross the style, and head over the wall to the left for the scramble up the south ridge and begin the path winding up to the escarpments on Tryfan.

It’s worth me also saying my ” be careful part” as these routes are scrambles and are not always suitable for people without a head for heights. If your unsure of your level of expertise then grab a guide from one of our amazing Snowdonia guides for sure and get some guidance in these hills.

From the style up towards the main of rock and then begin your scramble up and over the first two big outcrops that form a face for you to wind your way up. This is scramble territory and parts can feel a little airy, but nothing to crazy I found, however I am a moderate climber and I’m used to exposure of sorts. It’s a great little scramble and quite fun to do a little alpine style again, I love it I must say..

The top section above the scramble is the best and most fun, it really is a great part of the walk that goes over the large boulders and across the summit plateaux, which runs for around 200m and is undulating, I could see this area be a bit tricky in low level light or in bad weather so take your time and always bring a map, compass and GPS with you. Its not fun getting caught out as I can attest to!

At the summit there are some spectacular megalith style rocks that seem to have been weathered into these two opposing stone structures connected to the base rock. If you haven’t already heard of them they are called Adam and Eve and some like to jump across them. I wont recommend that in here as its a long way down if you stuff it up. Its a wonderful place to have a bite at lunch and feed the ravens, sip some tea and then a few pictures for the family album!

The route down, you have a few options have a lot at the map above and you can see how we choose to descend on a different route that weaves its way down towards the centre of Cwm Bolchwydd (where Australia lake is at)

The path winding up and Sian doing her happy dance!
Views down the Ogwen valley
Australia lake
The lovely Bristly ridge
Having some fun at the wall!
The saddle back between Tryfan south ridge and Bristly ridge.
Sian and Australia lake below
The scramble above that is the south ridge of Tryfan
Two musketeers with a. mountain to ourselves
Scramble up towards the summit plateaux.
Looking from the summit back the way we walked in
The summit of Tryfan with Adam and Eve.
Looking down the from the summit
Sian contemplating life from the summit..
I hate selfies but, a summit would not be a summit without an obligatory picture !
Looking over at Pen yr Olwen to the North.
SARS helicopter doing some training or rescuing a climber down the Ogwen valley

  I will fill you in the on details about what I’ve been doing in the three months off the website, in the next blog, but suffice to say the world has gone bonkers. We must rise above it and be great examples of humans by being kind to one another. Remember the only thing to fear is fear itself. Enough said. Enjoy nature and its gems.

  Photo by Nicola Nuttall on Unsplash

  Tan Y Tro Nesaf  / Until the next time,


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One thought on “South ridge of Tryfan scramble, Snowdonia.

  1. Sally-ann Dwyer says:

    Nothing is as guaranteed to get a Welsh person’s teeth grinding as Llyn Bochlwyd being referred to as Australia Lake.

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