Crib Goch vs Striding Edge – Which is Tougher?

striding edge helvellyn
After crossing both Crib Goch to Snowdon and Striding Edge to Helvellyn, how do the two ridges compare against each other? Which one was the hardest?

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Crib Goch vs Striding Edge – Which is harder?

Crib Goch.

That’s the simplest answer overall! I really enjoyed both Crib Goch and Striding Edge. They’re both listed as grade one scrambles, but personally I think the listed grading is only a tiny part of the picture and only a fraction of what determines how difficult a ridge crossing is.

Lots of other factors are at play, including the overall hike (accessing the ridge, crossing it and the overall effort required), weather conditions and exposure. So in this comparison of Crib Goch and Striding Edge, I’ve shared my overall experience of the hikes these crossings were part of and the ridge scrambling itself.

Crib Goch vs Striding Edge in Summary

The conditions, your company and how long/strenuous it is to even reach the ridge can play a part in your experience. So here’s a comparison of both of the hikes I took to cross these ridges.

 Crib GochStriding Edge
Date of crossingJul-22Jun-22
Who with?CousinSolo
Weather conditions?Amazing! Clear, mild to warm temps and dry!Clear, sunny and hot
Overall hike distance15.5km15.4km
Overall hike difficultyModerateModerate
Overall hike time6.5 hours 5 hours 38 minutes

Both of these hikes were on great weather days. They had lots in common. I hiked Striding Edge solo and the weather was significantly hotter. But I felt fortunate with the conditions for both. And, importantly, the rock was dry for both ridge crossings. Generally, whenever I’m hiking ridges, I deliberately aim for dry days (didn’t quite work out with CMD Arête though!)

Both Crib Goch and Striding Edge were parts of moderate hikes (not easy at all, fairly strenuous but moderate in the context of other hikes I’ve personally done). That climb up to Striding Edge from Glenridding is up a steep moor and that’s fairly laborious, but not too long.

Crib Goch and Striding Edge Difficulty Compared

So let’s look at the actual scrambling across the ridge for both of these (this being what I based my short answer on).

  Crib GochStriding Edge
ExposureVery, very exposed. One side a sheer drop and the other very steep. Exposure here requires a real head for heightsIt is exposed. It’s not, however, as large a drop either side as Crib Goch which, for me personally, made it feel a bit less exposed
Complexity of ScramblingMore complex scrambling with the addition of pinnacles at the end. The main ridge doesn’t require particularly technical scrambling though.Simple scrambling. The chimney at the end requires a down climb and then there’s a scramble up to the summit of Helvellyn after the ridge. None of it is technically complex though.
How NarrowVery, very narrowVery narrow
Distance Across RidgeA relatively short ridge (but followed by further scrambling up to the next summit)A vey short ridge. It’s over quite quickly!
Accessing RidgePgy track first and then a scramble up to Crib Goch summit. A steep moorland climb from Glenridding, but not too long
Escape Options or Bypass PathsNone. Attempting to descend half way through down to the Pyg track is potentially dangerous with a very, very steep slope and loose scree.A path runs off the crest of the main ridge and this is much less exposed though still narrow.

I genuinely enjoyed both of these hiking days and both ridges are ones I would do again.

I did Striding Edge before undertaking Crib Goch and I’m glad I did. It gave me a space to make sure I’m comfortable with the exposure but with the comfort blanket of the path if I needed it. I ended up not needing it but it was comforting to know it was an option.

They were both wonderful routes. The summit of Helvellyn is my favourite of all the Lake District summits I’ve been to. Crib Goch and the next summit (Garnedd Ugain) are also spectacular summits in the right conditions (I prefer both of them to Snowdon itself).

Which is better?

Crib Goch is hard to beat for me. The ridge itself, its incredibly narrow nature and sheer drop on one side made it a phenomenally exhilarating crossing.

So as for which is the better and tougher in my opinion? Crib Goch on both counts.

My Favourite Crib Goch Photo 

I took so many photos of Crib Goch but this was my favourite. It shows the conditions incredibly well and offers a realistic view of the terrain. It also highlights that sheer drop on one side! It really is quite something! It feels much higher!

crib goch cloud

 

My Favourite Striding Edge Photo

This photo of Striding Edge was taken after crossing, looking back over the ridge itself. It gives you some idea of how narrow it is but how relatively “gentle” its slopes are compared with Crib Goch.

striding edge look back

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