Crib Goch to Snowdon
Crib Goch is famed as being the toughest hiking route up to Snowdon, largely down to a whole lot of scrambling and its particularly narrow and exposed ridge.
Still something of a novice at this ridge game (having only previously done CMD Arête and Striding Edge despite plenty of mountain hikes), I really did fancy Crib Goch. In fact, that’s the main one I’d set out to do a few months back, but wanted to hike some slightly wider ones first.
Having reassured myself that my head for heights was ok and that I can keep my cool on ridges, I set out on a sunny day with my cousin to take on Crib Goch, Garnedd Ugain and Snowdon. Here’s how it went.
|Hike date||8th July 2022|
|Weather conditions||Sunny and hot|
|Distance hiked||Approx 15.5km|
|Walking time||6.5 hours|
|Elevation gain total||907m|
|Terrain||Rocky terrain for the most part|
The Route – Pyg Track, Crib Goch and Miner’s Track
So this is the route we took. Bear in mind that parking at Pen y Pass was already well booked up when we tried to book two days prior, so we started our route from roadside parking bays (£4 for the day) and we hiked just under 2km from there to Pen y Pass and back again. This was a pleasant walk with a dedicated footpath
From Pen y Pass, we took the Pyg Track up to the point at which paths separate and we turned off to the right for Crib Goch.
Almost immediately after this turning, the route turns from footpath into seriously rocky terrain and you’re scrambling.
We scrambled up to the summit of Crib Goch, across the ridge itself (which was just absolutely spectacular) and then across the pinnacles at the end.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that’s the climbing over though. From there you have another scramble up to day’s second summit, Garnedd Ugain.
Once we summited Garnedd Ugain, the Pyg Track was back in sight. We walked to the Snowdon summit, walked back down and began our descent via the Pyg track. Part way down, there’s a turn off to the right for the (quieter) Miner’s Track. We took this then back down to Pen Y Pass. After a quick coffee stop there, we picked up the same footpath from Pen y Pass back to the roadside parking we’d left the car at.
Honestly, this was a cracking route and we got incredibly fortunate with the weather.
POV Video Footage (GoPro) of Crib Goch
I recorded our Crib Goch crossing using a chest mounted GoPro, so here’s some of the highlights video
Crib Goch Drone Video Footage
Before setting out across the ridge, I took a few minutes to fly my drone around. We had absolutely incredibly conditions for the day with the cloud to the right of the ridge and the blue skies above. Here’s the video footage.
Is Crib Goch Difficult?
Crib Goch is a grade 1 scramble, so technically not particularly difficult.
However, there is significant exposure on both sides of the ridge and very narrow crossings in points.
The pinnacles at the end may also be challenging.
Whether or not you consider Crib Goch as a diffcult climb/scramble will come down to your own level of experience and threshold for exposure at height. Consider your own limits here. I had previously hiked CMD Arête and Striding Edge, both of which were wider, and the fact I’d managed with the heights here is what eventually convinced me to try Crib Goch.
In terms of difficulty, I personally didn’t find it difficult.
Almost from the moment you leave the Pyg Track to follow Crib Goch, you’re scrambling. You have to scramble onto the summit of Crib Goch and finding the “easiest” route can be a challenge.
The ridge itself wasn’t something I found technically challenging. I found it utterly exhilarating and genuinely enjoyable.
Once off the ridge, there’s a further scramble onto Garnedd Ugain’s summit. Again, this wasn’t something I would consider technically difficult, but it was tiring.
Is Crib Goch Dangerous?
Ok, so let me start with the usual caveats here (at the risk of sounding a little dull). All mountain environments have their dangers in all conditions. Your tolerance for danger will be different to the next person’s. Correct equipment, clothing, food and water are all absolutely essential.
With Crib Goch, the added danger is very much that immense exposure on either side of a very narrow ridge. A trip or fall could have incredibly serious consequences.
Llanberis Mountain Rescue responds to around 8 fatalities a year on Snowdon, of which a couple are generally falls from Crib Goch. They also respond to around 12 instances of people becoming crag fast on Crib Goch each year too as well as a number of other incidents.
So this can be a dangerous environment.
Do your research, consider your own level of experience and tolerance for heights before making the trip.
Is Crib Goch ok for Beginners?
I’m still a relative beginner. I’d done a lot of mountain hiking but only two narrow ridges before Crib Goch.
I am glad Crib Goch wasn’t my first. The two prior ones had tested my own ability to keep my cool with the height and exposure. And Crib Goch was significantly narrower than both of those.
Personally, I wouldn’t have wanted for this to be my first. But I think experienced hikers who are comfortable with their own head for heights would manage fine.
Again though, only you know your own abilities and tolerance for exposure.
Would I do it again?
Absolutely. In a heartbeat. This was one of my absolute favourite hiking routes of all time. I will be going back, hopefully before the end of summer.
Crib Goch, particularly when the weather conditions hit right, is an absolutely stunning scramble.