Scrambles in Snowdonia

Snowdon, Glyders, Carneddau, Eifionydd and outlying areas

By Steve Ashton, Rachel Crolla, Carl McKeating

Guidebook to 80 graded scrambles in Snowdonia, North Wales. This revised edition of Steve Ashton's classic guide is illustrated with photo topos, and includes 16 routes selected by the updaters, as well as all the classic routes including the Snowdon Horseshoe, North Ridge of Tryfan, Bristly Ridge and the Cneifion and Cyfrwy Arêtes.



Early March to the end of October


Most of the routes are in a small area, with Llanberis and the Ogwen Valley making good bases. The southern routes are accessed from Dolgellau.


Caters for both adventurous walkers and those seeking challenging mountaineering outings. There is a clear progression of difficulty. Grade 1 routes could be tackled by fit and experienced hill walkers. Grade 3 routes require knowledge of rope work and sound mountaineering judgement. All require a head for heights.
Must See

Must See

Includes all the classic routes such as the Snowdon Horseshoe with Crib Goch traverse, all the best routes on Tryfan, Bristly Ridge, Cneifion Arête, the Llech Ddu Spur, Nantlle Ridge and the Clogwyn y Person Arête. This revised edition covers an expanded area including Cyfrwy Arête on Cadair Idris and routes on Rhinog Fach and Fawr.
11 Aug 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.6cm
  • Overview

    This revised edition of Steve Ashton's classic guide presents 80 scrambles in the stunning Snowdonia National Park, offering challenge, adventure and exhilaration, but also breathtaking scenery and an unparalleled opportunity to connect with the mountains of North Wales. The graded routes range from introductory traverses to demanding climbs involving technicality and exposure, recommended only for those with considerable experience, a strong head for heights and solid grounding in basic rope technique.

    It is now easier than ever to explore the Carneddau, Glyders and Snowdon Group, plus the finest scrambling in Eifionydd, the Moelwyns, Rhinogs and Cadair Idris. The favourites are all here – the Snowdon Horseshoe, North Ridge of Tryfan, Bristly Ridge and Cneifion and Cyfrwy Arêtes – as well as a number of lesser-known routes, including 16 not included in the previous guide.

    Photo topos illustrate the ascent routes, alongside comprehensive route description detailing the preferred line of ascent and descent options. Many routes also include ideas as to how scrambles might be combined to create longer outings, and summary information and overview statistics are provided to aid route selection. Dramatic colour photography completes the package. With advice on how to progress and stay safe, Scrambles in Snowdonia is an indispensable and comprehensive guide to enjoying the freedom and excitement of scrambling in the rugged Welsh mountains.

  • Contents

    Area covered by the guide
    Selection of routes
    Using this guide (including explanation of grades)
    Basic rope technique
    Public transport
    Accidents and emergencies
    A final cautionary note
    The Carneddau
    Route 1 Southern Ridge Circuit 1-***
    Pen yr Ole Wen
    Route 2 Braich Ty Du Face (including Pinnacle Ridge and Porcupine Ridge) 2+**
    Route 3 Broad Gully Ridge 2+*
    Route 4 Craig Lloer Spur 3-**
    Carnedd Dafydd
    Route 5 Crib Lem (Llech Ddu Spur) 1***
    Route 6 Eastern Ridge of Black Ladders 2*
    Carnedd Llewelyn
    Route 7 Craig yr Ysfa Amphitheatre 2+*
    The Glyders
    Route 8 Cwm Bochlwyd Horseshoe 1*** CBʊ
    Tryfan East Face
    Route 9 Tryfan Bach Approach 3***
    Approach and orientation for the Heather Terrace, East face of Tryfan
    Route 10 Bastow Buttress Variant 2+***
    Route 11 Nor’ Nor’ Buttress Variant 3** or 3S**
    Route 12 Nor’ Nor’ Gully 2+*
    Route 13 Nor’ Nor’ Groove 1+*
    Route 14 North Buttress Variant 2**
    Route 15 Little and North Gullies 1**
    Route 16 Pinnacle Rib Variant 3**
    Route 17 South Gully 3-*
    Route 18 South Buttress 3**
    Tryfan West Face
    Route 19 North Ridge 1*** CBʊ
    Route 20 Milestone Buttress Approach 3**
    Route 21 Milestone Gully Approach 1+**
    Route 22 Milestone Continuation 3**
    Route 23 Wrinkled Tower (aka Wrinkled Slabs and Castle Chimney) 3S***
    Route 24 West Face Route 3*
    Route 25 V Buttress 3**
    Route 26 V Arête 3*
    Route 27 Notch Arête 2***
    Route 28 Y Gully 2*
    Route 29 South Ridge Direct 1* CBʊ
    Glyder Fach
    Route 30 Bristly Ridge 1*** CBʊ
    Route 31 The Chasm Face 3***
    Route 32 Main Gully 1+**
    Route 33 Main Gully Ridge 3*** or 2***
    Route 34 East Gully Ridge 3***
    Route 35 East Gully 1+*
    Route 36 Shark Buttress 3S***
    Route 37 Dolmen Ridge 3***
    Glyder Fawr
    Route 38 Gribin Ridge 1* CBʊ
    Route 39 False Gribin 1*
    Route 40 Cneifion Arête 3***
    Route 41 Maybe Tower Rib 3*
    Route 42 Seniors’ Ridge 1*
    Route 43 Seniors’ Gully 1-*
    Route 44 Direct Approach to Seniors’ Ridge 2*
    Route 45 Idwal Staircase and Continuation 2+***
    Route 46 North West Face Route (aka Idwal Buttress) 2**
    Route 47 Bryant’s Gully (aka False Bryant’s Gully or Nant Ettws) 2+*** ♠
    Route 48 Esgair Felen Direct 2+* ♠
    Y Garn
    Route 49 Devil’s Kitchen and the Sheep Walk 3S*** or 1-*
    Route 50 East Ridge 2**
    Foel Goch
    Route 51 South Arête 1+*
    Route 52 Needle’s Eye Arête 3*
    Route 53 Yr Esgair 3S*
    Carnedd y Filiast
    Route 54 The Ridge (aka Atlantic Ridge) 2+**
    Snowdon group
    Route 55 The Snowdon Horseshoe 1*** Sʊ
    Crib Goch
    Route 56 East Ridge 1* Sʊ
    Route 57 North Ridge 1*
    Route 58 Jammed Boulder Gully 3S**
    Route 59 Traverse of Crib Goch 1*** Sʊ
    Crib y Ddysgl (Garnedd Ugain)
    Route 60 Crib y Ddysgl 1** Sʊ
    Route 61 Cwm Glas Mawr Approach 1+* or 3S*
    Route 62 Clogwyn y Person Arête (including Parson’s Nose options) 3*** or 3S***
    Route 63 Cwm Glas Ridge 1-*
    Route 64 Llechog Buttress 2**
    Route 65 Llechog Ridge 2-*
    Route 66 Eastern Terrace of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu 1+**
    Route 67 Western Terrace of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu 3*
    Route 68 Tregalan Couloir 2*
    Route 69 Y Gribin and the East Ridge 1**
    Route 70 Traverse of Lliwedd 1** Sʊ
    Route 71 West Peak via Bilberry Terrace 3S***
    Route 72 Nantlle Ridge 1-***
    Craig Cwm Silyn
    Route 73 Craig Fawr Rib (aka LMH) 3**
    Mynydd Mawr
    Route 74 Sentries’ Ridge and Continuation 3-***
    Route 75 Bear Buttress 3S*
    Outlying areas
    The Moelwyns
    Route 76 Moel Siabod Ridge Circuit (including Daear Ddu Ridge) 1-***
    The Rhinogs
    Route 77 South Face of Rhinog Fawr 2-*
    Route 78 South Ridge Variant, Rhinog Fach (aka Hywel Ridge) 3-**
    Cadair Idris
    Route 79 Cyfrwy Arête (including Table Direct option) 3*** or 3S***
    Route 80 Penmaenbach Arête 1+**

    Appendix A Summary of routes in grade order
    Appendix B Longer combination ideas
    Appendix C Useful contacts

  • Updates
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    August 2017

    Routes from the second edition of Scrambles in Snowdonia (originally published in 1992) that have not been included in this third edition are available in the Downloads section.

  • Reviews
    Book of the Month - Trek and Mountain

    The original 'Scrambles in Snowdonia' is a true classic in British outdoors literature, not only inspiring thousands to explore the mountains of North Wales but also introducing the grading system that we use today. This revised edition of Steve Ashton's guide has been meticulously edited and updated by Rachel Crolla and Carl McKeating and presents 80 scrambles in Snowdonia National Park, the graded routes ranging from introductory traverses to demanding climbs involving technicality and exposure. 

    The favourites are all here - the Snowdon Horseshoe, North Ridge of Tryfan, Bristly Ridge and Cneifion and Cyfrwy Aretes - as well as a number of lesser-known routes including 16 not included in the previous guide.

    The design and presentation of this edition have been updated of course with topos illustrating the ascent routes alongside comprehensive route description detailing the preferred line of ascent and descent options. Many routes also include ideas for combining scrambles into longer outings, and summary information and overview statistics are provided to aid route selection. Crolla and McKeating have done a fine job with this book and no doubt this new edition will continue to inspire many more adventures in this incredibly special corner of the country.

    Trek and Mountain magazine

    Scrambles in Snowdonia provides a timeless volume of information on exploring the National Park

    This, the third edition of the iconic, classic scrambling guide book, has been fully updated and revised for the first time. 

    In this new edition, the established favourites have been augmented by the addition of 16 new routes, plenty for the scrambling and mountaineering connoisseur to get their teeth into if they’ve ticked off the original routes. The first edition of this book, published in 1980, pioneered the widespread grading system, a system still employed to the current day, allowing the reader and participant to choose and explore the various corners and levels of adventure of Snowdonia that make it so majestic. 

    The updating authors made the decision to relocate 5 of the original book’s routes to an update section on Cicerone’s website, freeing up room for some of the 16 new routes, all of which are in keeping with the very heart of the scrambling ethic of seeking adventures on the best lines in less explored areas; some of which will make you wonder why they haven’t been included previously.

    The 80 route descriptions are still graded according to difficulty and have the addition of the climbing guidebook star rating system, depicting subjective qualitative assessment. What is very clear, immediately upon picking up and opening the book is that there has been considerable research done to ensure the update is to the highest quality, colour photos throughout, photo topos with very clear depiction of the preferred ascent lines, descent descriptions and easy to interpret map sections, courtesy of the Ordnance Survey.

    All 80 routes can be found in appendix A, which is a very useful grade ordered tabular index, allowing easy reference and choosing of route for the grade of adventure being sought. For those seeking something a little extra, a bigger day perhaps, then appendix B suggests a few ‘link-ups’ to whet the appetite.

    Scrambles in Snowdonia provides a timeless volume of information on exploring the National Park with the highest mountain in England and Wales for both the adventurous walker with a head for heights through to the skilled mountaineer looking for inspirational days or challenging routes to train on for even bigger adventures. The scenery of Snowdonia is outstanding and is captured exceedingly well in the pictures and topos of this book.

    Each of the scrambles has been grouped into its own mountain region chapter, making it easy to identify a valley base or starting point at which to begin your scrambling adventures.
    This scrambling guide allows you to enjoy Snowdonia’s spectacular views and renowned summits in varying degrees of difficulty and adventure, a useful planning guide and in the mountain guidebook.

    Review by Dave Brown.

    This much-loved guide has now been fully updated and revised

    As the publisher rightly states, Steve Ashton’s Scrambles in Snowdonia has earned a very special place in the affections of many scramblers and climbers. Not only did Ashton’s pioneering 1980 guide inspire countless readers to discover the exhilaration of scrambling in the  Snowdonia hills, it was also the first guide to introduce the now standard numerical grading system for scrambling.

    This much-loved guide has now been fully updated and revised by experienced Yorkshire Dales based climbers and scramblers, Rachel Crolla and Carl McKeating, covering 80 routes within the Snowdonia National Park. All the old classics, such as the Snowdon Horseshoe, Tryfan, Bristly Ridge on the Glyders and the Cyfrwy Arete on Cadair, are included, but the authors also introduce 16 entirely new routes, which will undoubtedly be eagerly snapped up by the completists.

    Roly Smith, Outdoor Focus

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  • Downloads
Steve Ashton

Steve Ashton

Steve lived in Snowdonia for 20 years, during which he wrote several climbing and walking books to the region. The best known of these is the highly influential and now classic Scrambles in Snowdonia, which was largely responsible for reviving interest in this esoteric sport.

View Articles and Books by Steve Ashton
Rachel Crolla

Rachel Crolla

Rachel Crolla is an outdoors all-rounder who loves hiking, biking, scrambling and climbing. Rachel is an outdoors writer and photographer who is also trained as a journalist and teacher. She has hiked and climbed across the UK, Europe and the USA. In 2007 Rachel became the first woman to reach the summit of every country in Europe, and co-wrote the Cicerone guide book Europe's High Points soon afterwards. She is passionate about enthusing the next generation of hikers and cyclists with a love of the outdoors.

View Articles and Books by Rachel Crolla
Carl McKeating

Carl McKeating

Carl McKeating is from Yorkshire. He is the co-author with Rachel Crolla of the books, Europe's High Points and Walking in the Auvergne published by Cicerone. A rock climbing and mountaineering enthusiast, in addition to ascending all of Europe's national high points, in 2010 he completed a long-standing ambition to climb all the routes in Ken Wilson's Classic Rock which he followed with a three-month climbing and mountaineering tour of America. A qualified English teacher, in 2014 Carl started work on a doctorate about Mont Blanc in British Culture.

View Articles and Books by Carl McKeating