Days off are for adventures! Our destination was the mountains of North Wales. Tryfan, one of the most iconic mountains in North Wales was our choice and it was incredible! We decided to leave the hiking trail behind. Instead Callum, myself and two of our friends decided to enjoy scrambling up the North Ridge of Tryfan.
Helmets on and ready to go, I had mapped out the route the night before. It’s one I remember well from my Mountain Leader training I did the year before. The route online is a grade 1 scramble, but we made choices as we ascended up the mountain which pushed us into grade 2 scrambling. We all had experience in climbing and the found it both challenging and exciting! Hiking up Tryfan is fun, but scrambling up Tryfan made the views ten times better!
Scrambling up Tryfan, The Route.
Starting from the car park next to the Llyn Ogwen (where Callum and I spent the night in the Van) we crossed the road and through the gate. Keeping the wall on the right of us we followed the well trodden track to the top. Once the wall finished we veered left and headed up to the saddle of the ridge line. From here it’s time to pick a route and start climbing. Bits and pieces of this scrambling section give you hints on where to go. Footsteps from those in front of you somewhere embedded in the mud point all sorts of directions.
Once we hit the saddle of the ridge and started to climb we all geared up. Helmets on, it was now time to get our head in the game. Unlike hiking, scrambling does involve an aspect of climbing some of which can be pretty exposed. We wear helmets when scrambling to protect ourselves. There is a chance of falling ourselves and also falling rocks. I’d rather have a crack on a helmet than my head!
Having knowledge of the mountain is a bonus and scouting out routes before heading up them is a must. There are sections on the North Ridge of Tryfan which can lead you to dead ends. Or high drops. So it’s all about taking your time and working it out. Once high enough it’s important to make sure not to start climbing too far to the left. The left of the North Ridge becomes very exposed and there are less piles of rocks and more slabs. Moving to the the left would move your grade of scramble to a three, and require more experience.
We stuck to a more central route, occasionally moving more to the left for a sense of adventure. The route up was epic. Scrambling up Tryfan certainly is a challenge, the rocks below us changed from loose, sharp slab to more rigid climbing rock. Of course the Welsh weather came out and the rock did get very slippy in sections. We took it slow, keeping the group together but also stopping regularly for water breaks, and view breaks, of course! What I loved most about this route up Tryfan was that it was a challenge for everyone, but we all supported each other. There’s nothing better than getting someone up a tough climb and seeing their smile!
Scrambling up Tryfan on the North Ridge is an epic route and one we will probably repeat but just take a different turn from time to time.
The North Tower
The North Tower on Tryfan is the final big section of scrambling before reaching the summit. Here there are two options, follow the trail up the Grade 1 route of head off piste for a fun grade 2 option. We decided on the fun Grade 2. With the wind now blowing a gale, the grade 2 was pretty full on but a lot of fun! More like climbing than scrambling this option is definitely easier for those with longer legs!
The routes up the North Tower are not always easy to spot and you can just as easily create your own. Once again it’s just important to know your limits and try not hand too far to the left or right. These side sections do get pretty exposed further up, requiring more gear and more experience.
Adam and Eve
Once we hit the summit all of us were super stoked. For half of the group it was the first time they had been up Tryfan! We had the best day, with the classic bit of Welsh weather thrown in (rain guys, rain) but it didn’t dampen our spirits. The views the whole way up were sensational and once at the summit awesome. Scrambling up Tryfan north ridge was a success!
On the summit of Tryfan are two giant rectangle stones called Adam and Eve. It’s customary to leap between the two of them to celebrate the summit. On this time up the mountain we had to give it a miss. With 35 mph gusting winds, we took cover among the stones and celebrated with PB&J sandwiches instead! Definitely take some time to soak in the views up here. The scramble up Tryfan is a good challenge and the views are something to celebrate.
Scrambling Down Tryfan
Normally the way up is worse than they way down. Tryfan’s route back down it a bit difficult to find, so why not make your own! That’s what we did. Not realizing that ten people were following us. Top tip for if you plan to hike Tryfan. Don’t follow people with helmets on unless you’re interested in a bit of adventure!
The main path on Tryfan runs off to the left of the summit and can be hard to spot among the rocks. To follow the ‘easy’ route down stay level with the summit as much as you can without dropping down. Then you should hit a well trodden path that’ll gradually take you downhill.
For the more adventurous among us, head down and enjoy a bit of a scramble back down. Scrambling Tryfan can mean going down as well and that is often heaps of fun. Expect bum shuffles and make shift slides. Heading down Tryfan we got to the end of the rocky scramble and saw a path to follow. Leading us through the path of some sleepy big bull cows we took a small diversion and completely lost the path. Making our way down, because you can’t go wrong with that, expect to hit some boggy patches. But it’s all in the name of fun and after a rocky scramble, our bruised legs weren’t complaining against the nice soft moss.
Finally catching back onto the bath at the end, we popped out just down the road from where we started. All pretty shattered but feeling elated and stoked. For some of us this was our fist scramble and hike in North Wales. For others, their first scramble and for myself the first real adventure in the van and North Wales since moving here.
Have you ever gone scrambling up Tryfan? If so, what were your favourite moments and what route did you take?
We are definitely getting into more scrambling and I know there are loads of routes up Tryfan. Equally, if you’re in North Wales and fancy an adventure, give us a shout!