The walk over Tryfan and the Glyders is one of the best in Britain, a true classic. Tryfan itself is a tough but enjoyable scramble. However combined with the ascent of Bristly Ridge and the rough summits of Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach it develops in to a wonderful, sustained panorama of rock, scrambling and eye catching views.
It is far too many years since I care to remember that I originally climbed Tryfan. I remembered it as fantastic and on my return found that it certainly is. There is no better scrambling in Britain, and I happily include Scotland in this. The great thing is that there is not ‘one route’ or ridge up. Choose your own and go for it. Ideally stick to the northern slopes and even drifting to the east as the steepest tend slopes to be to the west. Each step is a joy. However the climbing is continual so take your time. I found part of the fun was choosing my own route.
On reaching the rocky summit there stands Adam and Eve, two standing stones viewable from a great distance and 2 metres off the ground. The tradition is to make the ‘leap’ between them, I did on my first visit so fortunately never felt the need to on this one! Heading north from Tryfan over the boulders to the south leads towards Bristly Ridge and Glyder Fach. Bristly Ridge is also a tough and quite long scramble. It is possibly more exposed that Tryfan as it follows more of a ridge line. There is a path to the east up the scree slope for those who do not fancy it.
Arriving at the summit plateau near Glyder Fach the rock scrambling is not yet over. The highest point of Glyder Fach is climbed over a number of large boulders. Even then the crossing towards the higher Glyder Fawr includes the astonishing rock structure of Castell y Gwynt (Castle of the Wind). It is only when you have passed (over or under) the Castle that the going becomes easier. Now you can really stop and admire the panorama of Snowdon, the rest of the Glyders and the Carneddau to the north.
The day is a long way from finished. After Glyder Fawr a tricky descent waits, particularly down the Devil’s Kitchen (black hole in Welsh). It is steep and in places awkward. However there has been some useful repairs done by the rangers which make the descent easier on tired limbs. In any case the descent is improved immeasurably by the views down over the lovely Llyn Idwal, an oasis of tranquility for all that has gone before. The final mile and a half alongside the tarn and down to Ogwen Castle are a lovely end to this classic walk.
The ridge down Y Gribin is a scramble but may offer a more enjoyable route off Glyder Fawr. The descent to Llyn Cwn and the Devils Kitchen is initially slippy on loose shale. Later descending the Devil’s Kitchen is hard on tired legs but quite rapid.
To complete the walk over Tryfan and the Glyders you should be at least a competent navigator and a confident scrambler. One thing I noted is that it took longer to climb Tryfan in particular than I thought. Picking your way up takes time and even involve the odd retreat.
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