Snowdon's horseshoe may have the majesty, but Ogwen's own circular classic boasts more and better scrambling. With its architectural rock scenery and endlessly varied ground this lap of Cwm Bochlwyd has to be the best low-grade hands-on route in Wales. The circuit covers all the main highlights of the central Glyderau: a full scrambling traverse of Tryfan via its north and south ridges; the alpine-esque clambering on Bristly Ridge; the high mountain moonscapes of Glyders Fach and Fawr; monumental rock features like The Cantilever and Castell y Gwynt; and the scrambly crest of Y Gribin ridge.
A direct ascent out of this gap is grade 2, while an easier line slants right to gain a gully which leads to Tryfan's North Summit. Beyond a rock-strewn saddle is the main Central Summit, with its weird twin rocks Adam and Eve (which is whom?); it's traditional (but not compulsory) to stride from one to the other.
Below the rocky upper crest the ridge gets greener and wider. Cross a grassy area above the famous Cneifion Arête, then follow an obvious path down to a trail T-junction.
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Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
Total ascent: 1,007m
Steepest Gradient: 82% (1 in 1)
Time: 5 hours (Walking)
Layby by the A5 just below the climber’s venue of the Milestone Buttress – more roadside parking available towards Idwal Cottage, SH662603
Clear, well-used paths throughout, sometimes eroded and rubbly. There is a significant amount of scrambling on this route, most notably on the north ridge of Tryfan, on Bristly Ridge and in the descent of the Gribin Ridge. Difficulties can often be varied to suit, especially in the ascent of Tryfan, but it's still grade 1 by the easiest variations.
True winter conditions are rare, but if you're lucky enough to have them then this is an excellent mountaineering round with some grade II climbing on Tryfan and the Bristly Ridge if you go looking for it.
Weather and Hill Conditions: mwis: Snowdonia – Met Office: Snowdonia
Regular buses link Capel Curig and Bethesda, and these stop at Ogwen. See http://www.gwynedd.gov.uk/gwy_doc.asp?do... for details of the Snowdon Sherpa service.
The Ridges of England, Wales and Ireland, Dan Bailey, pb.Cicerone http://www.cicerone.co.uk/product/detail... Mountain and Hill Walking in Snowdonia vol1, Carl Rogers, pb. Mara Books http://www.marabooks.co.uk/
OS Explorer 263 (1:25,000), OS Explorer OL17 (1:25,000), Harvey/BMC Snowdonia (1:40,000), OS Landranger 115 (1:50,000), OS Landranger 114 (1:50,000)
Idwal Cottage YHA 0845 371 9744; Capel Curig YHA 0845 371 9110; Caban Cysgu bunkhouse in Gerlan, Bethesda 01248 605 573; Gwern Gof Uchaf campsite and bunkhouse 01690 720294, Gwern Gof Isaf campsite and bunkhouse 01690 720276
by Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com