10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – UK

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – UK Described as somewhere between hiking, hillwalking, mountaineering, and rock climbing. Scrambling is a fantastic and exciting activity for a day in the hills. Graded from Grade 1 (described by the BMC as “essentially an exposed walking route” where there are some knee-shaking sections, but nothing that needs ropes or protection), to Grade 3 (often ‘Moderately’ graded climbing where the use of the rope is necessary for several sections), there really is something for everyone.

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Have you always wanted to try scrambling, but aren’t sure where to start? Or are you a well-versed scrambler, looking for your next big challenge? We’ve pulled together our 10 favourite scrambles in North Wales so you can get inspired for your next scrambling adventure.

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – UK

Llech Ddu Spur – Carnedd Dafydd

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – Jurassic Climbing This stunning Grade 1 scramble is hidden on the northern side of the Carneddau. It’s remote, boasts stunning views, and the best part? It’s virtually unheard of, unlike many grade 1 scrambles that are often overrun, no matter the day or season. Llech Ddu Spur might be North Wales’ best kept secret. As is to be expected with a secret scramble, the walk in is a pretty long slog. There is also the challenge of navigating this route, as it has not been well-trodden and there’s no obvious path to reach the ridge. Do your research and ensure you find the correct line of approach. Once you’re on the ridge, you’ll be in for a spectacular treat!

Bristly Ridge – Glyder Fach

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – Jurassic ClimbingBristly Ridge is a fantastic day out in itself. Or can be experienced as an extension of Tryfan’s North Ridge Route. Whichever option you choose, you’re guaranteed to have an incredible time on this grade 1 scramble. This route can be exposed, but there are plenty of lovely hand holds, including all the way up Sinister Gully, which is the main approach to the ridge. Once on the ridge, it remains moderate and an awful lot of fun. With good placements, and the only section that can be considered a “crux” is the down-climb from the Great Pinnacle Gap. 

Pinnacle Ridge – Pen yr Ole Wen

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – Jurassic ClimbingPinnacle Ridge is a short and sweet grade 2 scramble, on one of the sharp ribs of Pen yr Ole Wen’s south-westerly slope. With distinctive pinnacles, an ascent that’s a slog over scree and no easy track on the way up, this makes for an exciting, shorter day. Although the ridge isn’t hugely technically difficult, it is incredibly exposed and has definitely earned its status of being a stunning, very short and occasionally knee-wobbling route.

Bastow Buttress – Tryfan

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – Jurassic ClimbingBastow Buttress provides an exciting, full-day scrambling experience, graded at 2. The scramble is to the right of Bastow Gully, where you’ll need to find a 45-degree gap in the rock and take a tough step up onto the ridge itself. The goal for the end of this scramble is Tryfan’s stunning North Ridge, where the descent begins.

Idwal Staircase – Cwm Idwal

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – Jurassic ClimbingIdwal Staircase is a half-day grade 2+ scramble in the stunning Cwm Idwal area. The walk in is short and pleasant, and then things get super exciting the moment Idwal Staircase is reached. More often than not, there is considerable dampness on the rocks, and sometimes even a stream runs down the rock face. About 10 metres up, there is also a considerable overhang, and those with less experience may want to consider roping up at this point of the scramble. This is a dramatic route with stunning surroundings, guaranteed to bewitch even the most experienced of scramblers. 

West Face Direct – Tryfan

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – Jurassic ClimbingTryfan’s West Face is a challenging and remarkably fun grade 2+ scramble, not for the faint-hearted. As with all routes on Tryfan, the approach is fairly easy with just a short walk from the many car parks in the area. There are many scrambles and climbs on the West Face, due to the sheer amount of broken rock faces that will surely tempt you to climb them. Most of the routes here fall in the grey area between scramble and rock climb, depending on which route you take, your ability, confidence and of course, the weather conditions.

Atlantic Ridge – Carnedd y Filiast

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – Jurassic ClimbingThe Atlantic Ridge on Carnedd y Filiast is a total classic, and also listed as the longest and “finest scramble in the whole of Wales”. This is also listed as a grade 3 scramble or moderate rock climb, known simply as “The Ridge”. Most scramblers want to tackle this route in roped pitches, which takes around 2-3 hours, with an hour for the walk-in, and an hour for the descent. This route is best enjoyed when completely dry, so you can focus on the stunning route and the gorgeous, far-reaching views all around the ridge.

Cneifion Arete – Cwm Cneifion

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – Jurassic ClimbingOften listed as “the best scramble in Snowdonia”, the Cneifion Arete is most definitely not to be missed. This is a grade 3. Ropes and protection are highly recommended for your safety on this route. At the beginning of the route, many of the holds are incredibly polished. So unless you’re super confident, wait for a dry day when the holds are less likely to be slippery. This is a super satisfying, classic route that will capture the hearts of all scramblers that complete it.

Dolmen Ridge – Glyder Fach

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – Jurassic ClimbingAnother contender for the best scramble in North Wales, the Dolmen Ridge has even been awarded the accolade of being a “Tolkien-esque”. With landscapes and routes worthy of the magical Middle Earth comparison. This is an incredible grade 3 route which can be followed by the Cneifion Arete mentioned above. This is an exciting and visually stunning route that will live in your memory for years to come. With a fairly easy approach and an action-packed ridge route.

The Snowdon Horseshoe – Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl, Snowdon, Lliwedd 

10 Great Rock Scrambles in North Wales – Jurassic ClimbingThe Snowdon Horseshoe, with the famous classic Crib Goch, is a breath-taking grade 1 scramble and arguably the hardest route to summit Snowdon. This is an exposed and difficult route that absolutely should not be underestimated with its low grading, although competent scramblers will have no problems throughout this exciting route. Even still, in the wet weather, Crib Goch is best to be avoided and attempted with a good weather window. 

Are you interested in improving your scrambling and climbing skills, but aren’t sure where to get started? That’s where we come in! As well as our indoor coaching we also run outdoor coaching and instruction courses which can be found at – www.jurassicclimbing.co.uk/coaching/

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