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I had read that hiking Tryfan Mountain in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales, actually meant scrambling up Tryfan. Although I am a keen hiker I had never done a ‘scramble’ before and the 5 hour hike up Tryfan did indeed end up as a scramble and climb up Tryfan rather than a normal hike!
I had read about the different grade scrambles to get to the summit of Tryfan but I had no idea what this really meant and I also didn’t expect the climb to be as terrifying as it was!
So, in this Wales travel blog, I’m going to give you my experience climbing Tryfan from a non-climbers perspective, because even though it was pretty terrifying in some places, it was an amazing.. hike, climb, scramble, whatever you want to call it!
And I feel we did go a bit wrong so I’m going to tell you more about the Tryfan climbing routes we found including the North Ridge, South Ridge including Tryfan directions and Tryfan parking.
Tryfan is the 15th highest mountain in Wales, the height of Tryfan is 917.5 m. It was once voted as Britains favourite mountain by Trail magazine.
Tryfan mountain is famous because of its scrambling route, this is definitely not a normal mountain hike. The pull for people to climb Tryfan is to get hands-on with the rocks and mountains. There’s no way you’ll even do 10 minutes of climbing without getting your hands on the rocks!
Tryfan is also known for its 2 famous and distinct rocks, one called ‘The Cannon’ the other called ‘Adam and Eve’.
Another plus of this hike is the view of the lake below throughout the climb!
Tips for Climbing Tryfan
This was one of the hardest mountains I have climbed, mainly because, this isn’t a hike which is what I usually do, this is a climb!
Secondly because although there are a few routes to the top, when you are on them, the routes are very hard to navigate and certainly not clear.
This meant that we found it hard to stick to the North Ridge and were zig-zagging our way up the mountain and a few times after taking some difficult and tricky climbs up, had to come back down on ourselves (which was even scarier!).
I described it as a roller coaster of emotion because at times it was totally fine, it was physically tiring in some places with all the steps and climbs up, but I did thoroughly enjoy getting my hands on the rocks and actually climbing which is something I had never done before.
However, I quickly went from having fun, to suddenly losing the path, not knowing which way to go and attempting some steep climbs up Tryfan up vertical rocks which was scary!
It also took much longer than I anticipated at 5 hours in total from the car back to the car and with only a short stop at the summit.
My biggest tip is if you are not an experienced climber or hiker, then do not do this hike alone! It could honestly be very dangerous, either through injury and falls climbing, or from getting stuck.
I read that people do get rescued from Tryfan throughout the year via helicopter and I can easily see how this is possible from going the wrong way and then being out of your depth with the climb.
Another trip is that good walking boots or shoes with a grip are needed, I saw some guys in trainers and they definitely struggled more than their friends in boots!
In terms of the best time to climb Tryfan and the Tryfan North Ridge in winter, I can imagine that if it’s icy and snowy then this climb is going to be for experienced climbers only.
I did it in mid-May and there was still a tiny bit of snow at the top. However, it had been raining constantly for weeks and it wasn’t slippery from the rain.
I don’t say this to scare you because I managed it, however, I only managed it because I went with someone who was able to help my short 5ft5 legs get the right footing, help pull me ups parts that I couldn’t get up myself, and someone I could cling into when I felt I was stuck and couldn’t go up or down… which happened in a bad way 3 times in total!
But if you’re still up for it… here’s more information on the actual Tryfan Scramble!
Mount Tryfan is located very close to Mount Snowdon and Glyder Fawr Mountain so it is in a popular area of Snowdonia National Park and it is fairly easy to access from North England and North Wales.
There is no dedicated car park for Tryfan as I’ll explain below so the place you need to set your navigation to is a lake called Llyn Ogwen which the A5 runs past and there is a village called Pont Pen-y-benglog to one end of the lake.
Parking for Tryfan
There are car parks for Tryfan but from what I saw these car parks are also used by people who walk around Llyn Ogwen Lake and visit nearby waterfalls like Ogwen Falls, therefore, if you arrive at lunchtime on a Saturday like we did, they will probably be busy!
To get to the car parks, put the lake called Llyn Ogwen into your navigation or the town called Pont Pen-y-benglog. Halfway along the lake where the A5 runs are 4 different car parks and lay-bys that are each a few meters from each other.
Parking is free and not manned from what I saw but there are cones along the road between the car parks advising you not to park all along the road.
Initially, we thought that because all the car parks were full that there would be lots of people doing the Tryfan climb but we actually only saw about 6 individual small groups of people throughout the whole 5 hours!
- Here are more of my North Wales and Hiking in Wales posts to read afterwards:
- 2 Day North Wales Itinerary Seeing The Best of North Wales!
- 11 Amazing North Wales Glamping Pods with Hot Tubs!
- Climbing Snowdon From The Pen Y Pass Snowdon Route!
- How To Do Pen Y Fan Walk in The Brecon Beacons!
What I found from my experience is that depending on where you park may depend on where you start the hike and that is going to affect a lot of your climb! For us, I think it affected it negatively!
For example, we could only get a space at the furthest car park from Pont Pen-y-benglog. On the map we saw a footpath right to the side of us, we saw footpath signs and we saw tiny looking people climbing up the mountain so we thought, great, we’ll just do that!
This route was not the North Ridge route, this route was 1 of 2 smaller tracks up the side of the mountain that are meant to join the North Ridge, but I don’t think we ever actually joined it! Hence our zig-zagging up and our difficulting finding the main route!
It wasn’t just us that did this though, we saw a few groups plus the people way in front of us, so I guess it’s a common thing to do!
Tryfan Climbing Routes
Tryfan Circular Route
There is a Tryfan circular route, this means that the pathway you come down will be on a different side to the pathway you go up and I do recommend doing a circular route for Tryfan so you can see a complete picture of it!
Below is a Tryfan map for the Circular route as recommended by AllTrails (which I didn’t look at below doing the climb but should have!).
This shows one route but as you can see there are a series of trails and although we did a circular route too, ours was different to this because it’s so hard to find the trails!
This is another Tryfan climbing route but the Tryfan North Ridge to South Ridge walk which as you can see is also a circular walk via AllTrails.
Whichever way you decide to go, from my experience, when looking at the above maps, the routes on the right are much steeper than the routes on the left and although the routes on the right (when looking at the maps) are steeper, I’m glad we did the steep ones up and not down!
Tryfan North Ridge
When it comes to climbing Tryfan and doing the Tryfan Scramble, the North Ridge is the most popular route as this is going to take you up via The Cannon (which we missed!!) and then to the Summit of Tryfan!
On the map, this route is fairly straight but when you are on the route it will still be difficult with lots of rocks to climb and the path is not straight forward.
On the North Ridge, once you find The Cannon’ you will then know you are on the right path for the summit.
Tryfan South Ridge
The South Ridge continues straight from the North Ridge approach at the summit and takes you around and down via a small lake called Llyn Bochlwyd. I didn’t take this route so I can’t comment on how hard it is!
The top of Mount Tryfan is fairly large with many big rocks but they make a flat surface overall and there are plenty of places to sit to take in the 360 view!
At the top ate 2 rocks famously called Tryfan Adam and Eve! It Is possible to climb up on them, if you are brave enough and people do the Adam and Eve jump between the rocks, this is definitely only if you are brave and confident enough!
From the top you can see much better the pathways down and from here you can choose which route is best.
Getting down Mount Tryfan
Finally, to get down, from the summit there are many ways, including the way you came of course, however I want to say that the way we did the descent must be on of the easiest ways as it was much easier than the way we went up.
We took the middle trail in the middle of the Circular route below which took us as straight as possible on Tryfan back down to the road!