Crib Goch is definitely something special. Known for its knife-edged arête, grade one scrambling and big drops, it’s not for everyone but if you’re a seasoned hillwalker and looking for a challenge then Crib Goch is it.

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The route starts along the Pyg Track which begins and ends from the Pen-y-Pass car park at the top of the Llanberis Pass. Beware this is not a big car park (around 70 spaces) and it’s very popular (and expensive!) so if you want a space on a summer weekend you’ll want to aim to be there before sunrise and even that might not guarantee you somewhere to park on a bank holiday. Parking around Pen-y-Pass is strictly controlled for everyone’s safety so if the car park is full when you arrive don’t even think about trying to park on the roadside as Police regularly patrol the area and tow away what they consider ‘dangerously’ parked vehicles.

The best advice would always be to aim for the main car park (no matter how early you need to start!) but there are other parking options. There’s a large lay-by on the A498 Beddgelert road just up from the Pen y Gwryd hotel and from here there’s a permissive footpath up to Pen-y-Pass which will only add an hour or so on to your day. The other option is the Park and Ride service operating from Nant Peris where there’s a much larger car park and regular buses up to Pen-y-Pass or even parking in Llanberis and using the same bus service. Search online for ‘The Snowdon Sherpa’ for the most up-to-date service information.

At the entrance to the Pen y Pass car park you’ll find toilets and a small cafe which, if open, is worth a visit.

If scrambling up and over Crib Goch isn’t enough of a challenge then why not make complete the Snowdon Horseshoe?

How to climb Snowdon via Crib Goch

From the Pen-y-Pass upper car park look for an obvious tarmac footpath leading away from the far corner. This is the start of the Pyg Track. Very quickly the tarmac stops and the path turns into a more traditional mountain path and then into some nice stone steps. Take your time heading up these as you don’t want to wear yourself out in the first half hour. It’s a very obvious path but there are a few points where you’ll need to clamber over some bigger rocks. Just keep heading in the same general direction and you’ll find yourself back on the path very quickly.

The mountain ridge you see ahead of you is Crib Goch and that’s where you’ll eventually end up but for now stick with the path until it levels out by a stone wall where, if the weather is playing ball, you’ll get your first view of Llyn (lake) Llydaw and Y Lliwedd in the distance, another mountain behind it. This is a good chance to stop, have a drink and a snack. When you’re ready, turn right and immediately right again leaving the Pyg Track and climbing gradually to a stone sign marked ‘Crib Goch’. Scramble over the big rock in your way and follow the obvious path as it leads you towards the mountain. Cross over the style and stick with the path as it bears left and eventually becomes less and less clear.

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At this point route finding becomes more of a challenge and if you’re not used to rock climbing you’re going to need to take extra care. Essentially you’re heading upwards whatever way you can – safely. There will be bits that look like a path and sections where you’ll feel like more of a climber than a walker … that’s scrambling and can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Look for the shiny rock to see where thousands have gone before you but appreciate that you can head up a dozen times and not take the same route twice.

Eventually you’ll not be able to climb any more and find yourself on the Crib Goch ridge stretched out in front of you. There’s really only one way to go now and it’s pretty obvious. The ridge is very narrow in places but relatively easy to walk on. There are parts where you can step to one side and support yourself with a hand and other parts where you’ll find yourself on all fours! But take your time, move at your own pace and don’t let anyone behind intimidate you. Turning back at this point is usually harder than carrying on so stick with it. The actual ridge isn’t that long and before you know it you’re at the end. If you’re able keep looking behind you as the views in all directions are just amazing.