Mountain Monday – The Ogwen Valley

For a mountain lover, Snowdonia needs no introduction.

Home to Wales’ highest mountain and a recognised AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), the National Park is a staple for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts.

As the highest peak in Wales and one of the Three Peaks, Snowdon garners much attention, not only from seasoned hikers, but also from tourists looking to get out into the wild. The railway that travels from Llanberis to the summit carries nearly 150,000 passengers annually, opening up the possibility of standing atop one of the UK’s highest points to everyone.

Whilst this is fantastic for opening up the mountains to everyone, and tourism for the National Park, the ease of access makes Snowdon a very, very busy place. Personally, one of the reasons I love the mountains is the tranquillity and the sense of wilderness…

​Not at Snowdon’s summit, however.

Swathes of people queue to take a selfie at the trig point, whilst hundreds more file into the cafe to buy refreshments. Again, this is great as far as inclusion is concerned but it’s not what I want from a day in the mountains. Not at all.

Fortunately, Snowdonia is much larger than its highest point. The surrounding landscape is – in my opinion – even more beautiful and even more challenging, whilst remaining wild at the same time. Just one valley over, the Ogwen Valley is where the real fun is.The dramatic, craggy peaks of Tryfan and the Glyderau loom high above Llyn Ogwen in the valley floor. Hundreds of kilometres of untouched, undisturbed natural beauty waiting to be explored.​“But where do I start?”, I hear you ask.

Tryfan

One of the most iconic mountains in the UK, Tryfan is an absolute must for any mountain lover. A grade one (easiest of the grades) scramble, Tryfan is best approached from the North Ridge for the first time, although there are more technical routes from the East Face.​It’s the first scramble that I did and, I’ve returned over a dozen times.

The canon stone half way up is an unmissable photo opportunity and jumping from Adam to Eve (the two monoliths that stand proud at the top) is said to give you the freedom of Tryfan. 
Although the route begins with a well trodden path, it quickly disappears and picking your route can become a challenge – I’ve not been up the same route twice!

​Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach

Easily added onto the back of Tryfan (for the adventurous), Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach are home to some more magical rock formations – The Cantilever Stone and Castell y Gwynt.

From Ogwen Valley a well marked path towards Cwm Idwal will take you past the lake and up to the stile at Bwlch Tryfan. Ahead you can summit via Gribin (easy pathway) or for the more daring, via Bristly Ridge which can be tackled in two ways: either Sinister Gully or Dexter Gully.

Both gullies offer excellent scrambling, however Dexter Gully has more choss (loose rock and mud) to contend with.

​After topping out, the plateau will be visible, scattered with sharp rock formations. It’s an easy stroll from here over the tops and down via Devil’s Kitchen.

​These are just two of the possible routes in the Glyderau Range, and the nicest thing about this range is that it’s so easy to join the different peaks up.

So next time you’re heading to Snowdonia for a day in the hills, why not bypass the traffic on Snowdon and head for the wild heart of Snowdonia, Ogwen Valley.


This post was written by Eliott Waring from See OutsideFind him online below!
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