Crib Goch

(pronounced ‘Creeb Goch’ , with ‘Goch’ as in Scottish ‘loch’)

The ridge of Crib Goch (‘Red Ridge’) reaches to 3,028 ft (923m), and is the peak seen from Pen y Pass, being often mistaken for Snowdon summit.

This route is not just a ridge walk, but also a grade 1 scramble, and as such should not be underestimated; in part it goes along a narrow, exposed knife-edge ridge with 1,000 feet of drop on either side, and traversing the Pinnacles afterwards is also a challenge. This route offers some of the most exposed scrambling in Britain, and as such is unsuitable for most people who just want to walk up Snowdon, and is certainly not recommended for those who are new to mountain walking.

It is usually approached via its East Ridge from the Pyg Track (bear off at Bwlch y Moch, a mile up from Pen y Pass, the start of the path), and is traversed from east to west, on to Carnedd Ugain and then onto Snowdon’s summit. Once the scramble up from Bwlch y Moch is started, you’re pretty much committed; descending is probably more dangerous than continuing on. (Indeed, traversing the other way along Crib Goch is not advised; apart from meeting everyone coming the other way, that initial scramble up to the ridge from Bwlch y Moch is particularly dangerous going down.)

Crib Goch North Ridge and the main ridge (centre), with the Pinnacles (right), seen from the Llanberis Pass

(People who are familiar with Striding Edge in the Lake District often ask how the two compare. Both are long narrow ridges with steep drops on either side, both are grade 1 scrambles, and both are of a similar technical difficulty. However, Crib Goch is more exposed so requires more care and should be undertaken slowly. It also offers few escape routes, unlike Striding Edge. All in all, Crib Goch could be considered a bigger version of Striding Edge.)

The ridge section

Note:  Crib Goch should not be attempted in adverse weather conditions; ideally it should be undertaken in dry conditions with very little wind (i.e. gusting at well under 30mph; winds over 32 mph are defined as a ‘gale’, which just wouldn’t be safe). The Llanberis Mountain Rescue team advise that this route is extremely dangerous and should not be attempted by beginners or novice walkers – accidents are common, and every year people have to be rescued from Crib Goch; many get cragfast – unable to move through fear – and sadly almost every year sees fatalities too. Dogs should not be taken on this route.

If conditions deteriorate while on Crib Goch, it is possible to take a route down from Bwlch Coch on the south side. A poor path heads west along the hillside, from where it is possible to descend to the Pyg Track upwards of the Intersection with the Miners Track, or the path can also be followed to the top bend of the Zig-zags on the Pyg Track. (This path is known as the Goat Path.)

If your party splits at Bwlch y Moch, with some continuing on the Pyg Track, and others heading up Crib Goch, note that although the two routes are largely similar in length, those on Crib Goch will probably take the best part of an hour longer to reach Bwlch Glas, where both paths meet, some ⅓ mile before the summit.

Carnedd Ugain and Crib Goch, viewed from near the summit

Crib Goch forms the northern half of the Snowdon Horseshoe, which continues on past the summit and over Y Lliwedd.

The Crib Goch route (red) from Bwlch y Moch, where it branches off the Pyg Track (green).  (Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2024)

There are a couple of good accounts of the Crib Goch route on this external BMC website and also on this one.

The ascent of Crib Goch from Pen y Pass, as described above, is via the popular East Ridge. If you wish to ascend by the more challenging North Ridge from the Llanberis Pass and Cwm Glas, you can read about it on this external website and also on this external website, plus on our page where it is also linked with the Fox’s Path.

The new Crib Goch warning signs

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