Tryfan and the Bristly Ridge

Coming to Snowdonia for the first time I was looking for a walk that would give me a flavour of what this area was about. There is the obvious Snowdon walk, or the Snowdon Horseshoe. There is the Carnedds or the Glyders or possibly Moel Siabod. In the end I decided that the Glyders would be my choice and I’d have a look a Tryfan whilst I was there, if I felt good I would head up that way first. The car park was a little quiet when I started and the path up to Llyn Bochlywd empty, which was a little worrying (had I come the wrong way!!) and before long I was stood at Bwlch Tryfan, looking up at Tryfan or turning to look up Bristly Ridge. I decided Tryfan would be first, mainly because I couldn’t work out how you got up to Bristly Ridge!!!

Tryfan was brilliant, its an amazing looking mountain and as tough a climb as you want it to be. Before long I was back at the col (easier to say than bwlch!!) where I was joined by two mountain leaders from the area, I had also met Liz, from Plymouth as well, on the top of Tryfan and all three wanted to head up the ridge. It would be rude not to tag along!! I have to say I wouldn’t have made it up without Linda and Ted, they were brilliant and Liz helped with the hand grabs above me. However by the time I’d made the top of Glyder Fach I was done, Linda recommended the descent via Gribben ridge, which was steep and a scramble but a quick way down. This put paid to my plans of summitting 1000 metres on Glyder Fawr and returning via the Devils Kitchen. However I returned safe if worn out and Glyder Fawr will be there another day. I have to say, I’ve had a fair few days in the mountains and on the moors of Dartmoor, however nothing prepared me for the amount of leg punishing climbing involved here. I learnt a good lesson in the Glyders to stay within your boundaries and know when you’ve had enough, that said its an amazing place, can’t wait to go back.

Start – Ogwen Cottage car park
Route – Llyn Bochlywd – Bwlch Tryfan – Tryfan – Bwich Tryfan – Bristly Ridge – Glyder Fach – Castle in the Winds – Gribben Ridge – Llyn Idwal – Ogwen Cottage
Distance – 6 miles    Start time – 9am     Time taken –  6hrs    Highest Point – Glyder Fach 994m
Weather – Bright, sunny, some cloud swirling around, bit of breeze on the tops – perfect
Glyder Fach map

© Crown copyright 2016 Ordnance Survey FL 2016 SF

Glyder Fach 1

From the Ogwen Cottage car park with cloud covering the top of Tryfan left and most of Glyder Fach right

Glyder Fach 2

The Glyderau

Glyder Fach 3

Quick look down Llyn Ogwen with cloud on the north ridge of Tryfan

Glyder Fach 4

On the other side of Llyn Ogwen is the steep slopes of Pen yr Ole Wen with Nant Ffrancon the valley to the left

Glyder Fach 5

Glyder Fach starts to clear, Bristly Ridge is on the left hand side

Glyder Fach 6

Looking back to Nant Ffrancon

Glyder Fach 7

Climbing to Bwlch Tryfan with Llyn Bochlywd below (or Lake Australia!)

Glyder Fach 8

Now at the top of Tryfan, looking to Moel Siabod

Glyder Fach 9

The road to Capel Curig far below with Pen Llithrig y Wrach standing out opposite (where do they get these names from!!)

Glyder Fach 10

Standing on the Eve stone looking to the Carnedds (Daffyd middle and Llewellyn far right)

Glyder Fach 11

Having met up with Liz, Linda and Ted we start up the chimney to get to Bristly Ridge, this is looking back to Tryfan

Glyder Fach 12

Up we go, there’s pretty much 400 metres of forward and 250 metres of height gain on this ridge. it’ll take about an hour or so

Glyder Fach 13

Looking back down the first part, Tryfan behind. At this point I stowed the cameras away as 4 points of contact were needed for most of the rest of the way. Over some extremely steep drops!

Glyder Fach 14

Popping out at the top of Bristly Ridge, Glyder Fach summit ahead

Glyder Fach 15

In my excitement I past by the Cantelever stone!! Here looking to Moel Siabod

Glyder Fach 16

Y Garn to the left with fantastic views along Nant Ffrancon to Angelsey and the sea

Glyder Fach 17

Similar direction with the Carnedds on the right and Pen Yr Ole Wen

Glyder Fach 18

Further right and the top of Tryfan is in view

Glyder Fach 19

And not forgetting the Snowdon range, fabulous blue sky above and the Irish Sea beyond

Glyder Fach 20

Looking south, with Cader Idris in the far distance

Glyder Fach 21

After a rest we headed for the Castle in the Winds, ahead. Glyder Fawr is beyond that (not today though). With Snowdon the high peak to the left

Glyder Fach 22

After rounding the Castle in the Winds, we found the cairn at the top of the Gribben Ridge and headed down. All the time great views along the Nant Ffrancon, with Llyn Idwal to the left of our ridge

Glyder Fach 23

Y Garn stands at 947 metres but that will be for another day also

Glyder Fach 24

The Bristly Ridge, the drops in the ridge are tough to get down, although you can traverse around, whilst hanging on above a drop!! A brilliant place!

Glyder Fach 25

The mighty Tryfan above Llyn Bochlywd

Glyder Fach 26

Glyder Fach summit left, with Castle in the Winds centre, the top of the Gribben Ridge on the right

Glyder Fach 27

Heading down to Llyn Idwal. Y Garn in view beyond

Glyder Fach 28

Y Garn again, with the Devils Kitchen to the left in shade

Glyder Fach 29

Down at Llyn Idwal with Glyder Fawr towering above. All that was left was the simple walk back to the cottage and the car park.

Glyder Fach 30

In the car on the way back I stopped to take this picture of Tryfan (the heather terrace is the line runing up right to left) and Glyder Fach and Bristly Ridge behind to the left

14 thoughts on “Tryfan and the Bristly Ridge

    • It was fab, I’m definitely going back, the north face of Tryfan will be on the list, I’ll skip Bristly Ridge and walk around via the miners path and hopefully get over to Glyder Fawr next time!! Thanks for the link, always good to see people’s routes up, after all there are so many!

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  1. What gorgeous views, and your photos are great! I have to admit I find the hike pretty intimidating, although it looks like it would be worth it for those views.

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    • The views were amazing and I had to stop and pinch myself a number of times when seeing what I was looking at. Bristly Ridge is punishing on the legs, I got cramp 2/3rds up and had to stop and drink some water and stretch my muscles a fair bit. It seems to go on and on but I’m glad I’ve done it, thankfully I had help on this occasion but if I was alone I would take the longer miners path which heads east and around the bad stuff. Glad you liked the photos although when the scenery is that good it would be hard not to take a good photo!

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  2. Fabulous day, especially the start with the clouds hugging the summit. You’d enjoy the North Ridge of Tryfan. Superb easy scrambling and a lot less exposed than Bristly. The Miners track option around Bristly is a fine walk in its own right. You had a great day on one of the UK’s classic mountain circuits, nice one! 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Sunset on Combestone Tor | treksandtors

  4. Hi Steve.
    I recently came back from an exhilarating break in Snowdonia where we climbed Snowdon, Carnedd Llywelyn and Y Garn via the Devil’s Kitchen.
    Like you, I can’t wait to go back and while planning our possible next walks, I came across your website which is great and really informative.
    You absolutely made the right choice in heading first for the Glyders and credit to you for climbing Tryfan…that’s a tough peak and one which I really think is beyond me…
    I hope you do get a chance to return and if you do, as you’ve already done the Bristly Ridge and Glyder Fach but you’d still like to reach Glyder Fawr, can I suggest you next take the route we did.
    This was to climb to Y Garn via the Devil’s Kitchen ( It’s a scramble but, by the sound of it, nowhere near as arduous as the Bristly Ridge)
    When you reach the top of the cliffs you’ll be richly rewarded with the most idyllic place which is Llyn y Cwn, an isolated and tranquil lake perfect as a resting place.
    From there you can easily head directly for Glyder Fawr without having to retrace the path you already took previously.
    Going up and then returning to Llyn y Cwm should take you just over one hour after which you can head directly for Y Garn which is another easy climb.
    The views looking north towards Anglesey are stunning.
    From Y Garn you can descend back to Llyn Idwall via the spur heading west past Llyn Clyd on your right.
    All in all, the only ‘tough’ part is the initial climb up the Devil’s Kitchen and the whole walk should take around six hours.
    If you are tempted next time to ‘conquer’ Snowdon, I will only say that of the three trecks we did, it was the least rewarding purely because of the hordes of people around you.
    Hope you get your wish to return !!
    On a different note…
    We are planning to next take the route you took from Ogwen Cottage to Bwlch Tryfan (avoid climbing Tryfan) and head for Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr.
    The climbing of the Bristly Ridge concerns me as I really don’t have a head for heights.
    There is apparently a way around the ridge using a scree path to the left of it.
    Did you see this path and how sheer was the drop beside it??I would probably be ok if the drop was at an angle and not ‘straight down’ but I would really appreciate your thoughts on it !
    Thank you and happy exploring !!

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    • The scree path is obvious. Stand beside the wall and the stile over it and look up, you will clearly see the scree. I’ve heard people join the Bristly Ridge from the scree, and the two run parallel so if you fancy doing part of it, it could be possible. Otherwise just follow the scree up the ridge, the drop of to the left is gentle in comparison and not exposed. Having done Devil’s kitchen I reckon you’ll be fine on the scree. Glyder Fach is a great place, don’t forget the cantilever stone as I did in the haste to reach the summit!! Good luck and thank you for the kind comments.

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      • Thank you for your very swift reply…!
        …and all the detailed info.
        All very very useful and reassuring and with the ridge ‘obstacle’ removed we can only look forward to our next trek to the Glyders and we will of course look out for the Cantilever.
        I hope you also get a chance to return to enjoy such a great place !!

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  5. I’m so glad North Wales treated you so well. There are some fantastic routes around here, some look easier than they actually are and it’s common for people to misjudge and then rely on MR to come and get them! There’s an area called Capel Curig (one of my favorites) which has lovely walks, not as steep as these but you have the likes of mini mountain Crimpiau which offers beautiful views of the Horseshoe etc. Come back soon!

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  6. Hi Christine,
    I hope you’ll give it a go on one of the easier climbs.
    The hike up the Devil’s Kitchen isn’t really so bad…!
    Believe me, I’m only reasonably fit, don’t particularly have a head for heights and as long as you go with other companions, on a clear day and take it slow you should be fine…
    The reward at the top is a place and a feeling you’ll never forget! The climb then onto Y Garn is easy and the way down from there so enjoyable if again you take it easy.
    Do go with others and take your time…
    Hope you get to enjoy it!!
    P.

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