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Tryfan in Snowdonia is a special mountain. At 918 metres, it is by no means the highest in Wales, but it is arguably the most dramatic. When seen from the A5 out of Capel Curig, its rocky crest rises from the valley floor like the back of a stegosaurus. When viewed from Pen Yr Ole Wen, it takes on the visage of an immense shark's fin. It simply must be climbed. At once, it has a come hither look that is curiously coupled with a hint of warning. It has a devilish attraction. Topping its immense ramparts are three distinct summits - hence Try-fan, which means three peaks. Atop the highest peak sit the twin stone monoliths Adam and Eve that mark the summit and the unique challenge to jump between them.


But to get to this distinctive summit some amount of scrambling is required. Tryfan is not a walk. The North Ridge is a classic scrambler's route up the mountain. What really sets it apart is the sheer choice of lines to take through the labyrinth of shattered rock. At its easiest it is grade one scrambling but the more adventures can find themselves tackling much more technical ground. The very crest itself is challenging, with the easier routes to the left and more precarious routes to the right. The freedom is liberating and the exposure is at times exhilarating.


Having traversed the Aonach Eagach recently, I can honestly say that Tryfan contains just as many heart-in-mouth moments, if not more. For the best part of a joyful hour, the scrambling is superb. Time was of the essence on this particular Sunday, so after a hasty ascent of the ridge we descended back to Gwern Gof Uchaf farm and got in the car. How I would have revelled in another ascent of Bristly Ridge on Glyder Fach and a first go on Y Gribin ridge. But as is often said, the mountains will still be around another day...

Tryfan North Ridge

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