The Mountain and the South Ridge of Snowdon

I have climbed Snowdon many times and in all kinds of weather but I have to say that this fine autumn day at the end of October was one of the best days out I’ve had on the highest peak in Wales. The route too – that from Rhyd Ddu – shows a side of the mountain different in character from the Llanberis path or the rough and often busy trails from Pen y Pass. On this occasion I opted to follow the South Ridge up and descend by the usual Rhyd Ddu path.

A very worthwile diversion was the ascent of the peak of Yr Aran before heading up the South Ridge. The name means “The Mountain” and it is an impressive peak when seen across the waters of Llyn Gwynant. The route I took roughly follows that shown on the map {faint paths in places – pathless in others) and avoids the crags leading to a clear path up a fine ridge to one of the best summit views in Snowdonia! I had Yr Aran to myself before returning to the col below the South Ridge. A good path branches down to the left and crosses the steep northern slopes.

The South Ridge is probably my favorite way up Snowdon – though that via Y Lliwedd is a close second. This is a quiet, easy and gentle route with one straightforward scramble to add a bit of excitement before crossing the airy ridge of Bwlch Main to reach the familiar summit pyramid. A good path leads across here and while the view down is awesome there are no difficulties if you stay on it.

For the return I recrossed Bwlch Main and descended by the Rhyd Ddu path to my start point. There is now a clear sign post where the two routes diverge and a description of this route can be found by following the above link.

rhyd ddu path snowdon

Here it’s straight on towards Yr Aran and the South Ridge. Left is the Rhyd Ddu path down which we will return to this point

moel hebog near beddgelert

Looking south to Moel Hebog from the summit of Yr Aran

snowdon from Yr Aran

The southern side of Snowdon from the summit of Yr Aran. The route lies directly up the facing ridge to the summit on the left

views of snowdonia

The lower part of the South Ridge lies through this open tussock country with views out towards the Irish Sea

snowdonia views

Looking back down the South Ridge from the approach to the summit with Moel Hebog in the distance

climbing snowdon from rhydd ddu

The arete of Bwlch Main is narrow and airy but is crossed by a good path that avoids any difficulties like those found on nearby Crib Goch

Crib Goch in mist

The eastern part of the Glyderau and the ridge of Crib Goch seen from the summit of Snowdon

Glyders and Carneddau

Looking over Crib y Ddysgl and the glyders to Carnedd Dafydd from the summit of Snowdon

Snowdon Map

The map shows the approximate route taken with the loop being done in an anti clockwise direction. The route as followed was 15.5km or just under 10 miles long and involved 1140m of ascent.


About Pete Buckley

Hi I'm Pete and I'm a UK based outdoor enthusiast, part time writer and photographer. My work includes action adventure novel The Colonel of Krasnoyarsk as well as a couple of travel stories recounting firstly a campervan adventure around New Zealand and then a week on foot in the Swiss Alps, hiking from the Eiger to the Matterhorn. The subject of these pages is predominantly hiking in the English Lake District (which is near where I live), North Wales and the Scottish Highlands as well as cycling; from rides with the kids to trail riding in the Highlands of Scotland and other wonderful places... Thanks for visiting.
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3 Responses to The Mountain and the South Ridge of Snowdon

  1. LensScaper says:

    A beautiful day, for sure, for one of my favourite walks too.


  2. Great post Pete – I agree, the South Ridge is a great approach to Snowdon, probably because it’s a well kept secret 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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