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Panorama from the top of Tryfan. Photograph © James Rowcroft

Tryfan and neighbouring parts of the Glyderau are home to a population of feral goats

Tryfan is a mountain in Snowdonia, Wales, forming part of the Glyderau group. It is one of the most recognisable peaks in the region, having a classic pointed shape with rugged crags. At 3,002 feet above sea level it is one of the highest mountains in Wales.

Routes of ascent
All routes of ascent involve easy scrambling. Tryfan is the only mountain on the British mainland, and the only one in the United Kingdom outside the Cuillin of Skye, to require sustained scrambling on the ascent, although there are a number of peaks (notably Helm Crag in the Lake District and The Cobbler in the Scottish Highlands) that involve a scramble to reach the highest point.

Tryfan is most often climbed from the north, as it lies close to the A5 road. A common starting point is about 1.5 km east of Idwal Cottage (a youth hostel). From here a route leads up the rocky north ridge of the mountain, a Grade 1 scramble by the easiest line, although with opportunities for increasing the difficulty if the most direct line is followed throughout. About a third of the way up there is a distinctive rock known as "The Cannon" which points 45 degrees upwards and is visible from the ground on the profile of the mountain.

Tryfan may also be climbed from the south, where it is linked via Bristly Ridge to Glyder Fach. Bristly Ridge also offers good scrambling. Bwlch Tryfan, the saddle between Tryfan and the base of Bristly Ridge, may also be reached by a path leading up from Idwal Cottage to the west, passing through Cwm Bochlwyd. This cwm contains Llyn Bochlwyd, sometimes called "Australia Lake" or "Lake Australia" due to the resemblance of its shape to that country when viewed from above.

The summit of Tryfan is noted for the rocks of Adam and Eve, a pair of rocks some three metres high and separated by about a metre. The rocks are clearly visible from the valley to the north-east, from where they resemble two human figures. It is customary for those climbing Tryfan to jump between the two rocks; in doing so one is said to gain the "Freedom of Tryfan". The exposure on one side is quite great and those without a head for heights are advised not to attempt the step. The rocks are too far apart to stand with a foot on each rock, so it is necessary to leap from one to the other. Adam is not easily scaled being too high and smooth. There is a foothold on Eve which allows you to scramble to the top.

Milestone Buttress
Milestone Buttress at the base of Tryfan is popular location for climbing. The Buttress is about 10 minutes walk from roadside laybys. The most popular route is known as the direct route: there are often queues of people waiting for to climb it. It is 75 m long, and graded Very Difficult. The route was first climbed by G. Barlow and H. Priestly-Smith in 1910.

There is also a popular Grade 3 scramble incorporating the Milestone Buttress. This route is commonly used as an alternative approach to the North Ridge, as is the nearby slabby wedge of Tryfan Bach, on the other side of the mountain.

Photograph © Janice Lane


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