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Walking and climbing on Tryfan

Two people out hiking in the snow with a dog are crossing a stile between Tryfan and Glyder Fach, with Nant Ffrancon Pass in the background at Carneddau and Glyderau, Gwynedd.
Climbers crossing a stile between Tryfan and Glyder Fach | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

A 'real' mountain in the Ogwen Valley in north Eryri (Snowdonia), Tryfan is to be admired and respected as it marks the line between hiking and mountaineering and is one of the most recognisable peaks in Britain.

Climbing Tryfan

The summit stands at 917.51 metres, as measured by modern GPS equipment, which confirms it as one of the 14 highest peaks in Wales at over 3,000 feet.

Experienced hillwalkers

Whichever route you choose to go up, you have to use your hands to reach the top, so it’s only recommended for experienced and well-equipped hillwalkers who are looking for a challenge.

Not for beginners

Even the easiest route from Bwlch Tryfan is classed as a grade 1 scramble and the various other routes only increase in difficulty, providing a veritable playground for climbers and mountaineers.

Mountain goats

The feral goats who have made the mountain their home have no difficulty in leaping from rock to rock and they tend to come down to lower ground for shelter when the rain clouds roll in.

Ogwen Cottage

If you venture up the boulder-strewn slopes pay heed to these animals and head for the shelter of our café at Ogwen Cottage if the weather looks bad.

Mountain Rescue team

The nearby Mountain Rescue Team is frequently called out to people lost or stuck in one of Tryfan’s countless gullies. Make sure you stay safe and always be prepared before setting out into the mountains.

Two tall rocks, called Adam and Eve, stand against a blue sky on the summit of Tryfan, Snowdonia, with a blanket of cloud covering the landscape beyond.
Adam and Eve, two rocks on the summit of Tryfan | © National Trust Images/Graham Eaton

The freedom of Tryfan

From a distance Tryfan looks like a vast three ‘headed’ fin of grey rock beside Llyn Ogwen and thus its name, derived from ‘Tri-faen’ – the three rocks – can be best appreciated.

Sion a Siân

On closer inspection, you can see the two summit pillars called Sion a Siân (in Welsh) or Adam and Eve (in English), which present daredevils with the challenge of leaping from one to the other in order to gain ‘the freedom of Tryfan’ – a dangerous feat you should undertake carefully and entirely at your own risk, as the exposure on one side is not to be underestimated.

Everest connection

This mountain has long been revered among climbers and mountaineers and in 1907, the famous British climber and explorer George Mallory made his first two British rock climbs on Tryfan. Mallory attempted to climb Everest in 1924 and sadly died just 245m below the summit along with his climbing partner, ‘Sandy’ Irvine.

Sir Edmund Hilary

The Everest connection was strengthened when it was used as a training ground for Sir Edmund Hillary and his team who tried out oxygen equipment, and practised rescue and safety routines on the mountain, before Sir Edmund and Sherpa Tenzing were the first people to successfully climb Everest on 29 May 1953.

Two people out hiking in the snow with a dog are crossing a stile between Tryfan and Glyder Fach, with Nant Ffrancon Pass in the background at Carneddau and Glyderau, Gwynedd.

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