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Tryfan - - 1454299.jpg
Highest point
Elevation 917.5 m (3,010 ft) [1]
Prominence 191 m (627 ft)
Parent peak Glyder Fawr
Listing Marilyn Hewitt, Welsh 3000, Nuttall
Translation three peaks / tops [2] (Welsh)
Pronunciation Welsh: [ˈtrʌvæn]
Location Conwy, Wales
Parent range Snowdonia
OS grid SH664593
Topo map OS Landranger 115 / Explorer OL17

Tryfan is a mountain in the Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia, Wales. It forms part of the Glyderau group, and is one of the most famous and recognisable peaks in Britain, having a classic pointed shape with rugged crags. At 917.5 m (3,010 ft) above sea level it is the fifteenth highest mountain in Wales.

Between the mid-1980s and June 2010, its accepted height was 915 m (3,002 ft). However it was resurveyed using accurate GPS measurements and found to be 2.4 metres (eight feet) higher.[1] Until the 1980s, Ordnance Survey maps gave its height as 917.5 m (3,010 ft), and so the new measurement confirms that the earlier survey was correct.

Routes of ascent[edit]

There are many routes of ascent, ranging from easy ridge scrambling, to long mountaineering rock climbs on the east face. Tryfan is one of the very few mountains in Great Britain, apart from the Cuillin of Skye, to require the use of hands (as well as feet) on the ascent. However 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.

Jumping from Adam to Eve at the summit of Tryfan

Tryfan is most frequently climbed via its north ridge, which starts close to the A5 road, about 1.5 km east of Idwal Cottage (a youth hostel) or Ogwen Cottage (an outdoor pursuits centre). From here a route leads directly up the ridge, a Grade 1 scramble by the easiest line. The difficulty can be increased considerably if the most direct line is followed throughout; particularly in the upper sections of the ridge. About a third of the way up there is a distinctive rock known as "The Cannon" which points upwards at 45 degrees and is visible from the valley.

Tryfan may also be climbed by the south ridge, also a Grade 1 scramble, which links the mountain (via Bristly Ridge) to Glyder Fach. The route begins at Bwlch Tryfan, the col between Tryfan and Bristly Ridge. The col is 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" [3] due to the resemblance of its shape to that country.

Tryfan seen from Ogwen Cottage on the A5 road

The summit of Tryfan is famous for the twin monoliths of Adam and Eve, a pair of rocks some three metres high and separated by 1.2 metres. The rocks are visible from the Ogwen valley, from where they resemble two human figures.

It is traditional for those climbing Tryfan to tackle the spectacular and risky "step" 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. Adam is not easily scaled being high and smooth. There is a foothold on Eve which allows the climber to scramble to the top. Two prominent pillar-like boulders are visible on the skyline midway through the approach to the summit via the South ridge. As these can be mistaken for Adam and Eve from a distance, they have become known as Cain and Abel, continuing the biblical theme.

Milestone Buttress[edit]

Milestone Buttress at the base of Tryfan is a 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 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.

Milestone Buttress, eastern side. The direct route is highlighted.
Tryfan and neighbouring parts of the Glyderau are home to feral goats .[4]


  1. ^ a b "Survey adds 8ft to Tryfan mountain's height". BBC News. June 24, 2010. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Terry Batt (1994). Place-names in the 3000ft Mountains of Wales. Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. ISBN 978-0-86381-282-8. 
  3. ^ Joe Brown website
  4. ^ Nigel Spencer. "Tryfan". 


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°06′54″N 3°59′51″W / 53.11494°N 3.99753°W / 53.11494; -3.99753