North Wales Scrambling Course – Level 1

Fitness level
Tech level
Number of guiding days
2
Guiding ratio
1:2

On our North Wales scrambling course, we enjoy two days of brilliant technical grade 2 and 3 scrambling in the Snowdonia National Park.  If you’ve enjoyed some easier unroped scrambles, then this is the logical next step and a perfect opportunity to learn ropework and safety skills from a professional mountain guide.  North Wales is one of the best places for scrambling anywhere in the Uk, with dozens of buttresses, ridges and crags to explore and if you dream of climbing in the Alps one day, the course is also a good starting point, as many of the skills and techniques are similar.

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£295

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Trip overview

On our North Wales scrambling course, we enjoy two days of brilliant technical grade 2 and 3 scrambling in the Snowdonia National Park.  If you’ve enjoyed some easier unroped scrambles, then this is the logical next step and a perfect opportunity to learn ropework and safety skills from a professional mountain guide.  North Wales is one of the best places for scrambling anywhere in the Uk, with dozens of buttresses, ridges and crags to explore and if you dream of climbing in the Alps one day, the course is also a good starting point, as many of the skills and techniques are similar.

Dates and Availability

Dates are by arrangement, from April to October – please contact us with your preferred dates and we will confirm availability. You can join this trip as a ready made team of 2 along with a friend or partner, or you can also join as a single person, in which case we will team you up with someone on the same dates to form a team of 2. The price of this trip is £295 per person.

NB If you are interested in a trip with a different duration, or a private bespoke itinerary, then please visit our North Wales rock climbing private guide page.

Please visit our Covid-19 Climb Information page for Covid FAQs, details of our new participation requirements, travel advice and what to expect on your trip.

Download factsheet (PDF)

Trip Info

Scrambling covers the middle ground between hill walking and rock climbing, moving quickly and efficiently up broken rocky terrain – take a look at our Uk scrambling advice article for more info about scrambling grades and what’s involved.  On the course we enjoy two days of classic scrambling and skills training in the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales, based around Capel Curig and visiting nearby venues on Tryfan, Ogwen and the Glyders.  The aim of the course is to give you experience on technical grade 2-3 scrambling terrain, whilst teaching ropework and movement skills for protecting them.  The course is also a good foundation for future visits to the Alps either with a guide or on your own, as many of the techniques and skills are similar.

Each course is tailored and personalised to your own requirements; so if you want to learn as much as possible over the two days, or enjoy a more relaxed guided climbing experience, then just let us know and we’ll plan accordingly!

Any items of specialist safety equipment that you need are also included in the cost (eg helmet, harness etc) and afterwards, we’ll send you plenty of great photos and video of your trip to share with family and friends.

  • Fully qualified IFMGA British Mountain Guide
  • Everyone welcome!
  • Equipment hire included
  • Photos and videos of your trip

The itinerary described below is a typical plan for the course, but we regularly vary itineraries and objectives to suit your ambitions and the weather.


Suitability

This is an introductory level 1 course. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 2 and Tech Level 1 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines). Previous grade 1 scrambling experience is useful, though not essential and good all round fitness for UK hill walking.  If you have some basic climbing experience, then we may also be able to cover some more advanced techniques as appropriate.


Guiding ratio

On classic grade 2-3 scrambles, we work at 1:2 max ratio

ifmga british mountain guides

All our UK guides are fully qualified IFMGA guides and members of British Mountain Guides, the professional association for mountain guides in the UK – meet some of our  team here.  Only a small number of guides working in the UK are holders of the IFMGA guides carnet, which is the highest professional qualification in mountaineering.

In terms of added value, climbing with an IFMGA guide is a great option if you want to learn from someone with the widest possible range of experience, or you aspire to/are already obsessed with winter or Alpine climbing!  We work worldwide on rock, ice, glaciers and ski – so we can offer training, advice and recommendations for all your future plans, whatever and wherever they may be.


Included in price

  • All guides fees and expenses
  • Local travel in guides vehicle to complete the itinerary
  • Use of communal technical equipment eg ropes and climbing hardware
  • Hire of personal equipment including harness, helmet and belay equipment

Excluded from price

  • Your travel to North Wales
  • Your accommodation and food

Accommodation

You are responsible for organising your own accommodation within meeting range of Capel Curig – we are happy to make some recommendations to suit your budget. Top recommendations depending on budget:

  • Betws Y Coed, Capel Curig and Llanberis for a huge range of hotels, B&B’s, bunk barns and self catering options.
  • There are numerous good campsites throughout the area; check Google for reviews and info.

We are happy to coordinate accommodation with the team and offer a pickup each morning, or if you prefer to travel in your own vehicle we can meet at the climbing venue.

Detailed Itinerary

Meet Up Point and Briefing

Your guide will liaise with you to arrange a meet up point on the first morning of the trip – this will either be near Capel Curig, or the venue for the first days’ scrambling.  Here we will run through safety routines and kit checks, as well as hand out any rental equipment – before going on to discuss plans and the current weather and mountain conditions.

We’ll also have maps and guidebooks to show you, so if you’ve any further questions or last minute requests, then this is the ideal time to bring them up before we head out on the hill.


Skills Training

Each course is carefully planned to maximise hill time and we always incorporate skills training into real days out on the mountain – as moving over a wide variety of different terrain is the best (and most enjoyable!) way to build your skills, confidence and experience.

Topics covered include:

  • Risks and hazards of scrambling
  • Safety equipment
  • Planning and route choice
  • Navigation and route finding
  • Spotting and protecting short steps
  • Basic ropework
  • Selecting anchors and protecting difficulties
  • Moving together and short pitching

Scrambling Days

Two days enjoying classic grade 2 and 3 scrambles around Snowdonia.  Venues are chosen to make best use of the current weather and enjoyable outings for the team.  Possible venues include:

Tryfan

north wales scrambling - on the summit of tryfan

Tryfan is a scramblers dream, being covered in great routes of all grades.  The famous Grade 1 North Ridge sees most of the traffic, leaving plenty of space to explore numerous more technical scrambles all over the mountain, many of which can be linked together to make a longer day – topped off for the brave by making the leap between Adam and Eve, the two great summit blocks on Tryfan.

  • Milestone Buttress Approach 3
  • Milestone Continuation 3
  • Tryfan Bach 3
  • Bastow Buttress 2/3
  • No’ Nor’ Buttress 3
  • Pinnacle Scramble 3S

Ogwen and The Glyders

practicing ropework on a north wales scrambling courseCwm Ogwen and the surrounding ridges and buttress leading up to the Glyders above provide a great variety of first class technical scrambling.  The routes are long and varied, offering plenty of opportunities for practicing short pitching, belaying and other essential ropework skills.

  • Idwal Slabs Approaches 1-3
  • Cneifon Arete 3
  • Dolmen Ridge 3
  • Shark Buttress 3

Like on Tryfan, several routes can be linked together in one day to reach the summit of Glyder Fach, where we make an obligatory photo stop at the famous Cantilever Stone.


Yr Wyddfa

looking back along crib goch a classic north wales scramble

Snowdon and the surrounding peaks of Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl and Lliwedd are home to some of the most popular scrambles in the Uk.

However, there are some excellent and far quieter ways to climb in the area.  One such is the Clogwyn y Person Arete, a superb grade 3 scramble high up in Llanberis Pass, which leads directly up onto Crib y Ddysgl.

From here, the usual descent is to traverse Crib Goch from West to East and drop back down to the valley.

Day 2 PM – roundup of the trip, feedback, advice for the future and farewells.

Location and Travel

The trip is based around Capel Curig in central Snowdonia.  From here we have easy access to all the main climbing venues around the National Park.  You need to arrange accommodation close to or within easy driving distance of Capel Curig, so that you can make daily meet ups and reach the various climbing venues.


Travel

  • Road – Snowdonia can easily be reached by car via the A55, which runs along the North coast of Wales – use Google Maps or the RAC or AA online route planners for the best route to your accommodation.
  • Train – Trains run to Betws Y Coed (change at Llandudno junction) and Bangor (connecting bus service to Llanberis).
  • Bus – Bus services are available to and throughout the Snowdonia National Park.

Fitness and Experience

To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 2, and Tech Level 1 (as appropriate for the style of climbing on this trip ie Alpine, rock climbing or ice climbing).

Fitness Level 2
You do 2-3 hours CV training/sport per week. At this level you should be happy doing either a 3-4 hour hillwalk, cycling 30-40 miles or mountain biking 2-3 hours without being exhausted. Eg: you should be able to walk from Ogwen Cottage in North Wales up Glyder Fach – Glyder Fawr – Y Garn – Ogwen in ~5hrs. Or in the Lake District Langdale – Bowfell – Esk Pike – Angle Tarn – Langdale in ~ 6hrs.


Tech Level 1
Hillwalker/scrambler. You have UK hillwalking and perhaps summer UK scrambling, or European via ferrata experience – but no rock or ice climbing, or previous alpine mountaineering experience.

To view all climbing Technical and Fitness Levels, and for advice on trip preparation and training, please visit our training advice page.

Equipment

UK Scrambling Kit List

Above all, your kit needs to do the job but be as light as possible. Lightweight breathable fabrics are ideal for waterproofs, which are carried as often as worn (hopefully!).

Technical Clothing

  • Waterproof jacket – lightweight breathable model
  • Overtrousers – with side zips
  • Socks – warm pair, plus lighter pair and spares
  • Thermal tops/t-shirts – made of synthetic materiel (ie not cotton!)
  • Softshell jacket – or equivalent light insulating layer
  • Mountain trousers – light/mid-weight trekking or climbing trousers (leggings are Ok in good weather)
  • Thin gloves – windproof ‘hardfleece’ model is good
  • Hat or Buff – must fit under a helmet
  • Spare warm layer – fleece or lightweight synthetic jacket

Personal Items

  • Water Container – at least 1 litre
  • Headtorch
  • Map, compass, whistle (optional, but a good idea)
  • Personal medications and blister kit – zinc oxide tape, compeed, ibuprofen etc
  • Sun Glasses
  • Sun cream
  • Sun hat
  • Shorts and t-shirt

Technical Equipment

  • Rucsac 30/40l is perfect for general use
  • *Approach shoes or mountain boots – see notes below
  • Climbing Harness – with locking karabiner and belay device
  • 120cm sling and locking karabiner
  • Climbing helmet

Other Equipment

Depending on the trip, these may be ‘nice to have’ or ‘required’ items – see individual joining instructions.

  • Trekking poles
  • Camping gear if you choose to camp in the valley

Your guide will have ropes, climbing safety equipment, first aid and survival equipment.

*Footwear for scrambling is an important consideration – trekking shoes or walking boots are fine for easier scrambles and whilst you are getting into the sport, but a pair of climbing approach shoes (especially ones with ‘sticky rubber’) or reasonably stiff 3/4 season B2 mountaineering boots will perform much better on rockier sections and trickier terrain. Footwear specifically designed for scrambling, or for via ferratas are also a good option. If you are thinking of investing in a pair of boots with a view to getting into mountaineering, then read our axe, boot and crampon advice article and get some expert advice (we can highly recommend Backcountry Uk, who are one of the country’s leading boots fitters and always offer friendly advice and a high level of service).


Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website or our blog for equipment advice. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!

Purchasing Equipment
Backcountry UK in Otley offer an excellent walking boot fitting service and general equipment advice.

Hiring Equipment
It’s best to have your own rock climbing shoes so you can get a proper fit, but if you need to hire some please get in touch. Other safety equipment can also be hired from us (subject to availability) – please see our Equipment Hire page for details.


Insurance

For UK residents – we strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury.

For non UK residents – search and rescue is currently free in the UK, but you may be charged by the NHS for certain treatments, and you should also consider the need for emergency repatriation in the event of a serious illness/accident. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury.

Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.

Please find further details on our insurance info page.

Book Now

£295