Here’s the official Walk up Snowdon list of the Routes up Snowdon in order of difficulty. We’re including all 8 of the main routes up (anyone who claims there are only 6 doesn’t know Snowdon!) We’ll also try and justify our order – why it’s easier than the previous walk and harder than the next one!
Difficulty is also a subjective word – are we looking at technicality or pure physical effort? We think that all the routes are physically demanding, with the Llanberis path being the longest of the lot – and that’s certainly not the hardest route up Snowdon! We think that the two hardest routes and the two easiest routes are pretty clear cut, but the four in the middle are somewhat more difficult to rank.
The Hardest Route up Snowdon to the Easiest
This one is firmly on the top – no doubt about it. As it’s a grade 1 scramble, it’s by far tougher than all the other main routes up Snowdon. The NE ridge up Crib Goch is the toughest approach, with the usual PYG track approach being next. While they’re not main routes up Snowdon – we think that the next hardest routes would be Y Gribin and then Y Lliwedd – but wer’e not counting them in this list!
No need to justify why it’s easier than Crib Goch, that’s not in question. The final section of this path is what elevates it to 2nd toughest. It’s also physically demanding – with more ascent than any other direct ascent. However – the upper section is currently being built and that might make it slightly easier.
3rd – 6th Hardest Routes up Snowdon
We’re getting into murkier water here – with the next four paths needing a bit of thought. We’re certain that the South Ridge is tougher than the Rhyd Ddu path and that the PYG is tougher going than the Miner’s Track underfoot.
We think of these middle four that the South Ridge Route is the hardest as it is longer and does involve a quieter path with some sections of scrambling and exposure on Bwlch Main. This scrambling isn’t as hard as the inconvenience of the scree on the Watkin Path (which we’re not keen on) – so puts it at the 3rd hardest.
We found this one was difficult – and although the actual distance and ascent is shorter than the Rhyd Ddu path and Miner’s Path we think it’s just about harder. It’s much rougher underfoot however, and we think that this is what you’d need to think about on choosing the PYG. As already mentioned, the technicality of the route should be the most important factor, and that the effort should only be a factor if a route is inordinately longer than another.
The Rhyd Ddu path is largely straightforward except for the section over Bwlch Main – so it’s easier than the PYG for that reason. But with some of the steeper sections and the traverse of Bwlch Main, it edges the Miner’s Track to no 5. Only just, as we considered placing them an equal 5th, but that would be too easy!
If we went on the first half of the route, then this would be the easiest hands down! But the second half is reasonably tough – and we’re not sure if we should average them out – or go on the hardest section of path. We found that deciding between the 5th and 6th position the toughest, as they’ve both got sections that can be deemed difficult. It’s the fact that the Miner’s starts off so easy that puts it at 6th.
This is a straightforward path, and were it not for the steepness of the middle section, it would be classed as our easiest route. The initial section has now been improved – it’s practically a road for the first few kilometres.
It’s generally regarded as the most straightforward route up Snowdon, mainly as the gradient is steady all the way. Despite all that, it’s still the longest route to the top – and by some measures is actually the hardest 😉