What is scrambling? In short, scrambling is exciting, it’s airy, it’s exposed, it’s exhilarating, and most of all it’s simply a GREAT way to ascend a mountain. It is almost easier to describe what it isn’t. It isn’t just hill walking, it isn’t as technical as rock climbing. Scrambling lies in that grey area between hill walking and rock climbing. It is where you head out to the mountains equipped for a day of walking, but you look for lines to the tops that will allow for some clambering and climbing on the rocks – but hopefully nothing too hard.

Scrambling is the territory that lies between hill-walking and rock climbing. Scrambling requires you to ascend a mountain or a hill using your hands to climb short sections, as well as your feet to walk: hence It’s definitely more than hill-walking. However scrambling is not quite technical enough to be rock climbing and for the easier grade 1 routes the moves aren’t too hard and you shouldn’t need a rope or any of the equipment needed for rock climbing.

Scrambling grades

Scrambles are graded 1 – 3, with grade 1 scrambles being at the easier end of the spectrum. Normally these are easy to follow and to climb. If you’re having a bit of an epic these routes shouldn’t be too hard to escape from. That said escaping from classic grade 1 routes such as Tryfan’s North Ridge or a traverse of Crib Goch could prove difficult and more dangerous than sticking to the route. 

Grade 2 scrambles will involve some harder moves  and will in general be more committing. Inexperienced scramblers who may not be so confident at height or not so sure-footed may prefer some of the moves to be safe-guarded by a rope.

With grade 3 routes you should expect the whole shebang! Go out and expect the route to be hard to find, hard to climb and do expect to need to rope for the crux moves. 

Grade 2 and 3 scrambles also tend to involve a lot of decision making the whole way and so care needs to be exercised on this ground. 


Beware though: with scrambling comes risk. If you’re not sure about which route to choose for that day, or you’re not sure about how to find it or how to follow it you can end up on dangerously steep ground that you’re unable to escape from. If you don’t have a rope and find yourself needing one the consequences of a fall can be catastrophic. If you have a rope but don’t have the skills to safely use it, again the outcome could be fatal.

For those early forays go with someone that has experience and knows what they are doing. That could be with an experienced mate, a local mountaineering club or of course with us!

If you have never tried scrambling, make plans to do so now! As well as being exciting, airy, exposed,  exhilarating, and a GREAT way to ascend a mountain, it’s also extremely addictive.

Join us for a weekend of guided scrambling 

Learn scrambling skills with Will4Adventure