I was out with Chris and Yana on Friday for a scrambling day and their first go at a grade 3 route. Scrambles are graded 1 - 3 with 3 being the hardest. They will usually have several difficult moves, like you would find on a rock climb, very exposed sections and generally quite sustained. A rope, some climbing kit and the knowledge to use it all would be a good idea if you are attempting these higher end scrambles.
Pinnacle Scramble on the East Face of Tryfan is at the higher end of the grade 3 range, it's actually a grade 3+ in the guidebook. It offers continuous and sustained hard scrambling from Heather Terrace all the way to the summit. It's a brilliant route that weaves around some classic rock climbs and passes the giant 'Pinnacle' from where it gets it's name.
The route starts to the right of South Gully, reached by an approach along the Heather Terrace. The climbing is pretty steep and tricky from the word go, made even more so by the slippery conditions we encountered. I led the first couple of pitches with Chris or Yana belaying me, placing gear for my own protection. The safest way to tackle a scramble is to default to pitched climbing, with the leader placing gear in case they fall. When at a suitable stopping point or 'stance' the leader makes themselves safe and belays the partner(s). If you know how to do this you can then adapt it to speed things up - there maybe bits where as the leader you are confident enough to go without being on belay and are only using the rope to safeguard a second person climbing.
We climbed the route in short sections, every bit having a tricky rock move to overcome. The good thing about scrambling routes is there is usually plenty of ledges to stop on and spikes or blocks to belay from. The simplest anchor is a sling over a 'bomber' spike of rock - just make sure it's solid! If there isn't a spike or block then you need to create an anchor using your climbing kit, nuts, cams, hexes etc.
The route passes by a huge pinnacle, where it shares ground with the rock climb Pinnacle Rib Route. The rock climb takes on the blank looking 'Yellow Slab' behind the Pinnacle whereas our route bypasses this difficult section by walking to the right behind the Pinnacle before venturing up the steep wall above. The rock here has curious folds and can feel a bit like the holds are all sloping the wrong way. It's a steep and serious section but is the last of the really steep stuff.
After this bit of walking and easy scrambling leads you to directly below Adam and Eve, the way is barred by another steep wall which can be bypassed on the left or taken directly with some interesting back and foot climbing up another (much smaller) pinnacle. we took the pinnacle route!
You are now right at the summit. Yana took on the challenge of leaping between the 2 monoliths of Adam and Eve before we headed off down the North Ridge, getting a bit of down climbing in before the day was done.
All in a very enjoyable day out with some fine Autumn sunshine too. Thank you Chris and Yana, hope to see you again soon.