Featured post

Snowdonia Peaks

Monday, 24 September 2012

TRYFAN 23rd September 2012

We had decided that the Glyders and the Cantilever Stone would be on the agenda this Sunday and after checking the weather forecast we were hopeful of a good dry and quite a clear day. Setting off about 7.30am we made quick progress down a very quiet M56-A55 and soon found ourselves on the deserted A5 on the approach to the Ogwen Valley. We noticed that there was very heavy low cloud covering the Glyderau Summits of Fawr & Fach and it didn't seem to be going anywhere. So much for the forecast!! We pulled in to the cafe & toilet block at Ogwen Cottage and soon noticed that half of it, the cafe, was missing and the car park was closed off!! Luckily the toilets were still in use so all was not lost. It was here that I decided against doing the Glyders as there didn't seem much point with all the low cloud knocking about so we opted for another try at Tryfan after being rained off there a few weeks ago. So we got a parking place in the lay-by under this Iconic Mountain and by 9.15 am we were heading up!
There was a bit of wet ground here and there but nothing to be to overly worried about. In the main it was dry with just a small breeze, bright but overcast. With no rain forecast we were looking forward to a good day. At this point there was high cloud above Tryfan's summit so all was looking good. All the cloud seemed to be over Pen yr Ole Wen & the Carneddau
As we made our way through the maze of rock, the higher we got the more dramatic the views became and we were soon being drawn across to Llyn Idwal with the awesome back drop of Y Garn, Foel Goch, Mynydd Perfedd, Carnedd y Filliast and a distant Elidir Fawr, all just about staying clear of any cloud
The Cannon Stone was soon reached so it was time for a bit of a pose on the sticking out piece of rock. I wonder how many people have got photo's of this iconic piece of old rock
After a rest and all the posing was out of the way it was time to put more hands on rock as we still had some way to go as we made our way up and over the false summits/pinnacles. This is a great scrambling route and there are various lines of ascent. It is just basically picking your way and enjoying the feeling of bare rock on hands. There are more technical routes up and these need more than just hands and a head for heights. The use of ropes and how to use them come in use when tackling the more adventurous lines of ascent.
By this time the mist had started to roll in from time to time and views from the summit were not looking very favourable. At least it was still dry and the wind was coming from the east side so we were quite sheltered when we were in amongst the rock. There are some very steep gullies on the
east side that need care when passing by them as they do drop quite steeply
By now the mist had come right down and as we approached the summit stones of Adam & Eve all views of the surrounding mountains had dissapeared. The wind had picked up so we made for the shelter of some rocks while we had lunch and looked back on the last few hours and gave ourselves a pat on the back on completing this classic scramble. It is the second time that Jill has completed this and a third for me and it really is a great experience. After lunch we had the summit photo next to Adam & Eve and started to make our way down. The more brave take the leap from one to the other to become a "Freeman of Tryfan" Although I don't mind climbing 3000 feet mountains and standing looking down edges, I wimp out at jumping from one stone to the other that is only about 4 feet apart. There is quite a drop off if you get it wrong!!
We made our down through another maze of rock that led us down the south side where we joined the main path that comes up from Ogwen Cottage. We also started to come out of the mist and the views started to open up again and looking across to Bristly Ridge that is another classic snowdonia scramble that takes you up onto the summits of Glyder Fach & Glyder Fawr
Once we got to the wall where the path takes us down it's quite straight forward but there are one or two places where it gets quite muddy and care should be taken. The views down the valley and across to Y Garn and the Southern Glyderau certainly take some beating and make for a very pleasant descent.
There was also good views over to a distant Moel Siabod from the dividing wall
But the cloud was still covering the summits of Glder Fach & Fawr as seen from Llyn Bochlwyd, also known as "Australia Lake" due to the resemblance of its shape to that country.
While the massive bulk of Pen yr Ole Wen took centre stage
Following a stream we came to a cross roads in the path and we took the one that led us across the bank, heading under Tryfan, instead of the well laid out path that goes straight to the cafe & toilets down at Ogwen Cottage, as we had parked right under Tryfan.
The views back to Y Garn which was now cloud free
and down to Llyn Ogwen and the A5 where the car was parked
Tryfan was now more or les clear of any cloud and looking back up to it you can just make out the cannon stone where a few hours earlier we were posing and taking in the splendid views that this area has to offer
This had certainly been another great day out in this part of Snowdonia and it was also very quiet with not a lot of people on Tryfan. It took us around 6 hours as we had plenty of stops and took more care where we came across any wet patches. The weather was with us all the way today as it stayed dry and although the wind picked up on the summit it wasn't overly strong.
A short video showing the summit, stream crossing and the views of the Ogwen Valley


Monday, 3 September 2012

Snowdon Horseshoe 1st september 2012

This is one walk that my daughter Terri had been looking forward to doing for some time and we had put it off a couple of times this year because of the weather. It wasn't until Friday evening about 6.30 that it was decided that Saturday was going to be the day. As my car is off the road for sometime it was decided that if I took Jill to work at 5am then I could have the her car for the day. So, up at 4.30, into Manchester at 5.20 and then off we go. A quick stop off at Plas y Brenin for a photo of my favourite view of the Snowdon Horseshoe showing us the promise of a great day ahead then parked up at Pen y Pass for 7.30am.

Now I don't usually pay £10 to park the car here but as it was such an early start and I had my daughter with me I swallowed me pride and coughed up the fine as it was going to be a long day in the mountains and on the road. A complete rip off especially given the state of the toilets!!! I wonder who gets the tenner everyone puts in the fine box, because they could certainly use some of it to clean up the facility's that's for sure!! Rant over.
So we get going about 7.45 on a good sunny warm and quite clear morning. There was a bit of low cloud knocking about but nothing to heavy as we made our way up the slog that is the Pyg Track towards the East face of Crib Goch

As we got higher, a quick look back shows us the clouds rolling in off Moel Siabod and the lower reaches of the Glyderau Mountain Range

This first section of the Pyg Track is no favourite of mine, although there are some good views to be had of the Pen y Pass and down to Llanberis and across to the Glyders, so it was with much relief when we finally came out at the top where the paths meet and the whole of the horseshoe was laid out in front of us
 This is where we turned right and made our way up onto the East Face of Crib Goch for the first of the day's climb and where I noticed that the English spelt warning sign has disappeared from the ladder style!

We were making good steady progress in the excellent conditions and it seemed that all the clouds were further down the valley back towards Capel Curig and beyond. There certainly seemed to be some serious inversions going on as we enjoyed the best of the warm sun

 It was certainly good going and we were able to be right on the spine of the ascent ridge as it was perfectly dry and at this point there was only a hint of wind making it ideal to enjoy this first early part of the climb. It was also very quiet with not a lot of people about at this time. Most seemed to be taking the more gentle lower Pyg & Mines Paths far below us

The weather was certainly a big bonus for us and the views when we got to the top of the ascent and looked out over our entire route laid out before us from the start of the Crib Goch crossing were a sight to enjoy for a while. We rested here for a while as there was a party of 5 infront of us so we decided to let a bit of space open up between us before making our way across

I have done this crossing about 7 times, all last year, and this was the first time that I had seen all the route laid out infront of me. There is usually low cloud over all, or part of the way. For Terri, this is her first time so she must of bought some of her lucky charm with her as it was certainly a view to savour. The wind had picked up a notch but not enough to put us in any danger. We were looking forward to the ridge walk and I gave Terri all the encouragement and advice that was needed to make sure we enjoyed it to the maximum. And enjoy it we did as we made our way to the summit of Crib Goch which at 923metres high, is the 14th highest summit in Wales

It was turning out to be a great day as we made our way across the ridge with some great views of the surrounding mountains and down to the blue lake of Glaslyn far below with a bit of cloud hiding Snowdon summit from our view

We had come across Crib Goch with flying colours and on looking back, there were one or two others enjoying the near perfect conditions

We were already looking forward to our next climb of the day which would see us reaching the 2nd summit of the day, Crib y Ddysgl, which is the second highest summit in Wales @ 1065metres, and offered good views all round.

Snowdon, behind us, was still all clear of cloud as we got to the trig point

After a well deserved break here, it was time to join the mass of people making there way to the summit of Snowdon from all the various paths and those that chose to come up on the Mountain Train.  
 This was the last of the good views as we got to the "finger post" that marks the descent path of the Pyg Track, seen below Crib y Ddysgl & Crib Goch, with the Miners Path running along the shores of Glaslyn & Llyn Llydaw

After posing for the summit photo, we took advantage of the summit cafe to have a warming hot chocolate, our packed lunch and have a bit of shelter from the now strong winds. No views were to be had from here as the cloud had now rolled in which was a shame as up till now it had been clear all day!

There was the odd glimpse of a view when the mist parted for a minute or two just to get a quick photo of the Pyg & Miners paths below our crossing of a now misty Crib Goch

After our lunch stop it was the next step of the horseshoe and the dreaded descent of the Watkins Path. Now I say dreaded as this part is no fun IMO as it is a steep loose scree path that requires more attention than any other part of the route. When I see the faces of the people coming up this way, and there was quite a few, I think to myself that they must of committed some sort of crime and its their punishment to climb Snowdon by this route! Luckily for us we were only going part way down to Bwlch Ciliau where we were to start the next and final climb of the day that takes us onto our final summit and the twin peaks of Y Lliwedd

most of the views had gone but when the clouds did part there was some quite clear views down towards Llyn Llydaw and the rock face of Y Lliwedd

 As we started our final climb and made it to the summit, the mist rolled in again and stayed there until we made our way down.

There was a few glimpses of the sun but by now the cloud was ruling the skies and also the wind was quite strong but not cold. As we made our way down there was no sign of any summits we had just completed

 As we got towards the bottom of the path and joined the Miners Path on the shore of Llyn Lydaw, the wind was making waves as the view was now looking quite moody

The views down towards Plas y Brenin was still good and clear despite the cloudy skies

We got back to the car at 3.30pm, so a good eight hours doing this most fantastic walk, in, for the most part, fantastic weather. A quick stop off at Plas y Brenin for the after walk photo shows how much the weather had changed since 7.30am!

We got home about 6pm and had a 'chippy tea'. A quick shower and change then the pub for a well earned pint or two.
What a great day and just what the doctor ordered ;-)
A short video showing the views from Crib Goch & Lliwedd