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Snowdonia Peaks

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Snowdon via The Horn & The North Ridge Crib Goch

Well what can I say about this but EPIC! The North Ridge is a ridge I had fancied doing since my first time on Crib Goch, OK then, the second time as I had no views the first time round!! :-) I had heard a few others talk of it and say what a great scramble it is, that I just had to find the right time. As it happened, another blogger I follow, JC, did this route a few months back and he included another part of the full Snowdon Horseshoe that I also fancied doing, the Horn, that starts directly from the Pen y Pass car park. I went straight up following the fence line from the Pyg track info board

I had been given a passout for Sunday 21st October and with the weather forecast looking more like summer than summer I wasn't going to argue!! I decided to make an early start as I wanted to visit another viewpoint on my way home, but more of that later. It was 5.30am when I left and made the very quiet journey down the M56-A55. It was close on to 7am when i got to Llyn Ogwen as the sun's first glow was just appearing on the horizonas the star was high above Tryfan

I made my round the quiet and empty roads and hit a fog bank just before the Plas y Brenin, and was in this for a good mile. I thought that I might get to see an inversion or two as this was quite thick fog. I soon realized that it was only over Llynnau Mymbyr as I came out of it and the road ahead was very clear

I had decided that I would pay the £10 parking fine at Pen y Pass as it was going to be a long day and I didn't fancy the extra few miles of road walking from the Conwy free parking. I was up early and I was to be up early on Monday so that was that. The view from the road up to the car park was qiute good as the suns glow was getting brighter

Car parked, boots on and headed off up the horn about 7.30am in cool but very pleasant conditions. No wind and light enough to see the way ahead as I made my way following the fence line.

It was quite tough going and there was one or two places where it was quite boggy but not too deep. There are plenty of rocks and boulders to use as stepping stones and also foot holes made by other walkers. As it's not a well used path I found it best just to stick to the fence as it brings you out at the top. There are one or two stiles in the fence so I guess there are other ways up to this great vantage point.
Looking back towards Moel Siabod and the mist is still over  Llynnau Mymbyr

And a higher view with the sun just about to appear

I was glad to of made it to the top in time for the sun to pop up from behind Moel Siabod as it just lit up the whole of the horseshoe laid out in front of me

 It was a great moment and worth the parking fine as I would of missed it had I had to of walked the extra miles. Another thing I want to do is see the sunrise from the summit of Snowdon but this will have to do for now. Not a bad start to the day :-)
The way ahead was now very clear and it was warming up nicely as the sun came out to show off this truly awesome place

 I just had to make my way down and on to the path that takes you on to the east face of Crib Goch

Even the sheep were enjoying the late summer sun

After making my way onto the East Ridge I kept a lookout for a faint path that crosses below underneath the East face and over to the North face. Basically you head for the large patch of loose scree. It was fairly easy to spot in this weather but you had to know what to look for as its basically a sheep track with the nickname of the Foxs Path! No sign of any fox's though, the sheep must be bad round these parts:-) It did provide some good views over to the Glyderau and down the valley to Llanberis

the faint path is just above my head of the shadow

Although faint and small, the track is easily followed without any major obstacles. It may be a bit dicey in the wet & mist but as long as you don't stray you should be fine. I had no problem following it and it brings you at the scree slope that heads up to the start of the North Ridge

The scree slope isn't too bad as there are foot holes up the left hand side made by other walkers over the years. It looks steep but you soon make progress and its not long before the more solid rock makes things a bit more exciting and Crib Goch looms large!

You get to see crib Goch from another angle and it's very impressive and steep! And also the way ahead along to Crib y Ddysgl and Snowdon

The final section of the North Ridge is the steepest and also the more sharp and extra care should be taken. In this weather it was a joy to do and very satisfying

Once at the top the views all round really are second to none as the full route up to Snowdon is on display

And back down The Horn and beyond

Down towards Llanberis

And across to the Glyderau

The crossing of Crib Goch was as satisfying as ever, even though there was the odd patch of mist blowing in. It did make for some very atmospheric views


Next up was The Wall of rock the leads up to the summit of Crib y Ddysgl. Although it looks impassable there are a few lines that are quite easy to negotiate and I find going straight up the middle the more fun, as its hands on all the way

As I came out from over the top this is where the weather suddenly changed from being clear to not so clear in a blink of an eye!! It just went misty and quite cool without much warning. There was one good thing to come out of it though and that is the Brocken Spectre Took me quite by suprise and as the sun and cloud thinned and thickened i must of had more than my fair share. I was hanging about on the ridge for about twenty minutes trying to get a few decent photo's. I have to say that in that twenty minute period, and indeed most of the time as was on the ridges, I came across three others 'Doing Crib Goch'! It was indeed a very quiet Sunday morning

There was a brief clear spell as I was about to come up to the summit but it was all to breif as the mist soon came back down and stayed down all the way to Snowdon summit

As there were no views to be had I made use of the summit cafe and toilets for twenty minutes to see if the mist would lift. Oh yes, it did, and the views really opened up. It makes all the hard work very worthwhile as on the final climb I was feeling a little cheated as this had been quite a tough morning.

It was while I was on the summit that my mind and body were squaring up to each other. My mind wanted to carry on and do the rest of the horseshoe but my body kept on saying no! My body didn't fancy the descent down the Watkins Path and then the pull back up Lliwedd and then back down again. My mind on the other hand was well up for it.
So it was down the Pyg track to the junction of the Miners and a walk by the lakes, overlooked by Snowdon and the curved Lliwedd, in what was now a really warm afternoon

It's been quite a time since I used the miners track, as the last six times I have been up to Snowdon I have done the horseshoe so this was a pleasant change and was good to look up to what I have done in the past

From the finger post it is a bit of a scramble down to Glaslyn where I enjoyed a break while watching some youngsters braving a cooling dip. the weather might of been nice and warm but the water would of been a tad cold

It really is a great spot with the shadow of Snowdon reaching round as to protect evryone from danger

From Glaslyn it was just a case of following the well laid out path down to Llyn Lydaw taking it easy.

this is quite a large mountain lake and the path skirts right round offering tremendous views

from here, its a pleasant walk back to the car park and it this weather, very pleasant

the viewpoint that I went to after is just outside the small village of Nebo. It offers great panoramic views of all the main Snowdonia peaks of the Glyderau, Carneddau and the Snowdon Massif. On a day like today it also makes for a pleasant drive around the small county lanes

This was a great day out and a fantastic route that I will certainly be doing again but taking in Lliwedd to complete the horseshoe. With thanks to JC for the inspiration.