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Snowdonia Peaks

Sunday, 31 January 2016


My 2nd walk of 2016 saw me back in Snowdonia and another walk up Moel Siabod but this time in the snow. I did attempt this last year but the depth of the snow and blizzards prevented me from reaching the summit but this time was to be more successful. It was also the busiest I have seen it with a string of walkers all making their way and enjoying the good winter conditions. It also made it slightly easier as there was a well trodden path to follow and plenty of folk around if there was to be any mishaps, and thankfully there wasn't. I thought it would be a busy one when I got to the car park at the Bryn Glo Cafe and most of the spaces were taken up as was the lay-by across the road. At this point there wasn't any low lying snow about, just a bit of light rain that made it a bit damp. A bit different to the forecast as it was meant to be quite a good clear day with good summit views!!! Been there before :-) It was still good visibility and the summits were all clear of cloud so as hopeful as ever to see some fine views from this fine mountain. Across the road, over the bridge that has the Afon Llugwy running undernath, up the steep lane that takes you past the farm and Siabod Cottages and then starts to levell about a bit as Siabod comes into view.
My route for the day

Moel Siabod from Plas y Brenin
Bridge over the Afon Llugwy
A snowy Moel Siabod ahead
 By this time there was a bit of snow on the ground and because of the light cloud cover it all seemed a bit monochrome in appearance. The lying snow was quite slushy and as I got to the unnamed Llyn it had melted quite a bit on the path and proved to be quite easy walking with no ice knocking about. Although I had my spikes with me they were to stay in my bag for the whole walk. Infact of all the people I saw out on the mountain there was only two or three that had any sort of spikes on. As the snow was fairly deep and soft and and the path made by all the people out there was well trodden, there was no slipping and sliding to be had.  I'm sure, like me, that folk had them in their bags if needed just to be on the safe side. As it was, good progress was made and I had my first rest at the old Quarry before another steep asent and what proved to be quite deep snow at this point.
Looking down on old quarry buildings and the unnamed Llyn
More old quarry buildings higher up
The old quarry pool
Follow the leader
The going from here up to the col was quite hard as the snow was in places over a foot deep but following in the footsteps of the previous walkers meant there was no hidden obstacles. The usual path follows besides or straight up a stream that runs down and is quite rocky in places with the ground besides it being quite boggy. This time though someone had gone straight up the middle of the bank and everyone just seemed to follow in the footsteps making it more bearable. At the top of the col it offered some good views down on Llyn y Foel and across to the Daear Ddu Ridge which was to again be the way up to the summit
Looking back down towards the old quarry
A frozen Llyn y Foel with the Daear Ddu Ridge on the right
Looking back to the top of the col
Frozen Llyn Y Foel
The start of the Daear Ddu Ridge
It was on the ridge last year that I turned back after getting stuck in thigh high snow and with no others about it was safety first. This time I was in a convoy of thirty others stretched out the length of the ridge and all following in each others footsteps making it relatively easier to follow but still taking time as I made sure I could see people either in front or behind me as the mist kept on coming in and out the higher I got making it difficult to see at times. It was also snowing lightly adding to the atmosphere. Despite all that I was thoroughly enjoying it and despite stopping to take photo's and checking I was following the right footsteps, the summit seemed to arrive much quicker than it does on a clear sunny day. On reaching the summit there was no views to be had and it was a bit bracing in the wind so I took shelter behind the busy wind shelter for twenty minutes or so for a warm drink. I've been up here quite a few times now and can't remember seeing as many people on the summit as this day. Even in the height of summer you can find yourself on your own, felt quite strange really but I was quite glad to of had a decent path in the snow to follow.
Looking down to Llyn y Foel
Following in the footsteps on the ridge
Keeping an eye on those behind me
An all but brief glimpse back down the ridge
The ice block summit
Lunchtime view of my descent route.
As the views came and went during my break it finally opened up a bit revealing the way ahead and once more quite a few folk making there way up from Plas y Brenin. I was tempted to make my way down that way as most folk were taking that route but I didnt really fancy it and at the same time didn't want to risk going over the spine with all the boulders and ups and downs. I knew I could go under the rocky top and head for a stile in the fenceline to take me down the gully/path/stream that leads back onto the main path so I headed in that direction, again following footsteps but this time the snow in places was thigh deep making it hard going. I was loving it :-)
A break in the cloud shows the way ahead
More people on the way up
On the approach to the stile through the deepest of the snow
The sun doing it's best to get through the cloud cover
Another short snow fall
The view down to the main path below
Another rest before the steep descent
Looking back up the descent path on the right of the ridge
Well another fine day on this fine lonely mountain that never disappoints despite the no views from the summit. A great day in the snow and I was kinda glad that there was a few others about as it certainly helped with route finding following in others footsteps. Despite the wind on the summit I didn't really feel the cold and also found it quite secure underfoot without the use of my microspikes. As I said earlier, I only saw one or two with crampons/spikes on as the snow was quite deep and soft without being too compact. With the weather being what it is in England & Wales at the moment I'm not sure wether there'll be many more snowy mountain days to be had so I was glad I took advantage this time.

Thanks Siabod, till next time :-)

A short video of the day

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