Autumn Adventures in North Wales

Since moving up to the North West, with Snowdonia on my door step, I’ve found myself making the short journey down the A55 on numerous weekends. Here’s a brief summary of some of my Cymraeg adventures.

The first trip occurred during a stormy October, with storm Brian heading our way. Any other weekend with that forecast we’d stayed at home, but as some of the committee were headed to PYB for a weekend course Alkis and Mila had limited choice. Despite the fear of falling trees and flooded roads we successfully found the hut, glad to be out of the gales. Having prepared ourselves for a weekend gear shopping and drinking in the hut, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the North ridge of Tryfan would be sheltered all but for the descent. Mila, Alkis and I (hence forth known as the Dream Team) decided this is what we’d try, knowing we could bail or alter the route condition dependant. It was horrifically wet, with waterfalls running down some sections, but relatively sheltered we made a slow attempt up the grade 1 scramble (not in grade 1 conditions!) before escaping off the south ridge into the wind. We made it back to the car in a 4 hour round trip, before stripping off our waterproofs at the side of the A5 in an attempt to keep the car dry (mostly successful). At this point I realised accepted my jacket was no longer waterproof as I wringed out my base layer; the only dry patch the square where I’d kept the map!

Alkis heading into the clouds on Grib Goch.

Mila enjoying Grib Goch with me in the background

[endif]-- Once back at the hut and in dry clothes we headed to the infamous Pete’s Eats and a tour of the LLanberis gear shops. Studying the map later that evening, an improved forecast of 60mph winds and no rain (vs 80mph and very heavy rain), the dream team set our sights on Crib Goch, noting it aspect was sheltered from the wind. For those who don’t known, Grib Goch is a famous knife edge leading up to the top of Snowdon, shear drops on either side. The rock was bone dry and we all had great fun moving across the exposed sections and up to the icy summit. After quick pit stop at the café (and some odd looks of us wearing our helmets) we shot off around the rest of the Snowdon Horseshoe, back to the car and off for a KFC. Another cracking day, and not what I expected driving down on Friday!

A few weeks later Alkis and I were back in Snowdonia, taking on Trfan’s North ridge again. With better weather conditions, we decided to make some variations to the traditional route, some a little spicy (ask Alkis about his double hand stack next time you see him). Needless to say, soloing damp sections of graded rock routes in boots can be rather exciting! A brief meditation on top of Adam & Eve we continued up Bristly Ridge and the extended Cwm Bochlwyd horseshoe, before returning to the hut, after finding the minibus that is.

The following day we decided on a classic grade 3 scramble, Cneifion Arete. With a vague starting location and guidebook description we accidently found the top of the route before retracing our steps to find the start. It was a beautiful route, great exposure and flowing moves, taking around an hour to complete the 140m long ridge. Highly recommend! The only worrying part being it was easier than anything we'd done the day before…oops! Another successful mountaineering weekend finished with slice of cake (oh and KFC again).

The dream team looking cheerful at the idea to bail to a warm fire and mulled wine!

Alkis trying to find a comfortable position on Glyder Fawr.

Five days later the dream team was reunited, taking on a marginal winter route in the depths of Glyder Fach. After a soggy approach we found the 300mm route hard going, taking 3 hours to do 75m of thin, insecure climbing (average of one piece of gear per pitch, good leads Alkis). Accepting we were far too slow we decided to bail before we got any higher. Annoying whilst descending we found a series of ledges 20m further left of our starting position which fitted our guidebook line far better. A lesson learnt to spend a few more minutes checking the line before the start next time. Still a very enjoyable day and it got the winter psych up! Many antics ensued for the rest of the weekend, including plenty of beer, a toasty fire, huge Mac’n’ cheese and slightly damp slate; but that’s a story for another time!

With 7 months left up here I expect to make many more journeys down the A55, hoping for a cold snowy winter and dry warm spring! Plenty of routes still on my wish list…


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