Nowhere in Wales evokes quite the same emotions among mountain lovers as the Ogwen Valley. To me it is a mini Scotland with towering peaks, jagged ridges, sheltered cwms and imposing rock walls.
I have two possible challenges in Wales this year:
The Welsh 15 three thousand + feet peaks, within a window of 24 hours
Welsh 1000m Peaks race on Saturday 9th June 2012.
With this in mind it was important to familiarise myself with the routes and with friends over 3 days this was done.
Day one – Saturday 5th May
We left the car park at Trasbwll at 9.15am and at 10.45am we had reached the top of Foel-fras (942m). It was a nice morning and it was mainly dry under foot all day. We reached Carnedd Uchaf (926m) at 11am and then had a coffee stop in the mountain hut on Foel Grach (976m) at 11.20am. It was then a walk in light cloud arriving on Carnedd Llewelyn (“CL”) (1,064m) at 12 noon. It was then across to Yr Elen (962m) at 12.20pm and we took the lower path on the slopes of CL and along the stony ridge to Carnedd Dafydd (1,044m)at 1.25pm with lovely views all around. At 2.05pm we reached Pen-yr Ole Wen (978m), our 7th peak of the day before descending to Glan Dena, arriving there at 3.05pm. It was then a long walk back to Capel Curig and a lovely meal at the Moel Siabod Café.
Day two – Sunday 6th May
Staying overnight in Capel Curig and having a lovely vegetarian breakfast at the café we were at the base of Tryfan (915m) at 9.15am to commence our day’s massive challenge. At 10.30am we had reached the top coming up the steep direct route by the Bochlwyd Buttress. Flurries of hail had accompanied us for most of the way up and we had to put on winter gear as it was very cold. Light snow was then the order of the day so reaching the base of BR at 11.30am we needed to be very careful in making this demanding scramble. We went up the ridge with two groups of climbers and this was good as we helped each other up to the top and we were able to take photographs as we ascended. At 12.30pm we reached the top and then it was on to do Glyder Fach (994m) at 1.00pm and Glyder Fawr (999m) at 1.35pm. It was then a decent through the scree slopes down to Llyn y Cwn and then up to Y Garn (947m) by the ridge route, arriving there at 2.45pm. By now the snow had abated and eventually stopped as we made our way to the isolated top of Elidir Fawr (924m) arriving there at 4pm. After a break of 20 minutes in afternoon sun we left on our long and steep decent and we were down in Nant Peris for 5.30pm and a quick pint in the local pub before catching a bus at 6pm which took us back to Capel Curig.
It had been the intention to do Snowdon, Carnedd Ugain and Grib Goch that day but this was deemed 3 mountains too many to attempt due to the time of day. The three would be done on a separate day to complete our 15 Peak recognisance.
Day three – Thursday 24th May
On a beautiful day at 10am we set off from the north end of Lyn Lockwood by the new path to reach Pen-y-Pass, then taking the Pyg Track to Bwich y Moch and then taking the steep Crib Goch path and the demanding scramble to the top (Grade 1) of Crib Goch (923m), reaching there at 12.20pm. The 921m east top is one of the finest views in British mountaineering which is guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. Then the start of the section that everyone wants to cross with the Bwlch Goch pinnacles keeping your “rock count” high for the day. Once over the pinnacles it is more a sedate stroll up to the flakes and pinnacles of Crib y Ddysgl and then on to the top of Carnedd Ugain (“CU”) (1,065m). We had a couple of breaks as we made our way along the long narrow ridge getting to CU for 2pm. It was then onto Snowdon (1085m) at 2.16pm and then a drink in the café and a supply of water taken with us as we had decided to do the Snowdon Horseshoe on this hot and windless day. The Snowdon Horseshoe has long been rated as one of the finest mountain days in Wales, if not Britain. Despite sun cream we well knew we were going to get burnt. It was then down the long scree slope to Bwlch y Saethau, along the ridge and then the challenging scramble (this is scrambling at its best!) up the escarpment edge to the top of Y Lliwedd (898m), arriving there at 4pm. Two people we knew were climbing on the cliff face and we did meet them having successfully completed their climb. It was then along the ridge with breath taking views down to the shores of Llyn Llydaw, then on to the Miners Track, where we linked up with the two climbers once again, and walked back to Pen-y-pass. We were back at our car at 6pm and then it was on to Moel Saibod Café for a well earned drink and a chat over the success of the day.
Over the 3 days some 16 mountains had been done adding to my annual mountain count.
26th May 2012