Friday 28 February 2014

Battle Renewed in The Carneds!

We hadn't intended to walk today but with a favourable weather forecast we decided to do battle once more with the Carnedds.  In recent months we have been up here on three occasions and so far had no views; the last time I had good views up here was in the mid 1980s!!  We again parked above Bethesda and set off, this time in calm conditions.  We gained height much more quickly today, without the handicap of storm force winds, but the clouds were refusing to leave the summits.  We were soon in both cloud and snow and the wind was increasing by the time we reached Garnedd Uchaf.  We continued the short distance to Foel Grach where we intended to have lunch in the mountain hut that we had used last year.  It didn't take long to cover this distance, but we were unable to find the hut, despite the fact that the GPS said we were standing on top of it.  And that was the only conclusion we could come to; it must have been buried under the huge bank of snow on which we were standing.  Having become cold looking for it we had no option but to carry on, donning crampons and unleashing ice axes, as the abundant snow cover was iron hard.  We continued on to Carnedd Llewelyn in thick cloud and hunkered in the shelter from the wind beneath its summit for lunch.  We decided to abandon Yr Elen, a satellite summit, as the thick cloud would have made it pointless; was the mountain yet again going to have the last laugh!  Pushing on we descended to the col between Llewelyn and Carnedd Dafydd.  As if by a miracle the mist began to lift and and finally we were rewarded with the extensive views and spectacular cliff scenery for which we had been hoping.  The ridge at this point was icy and snow covered and we could have been in the Alps!!  We even had good views of a solitary snow bunting, totally in its element.  We continued on to our final summit and had a last hot drink before descending via the delightful ridge of Mynydd Du in the beautiful golden light of the late afternoon sun.  Soon back at the car we celebrated our triumph with flapjacks; beer o'clock had to wait until we had driven back to my brother's in Lymm!!
What an amazing few days!!
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Thursday 27 February 2014

Excellent Winter Conditions in the Glyders.

Our chosen route today was a round of the Glyder range of mountains in the Snowdonia National Park.  The day began cloudy with few summits clear but the weather improved as the day went on and as we reached the summit ridge, the sun came out and we enjoyed magnificent views for the rest of the day.  We parked beside Llyn Ogwen and headed straight up steep ground past impressive waterfalls and into Cwm Bochlwyd.  After a brief pause we took to the wonderful ridge of Y Gribbin which took us quickly to the summit slopes with some vertiginous scrambling towards the top.  On the way up we saw welsh mountain goats; I have yet to secure good images of these.  As we emerged at the summit the sun came out giving the most amazing views of Tryfan, the Glyder plateau and Snowdon.  Huge snow cornices abounded at the top of every cwm.  We made our way to the summit of Glyder Fawr where we enjoyed lunch (tomato soup and soreen for me), before making our way down very steep snow covered slopes necessitating the use of ice axe and crampons for security.  Once at the col, where the path continues down to Llyn Idwal past the Devil's Kitchen, we turned our faces uphill once more to climb our final summit of the day: Y Garn, where we again had wonderful views, this time of  Tryfan and The Glyders and all of our route for the day.  The intention was to take the steep path down the north ridge of Y Garn, but when we reached the top, it was blocked by the cornice.  Deciding that discretion was the better part of valour we continued to Foel Goch where we descended by its ridge and the quaintly named 'mushroom garden'.  Soon we were back at the car and heading back to Llanberis; it was beer o'clock again!!
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