Posts Tagged ‘Tryfan’

Very Snowy-Donia

Friday, January 30th, 2009

After a soggy grey week, expectations for the weekend were low. But it was the YAC club hut meet in Snowdonia so in went the crampons and ice axe, though most of us were convinced wellies and a snorkel were likely to be more useful. Guido and I had arranged to share a lift and as I was in London the previous day decided to travel up on the Saturday morning at 6am – yikes.

As we drove over, the weather didn't seem to improve much. We decided a low grade scramble was a good bet, and picked on a combination of Central Buttress on the East face of Tryfan followed by Bristly Ridge (which is on something else).  Arriving in Snowdonia things started looking up – the tops were definitely white – looked like a light sprinkling of snow on top so into the sacs went the crampons etc.

As we gained height the snow cover got thicker, we couldn't spot the path so it was heather bashing for us in deepening snow. By the time we reached Heather Terrace and the start of our route, conditions were definitely wintry, but it was all soft loose snow.  Guido pronounced the initial obstacles to be on the tricky side so as he had a complete winter novice – me – in tow, decided we should rope up. Since the snow was too soft  to use axes effectively I was then introduced to the dark art of Dry Tooling. Which I have got to say is huge fun – once I got the hang of it, I was suprised what a good hold (is that the word? sounds wrong) you can get on small edges and cracks with your axe, and how solid it felt.

Guido leads the way

Solid is not the word I would have used for the snow – it was of the "steps that collapse under your weight" variety, which felt quite exciting on a steep slope. At one point I had both legs submerged up to the knees in snow, struggling to achieve a balance between pushing hard enough to extract my feet without making it collapse further. We also took longer than expected as we only had a short rope with us, so had to rebelay every 30? metres or so. Never mind, it was completely exhilarating, the sky was now blue with the crags outlined sharply against it and every now and again I remembered to look round slack jawed at the views down into the valley. Arrived at the top completely blown away by the experience and very chuffed to have done my first winter route.

Unfortunately we ran short of time to do Bristly Ridge – by the time we got there the sky was turning pink and we decided not to spoil a brilliant day by pushing our luck so headed for a traditional finish at Petes Eats.

Arrived at the hut,  and several hours after darkness Simon Carmen and Rob also arrived, having spent the day searching for ice on the Black Ladders.  Carmen and Simon then fed the masses with haggis and neeps and Carmen's amazingly good soup. Next day it pished down but who cares after such a brilliant Saturday so me Guido Carmen and Simon headed off to beast ourselves at the Beacon Climbing Centre, Rob went for a walk and the bikers did something bikey.

North Wales weekend

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Andy on Slape DirectTactics, to avoid the Friday night traffic jams round Manchester Jim, Pete & I had set off early on Saturday morning, cruising over to Llanberis in just over 2 ½ hours.

Not sure how wet it would all be we firstly had a look at Dinas Mot it was green & wet & there were no parking places, so we turned round & found some space under Clogwyn y Grochan.

Sat 'Craggin' Day

Jim cruising Brant Direct

Pete on 1st pith of Hangover

When we arrived we found many of the lines still wet but not Brant Direct a classic Hvs 5a *** steep technical, well protected. Sounds like the perfect route for Jim; he cruised it & set us up for the day.
The next route was the much fallen off Kaisergbirge Wall at Hvs 5b ** a notch up in the book but in reality it seemed easier.

Progressing further we moved onto a 2 pitch E1 5a, 5b only one star but much underrated, Pete led the 5a pitch & I led the 5b bit, a fantastic route.

More tactics, we had an early break & down to Pete's Eats (best climbing café in the UK), having our main meal while it was still quiet, this allowed us to go up to the slate quarries & climb until dusk without having to worry about getting something to eat.

We started the session at Bus stop quarry & Jim & Pete led the perfect starting route in the Quarries at E1 a great route for confidence.

Pete on Gnat Attack

Guido on Fool's Gold

We then moved across to a more difficult route, Fools Gold another *** route, some guidebooks give E2 5c others E1 6a, who knows what the correct grade is. One thing I do know is that its one of my favourite rock climbs & perfect for this night.

Even more tactics, in darkness we left Bus Stop & drove down to Nant Peris & pitched tents before walking to the pub (2mins).
The pub atmosphere was electric literally, a live folk band playing, loads of familiar faces to catch up 'gos' with we had a great time, the end to a perfect day.

For the record routes done

Brant Direct Hvs 5a ***
Kaisergbirge Wall HVS 5b **
Hangover E1 5a, 5b *
Gnat attack E1 5b **
Fools Gold E2 5c ***

Parking in the Llanberis pass seems to be getting very difficult on fine summer weekends nowadays the traditional climbers car parks are getting filled up by walkers avoiding the Park & ride fees to Pen Y Pass, if you park roadside you only have to pay a nominal bus fare – Beware you need to get there early.

Sunday 'Mountaineering' Day

Sunday morning, we had big plans well they were big plans in the pub but in the cold grey light of dawn would they come to fruition.

A party on the excellent Amphitheatre Buttress

We were up early & almost first in Pete's Eats for breakfast at 08.00 hrs, excellent breakfast and washing facilities.
The options were go to Gogarth, to bag 2 hard rock routes, up to Cloggy for another hard rock route but it might be wet, a day on the slate with an extreme rock route, so much to choose from.


Jim on Mur Y Niwl Traverse

 We ended up going for a good old fashioned mountaineering day on Craig y Ysfa.

A quick drive round to Ogwen sussed the walk in & set of up a bloody big hill.
We had to top a high col & then descend a very tricky path, our only reservations about today were if the crag was wet but we met a guide & client going to do the 800ft Amphitheatre (Amp) Buttress & he thought it would be ok.

Pete in same position on Traverse

When we got into the Amphitheatre we found it dry but had trouble spotting the lines, some looked dirty & needed cleaning so we went for a classic 5 pitch Vs, Jim I know it will bring your UKC averages down but it is a mountaineering day.
The route was called Mur y Niwl the guidebook description says ’ A truly tremendous mountain route, steep & exposed throughout'.
The route also gave us a great vantage point of successive parties doing the classic Vdiff ridge, it looked good fun & nice photos.
Mur y Niwl was great fun & would probably be quite testing for a Vs leader, one of those routes to do if you have a few grades in hand.

Tryfan on the descent

Descent was a bit tricky a broad ledge eading to an abseil station with a 25m rap. To escape the Amp we had 2 options to descend & follow the crowds up Amp Buttress or take another diff line straight out the back leading up to the main ridge.  We took the second option & its not a bad route at all.
As we still had some daylight left so we decided to head of up to Carnedd Llewelyn at 1064 Metres the second highest hill in Wales.

Superb ridges with more than a little interest deposited us at the top of the Reservoir access road, an easy descent to the road with superb views of Tryfan in gathering darkness, the end of another great day.

Routes done

Mur Y Niwl Vs 4b, 4c, 4c, 4c, 4c
Amphitheatre Rib Diff