A Snowdonia New Year – Christina’s Account

One of two accounts of the IMC New Year trip

We drove to N Wales on Wednesday at 6 am and arrived about 12 pm, pitched the tent at a pub called the Snowdon Inn (about 1 mile from Jesse James bunkhouse).  We were the only campers in the field but I think there were some other people in vans on the road – sort of alternative types who probably live in the vans all year round and were visiting the pub for New Year.  We headed up to Pen-y-Pas at 3pm and decided to start up the Miners Track to see if we could bump into Sheila, Martin Stevens and Mike Bayley who were doing the Snowdon Horseshoe.  Steve C had texted us saying what they were upto.  We met up with them at about 5 pm back at Pen-y-Pas .  Quick chat and then back to the campsite to eat and organise Mont before heading to the bunkhouse for New Year socialising.  I was des driver so half a glass of mulled wine was my lot.  Poor Mont had to stay in the car as “No dogs” policy at JJ.  Stayed up until 1 am then headed back to a very frozen, very ‘iced up on the inside’ Vaude!!  Brrrhhh.

Difficult to get out of down sleeping bag on Thursday morning – more bbbrrrhhhh…..  Took off multiple layers of clothing and changed into scrambling gear.  No facilities at campsite as all frozen solid so texted Steve that we were on our way to the bunkhouse.  Passed Martin and Mike’s cars enroute so screeched to a halt and had hurried conflabs by the side of the road – we took too long to get going and they were coming to the campsite to find us.  Anyway eventually headed off to Snowdon Ranger in 3 cars.  We had decided to do Sentries Ridge on Mynydd Mawr to the West of Snowdon – it’s a *** Grade 3 scramble but we’re still not sure whether we did it or not as a) the route description didn’t match and b) it was about VDiff!

Poor Ian had the Mont and took the easy way up – we joined him about 2 ½ hrs later!  We were in 2 groups of 3: Sheila, Martin Stevens andMike B; Martin H, me and Steve C.  Pretty hard scrambling, especially in mountaineering boots and with a big rucksack.  However, the weather was superb so lots of brilliant photos.  Lovely views at the top over lunch.  Then we headed back down in daylight and off to Pete’s Eats for tea and apple pie for Martin H, which took about 45 mins to come – they cocked up the numbering system and we had to ask them 4 times before he finally got it – think maybe Pete was on holiday and had the hired help in!!  Ian and I picked up a new wall climbing rope – 30 m – for £40 at V12.  Bargain!

Due to our frozen facilities, evenings in JJ were de-rigueur with alternating des’s.  Water containers were filled and kept in the car overnight with gas bottles to insulate them from the elements!

On Friday Steve C and Martin did the Idwal stream (II/IIIish water ice) and walked off via Glyder Fawr (or is it Fach) and Gribin – and Steve fell out with his plastics again.  Ian and I drove to the Watkins path parking area and walked up Yr Aran – about 747 m.

Quite an easy day as I was sporting a blister on my heel.  Back wearing walking boots, I was fine.  Monty enjoyed the walk and it was fairly gentle after the previous days’ exertions.  The weather was still clear and bright but very cold as the wind had got up a bit. We have a great photo of horizontal Labrador ears, totally wind powered :o)  As it was an early finish for us, we decided to go for tea at the Pen-y-Gwryd pub (you know the one at the bottom of the hill as you turn right up to Pen-y-Pas from Capel?  Its all been done up inside but pretty cosy and they still have the old Everest photos and gear on display.

Mike B, Martin S and Sheila did Crib Lem (aka Llech Ddu Spur) a *** Grade 1 scramble starting from the Bethesda area and finishing at the summit of Carnedd Dafydd, ticking Carnedd Llewellyn (and possibly other peaks) whilst up on the top.

Then on Sat am Mike B left (slight sore throat in evidence courtesy of Mr Hore) and the rest of us went to Y Garn – the Jesse’s team did the East ridge (Grade 2 – excellent) whilst we walked up with Mont. We then all walked along the ridge to Mynydd Perfedd. Sheila, Martin S and Steve C then split off to walk back to Jesse’s whilst Ian, Martin and myself went back to the cars, finding a great little traversing path not marked on the map.

Looking West from Y Garn

Looking West from Y Garn

On Sunday everyone was up early for a quick departure via the fleshpots of Betws – back by 4ish.  Second bargain of the trip, we got some cheap runners at Rock Bottom Cotswold to go with the rope!

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