Peter Krug – April 2003
Did that get you going? I couldn’t think of anything else so I got all biblical with an oblique reference to the first book of the Bible and NOT a prog-band of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s!
Anyway let’s get back to the point of the article, which is after all an article on winter mountaineering in North Wales! Friday evening saw the usual IMC dash along Britain’s highways to some mountainous spot to blow out the cobwebs of yet another week’s grind at work! This week it was North Wales and the venue was the bunkhouse at Gwern Gof Uchaf although one hardy soul preferred the camping option!
I woke up early on Saturday morning and opened the flap (of the tent!) to a beautiful crisp winter morning (have you guessed who the camper was yet?). As I cooked me porridge in me vestibule I took in the magnificent mountain vistas all around me. The campsite was surrounded by the rugged mountains of the Glyders and the Carnedds and completely dominated by Tryfan. It is indeed a fine location and is only missing one important facility – a pub!
We split up into various groups each doing their own thing and ours (myself, Mervyn, Mike, Christina and Ian) was planned to be a scramble up Tryfan, down the other side then a scramble up Bristly Ridge to Glyder Fach and then on to Glyder Fawr and a descent down
to Llyn Ogwen via the Devil’s Kitchen although it did not work out that way.
Off we set just after 9.00 am and the first job was to find the route up Tryfan itself which took some finding as we were not approaching the mountain from the usual place. In fact, it proved
to be a bit of a scramble to find the scramble itself although we eventually succeeded thanks to Mike’s navigation skills! Then it was onwards and upwards picking whatever line you preferred as you made your way up to the summit’.. what fun. There were a lot of laughs to be had on the way and who could forget Christina’s immortal comment “It’s a good thing I’m loose” in front of the entire IMC tone lowerers group (we were wetting ourselves!).
Having got to the summit Mervyn soon clambered onto Adam (or was it Eve?) and did the leap and then leapt back in the prescribed manner and duly got the freedom of the mountain. We had lunch whilst I plucked up the courage to follow in Mervyn’s footsteps and had my moment of glory before loping off down the other side of Tryfan into the Bwlch Tryfan.
Before us lay the intimidating buttress of Bristly Ridge. Mervyn assured us that it was no worse than what we had already done. Naturally I threatened him with the promise to throw him off if he was lying! Fortunately, Mervyn was right although there were some interesting moments especially the ones where one had to descend the ridge! However, within an hour we were gallivanting along the top of Glyder Fach and posing for photographs on the “Cantilever.”
However, it was getting a bit late in the day now so we decided to curtail our expedition by descending Y Gribin to Llyn Bochlwyd and then around the base of Tryfan to the bunkhouse. This sounded easy on paper but ignores the fact a combination of Mervyn and
Christina attempted to assassinate the President of the IMC (if you want the job you can have it!) by kicking a big boulder down the path only for it to be parried by a quick-thinking Mike “Nigel Martin” Hams.
Having gotten back to the campsite it was time to cook dinner before rejoining the others in the bunkhouse to catch up on the days events although two of our company (Jeff and Nigel) were
still on the hill and did not arrive until about 9.00 p.m. having tramped all over North Wales!
It was not particularly late when I wandered off to my cosy little tent due to the effects of a good day on the hill and a few beers. Woke up early the next day to have breakfast and pack my gear
thinking that the others would actually wake up early but they overslept. Nonetheless the same party of five gathered together and today’s destination was Pen-y-Pass and the Snowdon Horseshoe.
Owing to the slightly late start in the day (10.00 a.m.) and the fact that we were supposed to meet up in Capel Curig between 3.00 and 4.00 p.m. we were belting up the Pyg Track and made it to the base of the scramble up to Crib Goch in no time at all. It was at this point that Mike decided that his knee after the exertions of the previous day was not up to more scrambling so he returned to the Pyg Track and climbed Snowdon this way. The scramble up to Crib Goch was fine but the scramble along the ridge itself I found quite scary but it was not too bad. I was more than aware of the drops on either side! However, when I learnt of the defeat of the Welsh Rugby team at the hands of the Italian team jumping off the side of Crib Goch suddenly had its attractions!
Having gotten the ridge over with we scrambled up Garnedd Ugain and then joined the hordes heading for the summit of Snowdon. We looked down from the col to the Pyg Track that was a sheet of ice, which people were negotiating extremely gingerly! We soon reached an extremely crowded summit and found Mike waiting there for us.
After a quick conference we decided to get away from the summit before having lunch and we persuaded Mike to join us. So we went down the steep and awkward path down the back of Snowdon heading for Y Lliwedd before finding a nice spot for lunch. Soon we were off on the final leg of the Snowdon Horseshoe, which was the uneventful ascent of Y Lliwedd, and then naturally the descent to the miners track and a sprint down the Miners’ Track back to Pen-y-Pass. What a great way to end a great weekend!