Snowdonia 2011 – Day 6

Moel Siabod

The forecast today is for wind and rain and then clearing in the afternoon (so not much change there then!). I’m not going to wait to see it improve as when I did that on Sunday, I ended up with no walk. I also have to bear in mind last bus times. So I decide to go out on the first bus after breakfast and hopefully the weather will clear as I go.

I alight from the bus at Capel Curig and walk along the A5 and then the river until I get to Pont Cyfyng, where my route starts. Moel Siabod’s top is shrouded in cloud but hopefully it will ease when I get up there. I’m soon heading uphill on a track which then emerges onto farmland and I can see the north east ridge directly ahead. I’m keeping my options open until I have to commit to either the north east ridge or the scramble along the Daear Ddu arete.

The wind picks up as I gain more height and by the point where the path splits, it feels too strong for the arete where I would be exposed to a cross-wind. So I carry on up the north east ridge.

In places I have to use my hands but I make reasonable progress.

At 600m though. I climb up into the cloud and visibility drops to 50ft or less in places. And the path bends around to the right and climbs gradually up the north flank of the mountain – I hadn’t expected that but it’s welcome as long as the path doesn’t fade out. Which of course it does as I come to the boulders that form the topmost section of the mountain.

Now I’m zigzagging all over the place as I try to follow tiny scraps of path in the mist. For a moment I’m concerned – this is just the way to get lost. But I stay calm and keep following the bits of path in combination with always making sure I’m heading up.

Soon I reach the shelter on the summit plateau and dive under my storm shelter for a break. But it’s cold and I keep it short. I get up, take a compass bearing and head straight to the summit trig point. This then helps me to take the correct line roughly southwest off the summit plateau until I find the fence I’m going to use as a handrail for the next few kilometres. As I descend, the handrail becomes literal as I clamber over wet rocks with misted over glasses.

But it works well and bang on the 790m contour I reach the point where another fence joins – this is my next handrail all the way off the mountain. I walk down to the left of the fence over Moel Gid completely exposed to the strong wind from my left. But it’s a gentle grassy gradient and although I check map and compass a couple of times to make sure I’m on the right course, it’s easy.

Just as I drop below 600m I emerge from the cloud and spread before me is Carnedd y Cribau; to my left a spectacular view of the twin lakes of Llynau Diwaunydd; and to my right I can just see Tryfan showing above the eastern ridgeline of the Glyders.

But here at Bwlch Clorad the wind is at its strongest so I cross the fence, head down to
Bwlch Rhiw’r Y chen and up thje short climb to the summit of Carnedd y Cribau. But I lose count of how many ladder stiles I have to cross – and of course I have to do them all again on the way back. Back at the bwlch, I keep the fence opn my right and descend over the boggy grass all the way to Pen-y-Gwryd where I have enough time before the bus comes to cower out of the wind and write this post.

The weather might be clearing – it’s difficult to tell – but I hope it does as I’m intending to do the Nantlle ridge tomorrow and I need a full day of good weather.

Distance: 13.51 km
Ascent: 764 m
Descent: 677 m
Duration: 4 hrs 46 min

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