Getting Some Rock

Tryfan and the Glyders are wreathed in cloud as I sit here in the cottage writing this. Patches of sunlight highlighting the yellows of the moor. Yesterday we were up there, as my legs and in particular my knees are reminding me. We picked a good day for it, although the range of weather we experienced might indicate otherwise.

The Glyders from the Hiraethog
The Glyders from the Hiraethog
Snowy Carneddau from Tryfan
Snowy Carneddau from Tryfan

A slow start meant we parked up below Milestone Buttress at 11:50, after a wonderful drive along the A5 enjoying the views of the mountains and the snow-capped Carneddau on the right in particular.  As we booted up we were still deciding our route up Tryfan. Being my first mountain walk of the year and Andy’s first in several years, we thought we’d try Heather Terrace as we’d both done the full scramble before and subconsciously I think we wanted to make faster progress due to the late start.

Llyn Ogwen from Tryfan
Llyn Ogwen from Tryfan

We climbed steeply up the path and below the buttress skirting the rock to gain the left of the mountain where we hoped to pick up the terrace. I realised after the walk when I re-read my Pictorial Guide that a better start for Heather Terrace is Gwern Gof Uchaf, which might explain why we never found it. We found ourselves scrambling on the north east of the mountain.

Whatever, the view back down to Llyn Ogwen were stunning and after a brief shower of hail we saw a rainbow below over the lake. The Carneddau were covered in snow, and I got a good look at my original planned solo walk of Creigau Gleison.

Andy on Tryfan
Andy tries to avoid indecent exposure

Early on, but just too far away from the car, Andy’s trousers went and he suddenly got a big step up in ventilation “down below”. 3 safety pins failed to hold the rip, and neither did lamenting that a pair of shorts in the car would have spared his blushes somewhat.

Cwm Bochlwyd
Looking down into Cwm Bochlwyd from Tryfan

We continued on as it became colder with height and Andy in increasing danger of frostbite in a sensitive area. A difficult gully filled with snow diverted us to the right and we scrambled up on to a flatter part. By now we’d twigged that we’d missed the Terrace and this was confirmed as we arrived at The Cannon. A few flakes of snow fell on us as we approached the summit, where we took the obligatory summit pics and had some lunch.

The Cannon
The Cannon
Tryfan's summit - Adam and Eve
At the summit - Adam and Eve
Tryfan's Adam and Eve in 2007 contrast to the previous visit in 2007

Whilst we were eating, I looked over at Glyder Fach, our next target, and took in a view that was denied to me last time I was up here. That day was really low cloud and as a result I saw next to nothing of the surrounding mountains. Not so today as we had good view over the Carneddau, to Moel Siabod, and once we were on Glyder Fach, to Snowdon and the coast beyond.

Glyder Fach
Glyder Fach from Tryfan
Tryfan from Bwlch Tryfan

We descended to Bwlch Tryfan deciding our route onto Glyder Fach as we went. With legs feeling the effects of 2000ft of scrambling already, we ruled out Bristly Ridge, and also the long gradual climb to join the Miner’s Track near Llyn Caseg-fraith. That left the scree path to the left of Bristly and we slogged our way up the initial part. As it steepened two separate shouts of “below” heralded rocks bouncing down from above, just as I found myself struggling to progress on the wet scree and snow. Andy had no such problems and scrambled his way up to the top where he sat watching me. I took a more gradual line left and joined the ridge further down which suited me well. I climbed up to the summit and laboured over the rocks past the Cantilever.

Bristly Ridge
Bristly Ridge - opted for the "easier" loose rock, scree and snow death trap alongside today
Castell y Gwynt
Castell y Gwynt

After a brief pause we started our descent. It was now 4:30 and the sky was darkening to the south and west so we decided to call it a day. We clambered down past Castell y Gwynt, losing the path briefly in the snow and going thigh deep in the snow between the rocks. We arrived at Bwlch y Ddwy-Glyder and climbed up onto the start of the ridge leading to Glyder Fawr where we picked up the ridge of Y Gribin, our chosen escape route.

Tryfan from Bwlch y Ddwy-Glyder
Glyder Fach from Y Gribin
Glyder Fach from Y Gribin

We headed downhill and looked down a steep drop to the ridge about 150m below. There followed a slow, lurching scramble down the north face of the mountain and the relief at gaining the flat part of the ridge was palpable. Now the black clouds were upon us and as we headed down the more gentle part of the ridge the first spots of rain caught me. Andy was ahead of me as I stopped to see if I could call the girls to give an ETA, and when I caught him he suggested going ahead to the car and meeting me at the path’s end. I agreed readily, and he mountain-goated away down the path.

The map showed another steepish bit and fearful of what it would be like with my tight legs and aching knees, I was relieved to find steps that took me all the way down to Llyn Bochlwyd. As I descended alongside Nant Bochlwyd I saw Andy in the distance on the other side of the stream heading for the car.

I stuck with the stones that took me across boggy ground to Idwal Cottage. Half fearing that Andy and I had misunderstood each other and that he’d be waiting up the road, I was relieved to see him in the car park. We got in the car and headed home.

The Route The Stats
  Start: SH661602
End: SH649603
Distance: 8.49km (5.28 miles)
Ascent/Descent: 900m
Time: 6h 27mins
Speed: 1.32kph (0.82mph)
FED: 18.15km (11.28miles)
FES: 2.81kph (1.75mph)

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