Climbing in Snowdonia and the Carnedd Ugain Expedition
We braved the crowds of Snowdonia this past bank holiday weekend, our first weekend away in the van, Woohoo! It is in no way finished, we slept on the floor with our bags by our feet but the kitchen area and drawers are in and the insulation did it’s job. The weekend has left us both super excited for our trip to Chamonix this summer; 2 weeks of Van camping, Climbing, Mountaineering, Chilling, Wild Swimming and any thing else fun we can find to do.
This weekend though. It was the kind of trip that reminds you why leaping out of your comfort zone and heading out when you’re not feeling it can lead to the most rewarding day out.
Of course, the sunshine disappeared on Saturday. We tried to avoid the worst of the weather by heading to Tremadog, climbing Valerie’s Rib (HS 4b) before the rain appeared, confining us quite happily to the back of the van. We made our way up to the Llanberis slate mines in search of dry rock, explored a bit and enjoyed 2 sports routes with lots of shouts of ‘I Love Slate’ from Joe, before the clouds ruined our fun.
We had a grand plan for Sunday; a couple of routes at Dinas Mot, ‘the Nose’. Unfortunately, we got up late, spent too long over our morning coffee and all of the parking in the proximity of the climb was rammed. We told ourselves that the crag looked soggy from yesterdays rain and hightailed over to the Ogwen valley and Milestone Buttress.
A flapjack for energy and we moved quickly up Rowan Route (Diff) in our mountain boots, adding an extra pitch accidentally as we were having too much fun. We attempted a HS before realising that the 3rd pitch, as the guidebook had said, was way too wet. A great shame as the route looks beautiful to climb, just on a dry day! And then Super Direct (HVS 5a). What a beautiful route. At least the first 2 pitches anyway; we bailed on the last pitch in favour of the pub. Two pitches of 4c climbing with lots of great moves that flow beautifully. If you’re in the area and happen to have a rope and some protection, we’d definitely recommend this one.
“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.” Greg Child
Monday we decided to do a big mountain day, ticking off a North Wales classic; Carnedd Ugain via Cyrn Las (Grade 3), Western Gully(Grade 2) and Clogwyn Y Person Arete (Grade 3) and descending the Cwm Glas Ridge.
It was the kind of morning that makes you want to pull the duvet back over and hibernate. Instead, we put on our walking boots and waterproofs, packed a light rack, a rope, the last of the flapjacks and followed the stream up into Cwm Gas Mawr.
After some tricky route finding thanks to the low clouds, we found ourselves at the bottom of Cyrn Las feeling slighty intimidated. We roped up and used plenty of gear for the first 20 meters or so. The route was challenging thanks to the wet rock but made an exciting route up to the cwm; a great warm up, both physically and mentally for the slightly more challenging arete. The start of the route is the trickiest, with holds a bit thin on the ground but it gets progressively easier and has enough to keep you interested until the very end.
A flapjack and tuna wrap at the Llyn and we walked on a bearing to the base of Western gully continuing nicely onto the Clogwyn y Person Arete. The exposed nature of the ridge and the wet conditions had us placing plenty of gear in fear of falling into the abyss below. A few tricky moves made it all the more exciting, although in the sunshine we may not have thought twice about it. Just like the route before, the climb got progressively easier, feeling both relief and disappointment as it started to level out. ‘Scrambles and Easy Climbs in Snowdonia’ gave the arete a guide time of 45 minutes, it took us upward of double that thanks to the conditions. We continued up to the trig point on Carnedd Ugain, celebrated for a brief moment, finished the last of the flapjacks and turned and marched in the direction of Cwm Glas Ridge. We’ve climbed Snowdon numerous times along a variety of routes. This could very well be our favourite way down. A walk rather than a scramble, it weaves it’s way down to the valley floor through sections of rock and grassy platforms. More exciting than the alternative tracks down but refreshingly easy after our ascent.
We soaked our sore legs and washed in the stream next to the van, before driving back down south, already 2 hours late for dinner.
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