A half decent weather forecast and me not being on call meant I had the opportunity to play in the mountains last weekend.
13/02/2010, Glyder Fawr, GW/NW-003
Not wanting to pay for the privilege of parking at Idwal Cottage I parked at the Parking area at SH656602, 600m or so east of Iwdal Cottage, meant I had a wee bit extra to walk but I could live with that, gets the legs warmed up if nothing else.
Route choice today was Glyder Fawr via Y Gribin, the path up to Cwm Bochlwyd had a few icy patches but were easily avoided, the few usually muddy bits down the bottom were nicely frozen. From Cwm Bochlwyd (stunning views of the north face of Glyder Fach-I really should have taken some photos)the patches of snow slowly increased on the way up Y Gribin although it remained patchy until I got up to “the football pitch”. At this point the ridge gets narrower and steeper, I decided I’d stop and put the Kahtoolas on here rather than be trying to do it on the ridge.
I had the handheld on as I was going up and heard Ian, 2E0EDX on Fair Snape Fell as I was ascending the ridge, I did call back once when I had the opportunity but he had a pretty good pile up and 1.5W into a rubber duck wasn’t that effective. I never had the opportunity to make any further calls, too busy concentrating on keeping myself attached to the ridge, Ians signal coming and going depending on where I was on the ridge. Noticed plenty of folks in Cwm Cneifion although only met a couple coming down the ridge otherwise had it to myself. The Kahtoolas did the job well however for one small stretch near the top I did feel I was pushing the limits a bit, longer/more spikes would have been appreciated, still now I know the line I can push them to.
From the top of Y Gribin a wander across the snow covered summit plateau led to Glyder Fawr, it had taken me a little over 2 hours to get here and I decided I’d set up next to one of the rocky outcrops-something to hold the pole against. Before I got the chance though, on the handheld I heard Mike, GW4BLH/P on NW-043 so I was able to kick off with a summit to summit Got the beam & radio set up, got me set up (primarily getting my nice new Rab primaloft top on-toasty warm) and away I go.
Mark, G0VOF answered my intial calls and started a run of 13 stations on 2m FM, 2nd up was Ian 2E0EDX/P, still on Fair Snape Fell, so it was nice to make that contact having heard him on the way up, thanks. I was also found later on by Gordon, GW0EWN/P who was on Yr Aran, NW-019, I gave him a wave as I could see Yr Aran. A switch to SSB and I managed a summit to summit with Tony, 2W0LAE/P on NW-040, popular area North Wales was this Saturday.
I had a wander around, took some photos – views to Snowdon were particulary good, before deciding to head on down. I’d decided I’d have a wander down via the Devils Kitchen, it’s a while since I’d been this way, icy snow eventually ran out part way down to Llyn y Cwm at about 800m, although there were still icy patches, I realised once I reached the Llyn that had I descended further to the north than I did I would have been able to walk down a large snow field rather that the boulder field that I did, ah well!
Bumped into a couple of lads from Bangor uni on the decent to Llyn Idwal from the Devils Kitchen, they’d been curious as to what I’d been doing on the summit so I stopped for a bit of banter. Soon after this one of the SAR Seakings from Valley appears, and then disappears from sight, although it could still be heard. Cloud was starting to increase over the summits by this time. Later from Llyn Idwal the Seaking could be seen operating in Cwm Cneifion with the MRT popping smoke. Although I didn’t realise it at the time it was a busy day for both Ogwen Valley MRT and 22 Sqn on Glyder Fawr http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2010/02/14/climbers-injured-in-two-north-wales-falls, the activity I saw in Cwm Cneifion I’m sure was as a result of the climber who fell, a fair speel on UKC forum, http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=394877.
Anyway after that a nice stroll back to the car and the chance to set up my tent in daylight.
14/02/2010, Moel Siabod, GW/NW-010
A glorious morning, with the early morning sunlight hitting the tops of the peaks in the Ogwen Valley, although I fancied a wander up Moel Siabod today. So I had a short drive down the road to the car park near Pont Cyfyng. Took the tarmac lane over Pont Cyfyng and up the track towards the mountain, eventually passing through all the old quarry works – I always wonder what a hive of activity these places must have been when such Quarries and mines were being worked. The path gradually climbs up to the waters of Llyn Y foel and the view of the ridge ahead (Daear Dhu) which was to be my ascent route.
The top of the ridge looked like it had a good coverage of snow but once I was on the ridge I could see that the snow wasn’t as widespread as I had initially thought. It’s a nice easy scramble this ridge, although it is possible to avoid most of the exposure and scrambling by sticking to the left.
There is a large circular shelter on the summit, but I opted to hid behind the jumble of rocks at the summit to get out of the wind, although it had been a glorious morning the clouds were gradually gathering and there were regular flurries of snow whilst I was on the summit.
Starting on 2m FM, G6LKB and G0VOF started a run of 18 stations worked, switching to 2m SSB I was found and spotted by Mark, G0VOF (thanks) which brought about another 8 contacts including a summit to summit with M0KPO/P on Kinder Scout, SP-001. I knew Gordon, GW0EWN was intending to be on a summit today so I went back to 2m FM and was fortunate to find him there on Moel Hebog, NW-014. Whilst I was dismantling the kit I heard on the handheld both 2E0ZMR/P, and G0OXV/P work Gordon and whilst I was able to work 2E0ZMR/P on Fair Snape Fell, I missed Keith, I didn’t really fancy putting the beam back together to work him on 2m SSB having just taken it all apart, I should’ve tried with the rubber duck but didn’t think.
Took the “tourist route” down towards Plas-y-Brenin (having only seen a few folk on the way up – this route was much busier), although the “trench” only appeared once I got below the thin covering of snow that was covering the summit and a nice wander back through the woods to the car, by which point the weather had degraded to a light drizzle. I did loose my sunglasses on the descent, second pair I’ve lost in a year, maybe that’s why the weather was steadily getting worse during the day, because I took my sunnies!
All in all, a couple of very enjoyable days. Many thanks to all the stations that took the time to work me.