Glyder Fawr (GW/NW-003) 10/12/2008

It has been a few weeks since my last activation, Drosgol (GW/MW-008). That time a bumped knee meant I finished the walk in agony which had restricted my excursions for a short while. Feeling recovered I thought a “gentle” stroll up a mountain would be ok :o)

I arrived at the home of my walking companion at 6am and were heading our way up the A5 by 6.30. As we got closer to the mountains they looked stunning in their white winter overcoats and I wondered if conditions were going to prevent us from attaining our goal like our failed attempt of Carnedd Llewelyn (GW/NW-002) in October. We arrived at the nearly empty car park at Pen-y-Pass at 8.30-ish and started the adventure at 8.45.

The initial walk from the car park at Pen-y-Pass is across very boggy ground with several places difficult to cross with dry feet. Eventually we came to the first of the steep grassy sections which, even though was wet, was easily climbed. At 550 metres ASL the snow line started, little patches in the nooks and crannies of the rocks with some held in place by the tufts of grass and coarse vegetation. The marked path up the steep rocky scramble was difficult to follow because of the snow so often we took a more direct route than was intended. As the gentler slopes were reached the cloud cover closed in which reduced visibility by blurring the distinction between the snow covered ground and sky, which only got worse the higher we went. Navigation was also hampered by hidden 2 foot deep drifts which made walking tiring, but occasionally we crossed large flat areas of pristine snow which had a crust which could bear our weight without showing any sign of being walked on. The higher we climbed the stronger the wind became and the nearer the summit the sharper the grains of ice whipped up were felt on our faces. Eventually the desolate summit was reached (an hour later than intended), the frozen surface was almost flat because of the wind and snow was piled in large drifts on the lee side of the large rocky outcrops. One of these outcrops was chosen for shelter and out of the wind it wasn’t too bad considering it was well below freezing. Wishing to make contact with Robert (GW0PEB) on Moel Siabod (GW/NW-010) I called out several times on 2m FM hoping he was going to be monitoring but knowing we were going to be a lot later than predicted knew the chance was going to be slim for a summit to summit. I didn’t really have any intension of using 2 metres so wasn’t surprised by having no reply to my CQ call with a hand held transceiver, except I made one contact with Andy (MW0WEE/M) sheltering from rain in his van near Aberwystwyth.

Considering that we took one of the easier routes to the top we saw no signs of other people out in these extreme conditions till after the antenna had been set up. I had just settled and voices were heard followed quickly by two shapes which turned out to be two very well equipped women (crampons and ice axes) which made us think we were possibly pushing things again in the conditions we were in but we were fine. They both came over to say “hi” and were intrigued by what we were up to. Most of you must have had comments from other walkers along the lines of “are you trying to get, channel 5?” but one of the women came out with one of the best I’ve heard. “You know mobile phones work up here” and “when you get through tell your partner you’re having fun and dinners in the oven” :o) The only other person we saw was a lone walker who looked very bemused by the antenna.

I struggled to erect the antenna in the wind and several times the central pole collapsed just as I was about to settle into the activation requiring me to get up from my comfortable position. Eventually the pole seemed to freeze into place and ice formed on the dipoles and feed line. Because of the conditions I initially thought I would do a quick activation and only use one band (60m) even though I had alerted more. Propagation on 60 metres seemed to be very hit and miss with high levels of QSB which I thought was being due to a problem with my antenna. The strongest, most reliable, contact was with Don (G0RQL) who told me everyone was suffering with the same problem not just me. He also relayed and spotted my hops around the 5MHz channels. I qualified the summit easily but decided to try 80 metres to give the non N.O.V. holders an opportunity but I must apologise to Peter (ON3WAB), if I’d known he was monitoring me I would’ve tried 7MHz. I since noticed that I’ve been the first to activate Glyder Fawr on 80 metres, quite surprising after 60 previous visitors.

The walk back down was just a case of following our foot steps in the snow. As we dropped below the cloud covering Glyder Fawr the afternoon sunshine glinted off the snow covered mountains of the Snowdon horseshoe, Moel Siabod and Crib Goch ridge providing spectacular views on the descent. We eventually got back at the car at 3.30.

Equipment used for the activation: Yaesu FT-817ND @ 5W on its internal batteries, 80 and 60 metre inverted v dipoles (5 metres at the centre, 1.4 metres at the ends).

Contacts; 1 on 2m FM, 12 on 60m SSB and 13 on 80m SSB.

Thank you to all the chasers, without you the time on the mountains would be a little less enjoyable and thank you to Don for the spots and QSY relays.

Carolyn (G6WRW)

In reply to G6WRW:

Great report Carolyn, I have to say of all the spots/alerts over the last few days yours made me the most jealous.

I was initially surprised to read that you started from Pen-y-Pass as I’ve always used the Ogwen Valley as a “jumping off” point for the Glyders. But it does make a lot of sense, you get that initial height gain (always handy in the short daylight hours of winter) and I’d imagine that the snow/ice coverage on the Ogwen Valley (North) side of the Glyders would have been greater - or rather it wouldn’t have melted as much.

Anyway, great read even if it makes me more jealous :slight_smile: thanks,

Iain, M3WJZ

In reply to G6WRW:

Yet another fantastic report Carolyn, thank you. You are certainly a very brave lady, climbing the Welsh biggies in such conditions, well done.
Glad to hear that your leg/ankle has healed and stood up to the mammoth test you gave it on this summit.


In reply to M3WJZ:
Yes, a great report, Carolyn, and it brings back some great memories, too.

I’ve never gone up from PyP, though it certainly looks interesting, in the past my chosen approaches have been Bristly Ridge, the Devils Kitchen and Nant Peris, but the most enjoyable was the scramble up Senior’s Ridge after doing a route on the Idwal Slabs. Not a logical choice for SOTA!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G6WRW:

An excellent and most interesting report Carolyn. Well done, both on the activation and the ascent of Glyder Fawr.

It was a real struggle on 5MHz due to a combination of deep fading and local QRM. I tried to see whether 80m was any better, but my local QRM is even heavier down there, so there was no chance of an improved contact.

73, Gerald

Thank you everyone for your comments… Always appreiciated.

You can see some pictures from the activation at

Carolyn (G6WRW)

In reply to G6WRW:

Wow stunning photos Carolyn, thanks.


No need to apologise, Carolyn. If I see in what difficult circumstances you had to work, all is forgiven. At least I got you in my SWL log on 60m.

Great pictures by the way. Activating this one must ahve been a real challenge.



In reply to G6WRW:
Hi Carolyn,

Further to our QSO touching on the subject yesterday, very well done with this one. That is a good report and I missed not a word. Your photos are great too; you must have a really good camera. It reminds me that I should make more time for posting photos.

Iain was not the only one reaching for the map when you mentioned Pen-y-Pass, as I too have traditionally used Ogwen. However, it makes perfect sense for your operation. Good that the crust held up; murder when it doesn’t!

Thoroughly brilliant account and you went high for December.

Now how’s this for a compliment? You just might turn out to be the new Shirley (MW0YLS /MG). She would have been proud of you.

Be encouraged but take care,

73, John G4YSS.

Hi John

My camera is not special, but is my favourite and has some sentimental value. It is a Olympus Camedia C-300 which is getting on a bit now and it has travelled the world with me. I even lost it once and had it returned. I was on a day trip to the Isles of Scilly and while walking stopped for lunch in a little park. I got distracted while packing things away and didn’t pick it up. As soon as I realised I went back to the place I knew I’d left it but it was gone. I was quite upset because there were pictures that I wanted to keep that I hadn’t yet saved. I went to the police station in Hugh Town to report the loss, not really expecting to get it back. That evening when I was back on the mainland I had a phone call from the police saying that my camera had been handed in by some kind person and could I collect it. I said I couldn’t easily so they offered to post it home.

I chose the Pen-y-Pass route after reading Richard’s tip on the summit details for Glyder Fawr.

Fell walking/scrambling has temporally taken the place of my other adventurous activity of SCUBA diving (I have an open water instructor qualification) which has been neglected while I’ve been at university for the past few years; I hope to return to it when I get round to finding a job.

Thank you for the compliment

Carolyn (G6WRW)

In reply to G6WRW:

It was most disappointing not to be able to hear you on this one. There were a lot of other stations also listening but the skip was long with Don G0RQL in Devon and the GMs being massive signals here.

The photographs look superb I can feel the cold biting my fingers and toes just looking at them. I love challenge of activating in the snow but I hate the cold, so rather you than me.

Seasons Greetings Steve GW7AAV