Tryfan - GW/NW-006, non activation

Sorry to anyone who was anticipating chasing myself (M0TYM) and my daughter Alice (M7SQT) on Tryfan, North Wales, today, 07/08/2020. The overwhelming advice of previous activators is to ascend via the south ridge so, of course, I chose the north ridge!! I had ascended to the summit successfully on at least two occasions via this route over 35 years ago and I felt it important to have one last attempt at this route because it was the playground of my mum and dad. We started at the usual parking spot, just below the Milestone Butress and we quickly found a route up the north ridge - Alice steamed ahead but it proved too much for me so I left Alice to her devices whilst I contoured round to an easier ascent to the ridge via the east face.
I reached the north ridge, well above the Milestone Butress and Alice duly caught up with me.
It transpired that Alice continued upwards to the summit (or at least she thinks!) I asked her if she had seen “Adam & Eve” but she said she wasn’t looking but had seen a “big cube of rock” - information on “big cube of rock” near / at the summit of Tryfan appreciated! Alice is off to Uni in Sept to read Geology and she was totally fascinated by the geology of Tryfan - e.g. she pointed out larva flows to me which I hadn’t noticed before.
When Alice caught up with me, I should have climbed the boulder field straight up the ridge in front but instead opted to follow the path to the left. However, this seemed to end in quite a bad “mauvais pas” which had to be negotiated in order to regain the ridge and the summit.
I felt it time to apply the SOTA golden rule to keep within capabilities and remember that the hill or mountain will always be there and we returned to the parking spot via my outward route.
Despite missing the activator points, this was still my best mountain day-out this year. I tested myself to the limit and Alice developed a great interest in climbing (she is a natural) and the Geology of Tryfan and she is very keen to climb the north ridge again with big sister (2E0DGM) and big sister’s boyfriend - I’m also trying to get the latter into amateur radio.
We did gain some chaser points with GM4VFL/P on GM/SS-038 whilst we were lower down on the north ridge. I also heard GW7HEM/P call GM4VFL/P, also on north ridge but above us. I kept listening on 145.500fm on descent but heard nothing SOTAwise.
I’ll be back on the south ridge.
Alastair, M0TYM


Good decision making. Especially as expectation, determination, disappointment and tiredness can affect decision making. (I have been guilty of this, so I speak from experience).

I’ve done Tryfan GW/NW-006 just the once, and that was via the South Ridge. Even that took me right to the very limit of my comfort zone and capabilities, so if I ever repeat it, I won’t be tempted to attempt an alternative route!

Sorry to have missed you Alastair! I think a few people get caught out by turning left instead of going up at that place you mentioned.

We great day out too. I’ve never done the north ridge before, only the heather terrace and south. I now have a new favourite!

73, Mike G(W)7HEM


I would strongly recommend that anybody climbing Tryfan by the North Ridge sticks strictly to the main line of the ridge. There will be various little paths heading off to the left but they are not there for the benefit of walkers, they are exit routes from the top of popular rock climbs on the East Face. Some of those climbs involve over 200 metres of rock work so a mis-step could be disasterous.

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Thanks Tom. I’ve just checked my mum’s walking logs and I ascended the north ridge to the summit from the A5 in 2h20 about a month before my 16th birthday. We then carried on up Bristly ridge and over Glyder Fach. My mum noted that they waited at the top of Y Gribin, our descent path, whilst I made a detour to the summit of Glyder Fawr and back - those were the days!!!
Alastair, M0TYM
Mountain goats on Tryfan:


Where you turned left is an alternative summit route which is a grade 2 scramble (SAC T5), so it sounds like turning back was a sensible decision! A popular spot for mountain rescue incidents. It can feel a little unintuitive the first time but the normal route at that stage is to just press on straight up. If you give it another shot from the south I think you’ll find it much easier.