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Cribau Ridge in Winter.

Cribau Ridge in Winter.

Postby Rekrab » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:38 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Y Lliwedd

Date walked: 19/02/2012

Time taken: 4.5

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 1095m

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With the Hotel dead and snow on the way I asked for Sunday off as I got some extra hours on the Wednesday so I took the day to go play in the snow.

Now I've been on 6 walks up mountains this winter and I've carried Crampons and Ice Axe 5 times and not needed them.
so today I left them at home.
I Took the Sherpa out the Pen-y-pass and to my surprise as we came around to Capel curig there was a very white Snowdon range.
We arrived and I headed up the miners path, I have been wanting to do Cribau for ages but haven't really had the chance, If public transportation would have allowed I would have had gone to Blaenau Ffestiniog to climb the Moelwyns as all the Hewitts there would all be new ticks.

I may have picked a silly day to do an exposed scramble, and as I took the last bend on the Miners track and laid eyes on the ridge I thought "maybe i'll just stick with the miners and come down the pyg" but then I thought "i'll give it a go and not climb anything I can't down climb".
Y Lliwedd from Miners path.

when I reached my turnoff for Cribau a group passed me as I was popping my hat, gloves and goggles on. I said good morning then crossed the burn to head up the ridge, a few minutes later I was looking back to see them looking at me in a "where is he going?" kinda way and I thought this is what proper climbers must feel like when they split off the pony track and around to the N face of Ben Nevis. Twas a good feeling.

I headed up and i'd not long started when the Snow started and I was glad I'd brought them my goggles, they made the normally stinging snow a non-issue.
once you are on the ridge it's pretty flat at the start with a very small incline taking you closer to Y Lliwedds E ridge it's very exsposed on ether side but easy walking, there's almost no need to use your hands.
Cribau ridge.

Looking back to the turn off for the Miners path

the ridge soon turns into a very nice scramble un raveling itself as you go with a lot of big chunky holds which made for quick ascent.
Scrambling conditions.

after 100m or so of this you find your chest closer and closer to the rock and it's go big or go home time.
Looking back at Height gained.

it was at this point when I came across this gully which I tried to climb round on both sides only to find that I had to go up the middle, not liking it at first glance made me think ok walks over here it's full of snow.
I gave it a go, it was very tricky squashing my face against the rock so I can pop my knee on the ledge I have been using as a hand hold, and with elbows straining I made it to a safe spot.
the Bum clinching gully

Looking down the Gully

after doing that I felt that it was time for a picture.
Me after Squeaky bum gully.

I had 30-40 more meters of the not-so steep stuff then I only had one more large pinnacle to get over and I was on top.
the last slab before the top.

this was all nice and chunky and I was very please to see all the lovely hand holds and grassy ledges.
but as I got closer I saw that there was a lot of water here and it had all frozen to the rocks so I couldn't use the rocks and i'd have to keep to the grass and snow for this last section.
when ever I came across a bit with to much Ice I would go left or right of it but the problem there is the more you skirt round the more exposed you are, so if you stay in the middle you can have a wee fall but go around and have the big fall.
I thought i'd take my time and make sure I could down climb everything but then the thought crossed my mind of down climbing that tricky gully back down there and that wasn't something I wanted to do.
After ten minutes of once again elbow straining and face squashing I was laying on the ground beside the cairn marking the top!!!! Whew!
from here on out the rest of the day was familiar.
I felt it was another photo opportunity.
ontop of Cribau ridge.

Looking down.

now on to y Lliwedd.

I've done Y Lliwedd twice last year and never in winter so this time I stayed on the very top of the ridge and took in all the wee pinnacles and bumps along the saddle from Snowdon.
more Scrambling.

once I was along a bit I turned around and got a pic of the whole ridge.

after a few more lumps and bumps it was onto Y Lliwedd.
"The Queen of the Welsh Mountains".

This was very pleasant and it might just be my favorite Hewitt so far I've enjoyed climbing it every time.
i'm not going to go on about Y Lliwedd as I've already done 2 walk reports for this hill and I'll skip ahead to the route over to Gallt y Wenallt at the far end of the snowdon horseshoe.
Coming off Lliwedd bach I normally take the tourist path down the side but once again I stuck to the pinnacles on the very top of the ridge squeezing every bit of scrambling I can get out of today.
once I reached the normal turn off for heading back to the miners path I continued along.
en route to Gallt y wenallt

Looking back to Y Lliwedd.

there is a slight plateau now leading to Gallt y Wenallt then a few wee bumps but it's over before you know it.
Small plateau heading to Gallt y Wenallt

Gallt y wenallt spotted.

once I reached the end of the ridge I was faced with 2 choices for descent I could make my way back along to Lliwedd and then take the normal path down or I could make my way off the steep slopes from where I am.
I was pretty tired now so I chose to not double back and head down from here. I needed to head slightly west as I descended as the west side of the valley below was higher than the eastern side and it meant not having to climb back up to much to reach the miners path.
I snapped a few pics of surrounding hills before losing sight of them.
Yr Arran

Crib goch, love the frozen scree below.

then I headed down the very steep slope to the very boggy valley below.
down climb from Gallyt y wenallt

from the bottom

from the other side of the valley.

the rest was simple.
cross the valley below (hands and knees under the pipe by the way)
then up 100 or so meters to the miners path.

was a cracking day one of the best winter days out I've ever had.

thanks for reading

Last edited by Rekrab on Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Cribau Ridge in Winter.

Postby poppiesrara » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:58 pm

Spectacular, Mackenzie! and you're a far, far braver man than me!
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Re: Cribau Ridge in Winter.

Postby mrssanta » Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:10 pm

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Re: Cribau Ridge in Winter.

Postby malky_c » Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:11 pm

Excellent! Done this route a couple of times, once in similar conditions. It isn't too difficult (in the summer at least) but you've managed to get some pretty impressive photos of it. 8)

I was out in the Berwyns yesterday, and the snow was limited to a single patch one meter square, although it did start snowing quite heavily as I was getting down into the valley. Was up a Marilyn in Shropshire today and was quite surprised to see Wales looking white all of a sudden!

I don't even have my axe, crampons and winter boots down south with me, as I never had any of those things when growing up in Wales, and managed OK (plus I can't be arsed carting them up and down to Inverness on the train). Mind you, most of the hills I'm after at the moment are the lower, grassier ones, so it's easy to plan around any big snowfall.
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Re: Cribau Ridge in Winter.

Postby Kevin29035 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:42 am

Whoa looks impressive, actually the writing gave the photos some context and made it even more impressive. Your text earlier didn't mention the ice axe so I thought you had one :)

Good job my man. Now for Tryfan N in winter!
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Re: Cribau Ridge in Winter.

Postby johnovey » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:05 pm

Nice one MacKenzie
Looks like you had a brilliant day. Sorry that we were on our way back home from Snowdonia that day shattered but I think in those conditions I would have chickened out from joining you
Some good photos of the ridge and Y Lliwedd. Looks a bit scary to me on the ridge but I'd like to have a go at it in the Summer.
Well done, great report!
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Re: Cribau Ridge in Winter.

Postby ChrisW » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:38 am

That is a really great report MacKenzie and quite a hike in those conditions even if the weather played ball, looks like one of those days when you get down and allow yourself an ear bending grin all the way home :lol:
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Re: Cribau Ridge in Winter.

Postby Rekrab » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:36 pm

thanks everyone probably the best feedback I've ever gotten from a TR.

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Re: Cribau Ridge in Winter.

Postby mountainstar » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:54 pm

Pretty grey day until near the end, typical eh!
A good alternate route on the Snowdon Massive, which avoids most of the crowds after the Miners track.
Will catch up with you again when I get into some sort of a routine again :D
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