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Capel Curig to Pen-y-Grwyd via the Glyders

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:19 pm
by foggieclimber
Another report from my recent trip to Snowdonia.

I set off this morning from Capel Curig to ascend Gallt Yr Ogof and Y Foel Goch en-route to the main objective of the day – Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr.

There is room for at least a dozen cars in the free car park a short distance behind Joe Brown's outdoor shop.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Start of walk at Capel Curig:
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I set off along a track and then took to the hillside just beyond a house.

Ascent from Capel Curig:
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I thought the view back towards Capel Curig and beyond was quite nice.

Looking back to Capel Curig:
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During the ascent towards Cefen y Capel, I spotted a female Wheatear, which stayed still long enough for me to get a photograph.

Wheatear:
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The weather this morning was definitely uninspiring, especially the low cloud. For a while, views were non-existent above 500m. During the ascent, I decided that if the low cloud did not lift I would cut the walk short at Y Foel Goch, as I wanted good views of the spectacular Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach. The underfoot conditions were also very much squelch, squelch, squelch.

Gallt Yr Ogof:
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Looking back to Cefen y Capel:
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The low cloud had not lifted by the time I reached the summit. The summit is the rock 4m from the cairn. Gallt yr Ogof is a Hewitt.

A few minutes after leaving the summit, the cloud lifted and as a result so did my enthusiasm level :D.

Summit of Gallt yr Ogof:
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It was great to start getting views across to Glyder Fach and Tryfan.

Y Foel Goch, Glyder Fach and Tryfan:
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Y Foel Goch:
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On reaching the summit of Y Foel Goch, I visited the summit cairn and then had a short break in the stone shelter. Y Foel Goch is a Hewitt.

Looking back towards Gallt yr Ogof from summit of Y Foel Goch:
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I then made my way across to Glyder Fach.

Glyder Fach and Tryfan:
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Ascending Glyder Fach:
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I couldn't help but admire Tryfan and Bristly Ridge during the walk across to Glyder Fach. I will definitely do this route in the future, but it is one I am saving for a nice sunny day, to enjoy the mountain at its best.

Bristly Ridge (zoom):
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Tryfan from Glyder Fach:
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On reaching the flat summit area of Glyder Fach, I was in awe of the piles of huge boulders. The summit area of Glyder Fach is unlike any other hill that I have been up previously. I would love to know the geology behind these huge piles of boulders and tors.

Approaching large pile of boulders on Glyder Fach:
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Large boulders on Glyder Fach:
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More large boulders:
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On seeing the Cantilever Stone, I clambered up onto it. There was no-one else around at the time to take a photograph and the camera timer didn't give nearly long enough for me to get up there.

Cantilever Stone:
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However, as I was ascending the huge pile of boulders at the summit, I took a photograph of others on the Cantilever Stone.

Someone standing on the Cantilever Stone:
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The scramble up the boulders to reach the highest summit boulder was certainly interesting.

Looking back towards the Cantilever Stone from summit of Glyder Fach:
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Glyder Fawr from summit of Glyder Fach:
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From the summit, I descended back down the boulders and then crossed an area covered with lots more boulders en-route to Castell y Gwynt (Castle of the Winds).

Looking back to large pile of boulders at summit of Glyder Fach:
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Castell y Gwynt is another impressive feature of Glyder Fach. I wasn't sure of the route past Castell y Gwynt. Bypassing the castle on the right wasn't an option as there are steep cliffs. Bypassing the castle on the left looked like it would involve losing quite a bit of height. I therefore took the direct approach up Castell y Gwynt.

Castell y Gwynt:
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Approaching Castell y Gwynt:
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The route I took across Castell y Gwynt had lots of crampon marks to follow. I didn't try to reach the summit of Castell y Gwynt but was just a short distance below it.

Scrambling round Castell y Gwynt:
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Descending from Castell y Gwynt:
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On reaching the base of Castell y Gwynt, I could see that there is an easy by-pass around it :roll:.

Looking back to Castell y Gwynt:
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Looking back to Glyder Fach summit and Castell y Gwynt:
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As I ascended Glyder Fawr the low cloud returned and it started to rain.

Glyder Fawr:
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Approaching summit of Glyder Fawr:
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At the summit I was surprised to find around 20 school children with a couple of adults (possibly German). Many were wearing only jeans and a sweatshirt. I was cold wearing my thick fleece, some of them looked seriously cold and wet.

School group at summit of Glyder Fawr:
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Had the cloud level not lowered and the rain started, I might have continued along the ridge to Y Garn. Instead I decided to head back down. Decision time – descent to A5 to the North or descent to A4086 to the South. My paper Landranger Map showed a path descending from Glyder Fawr to Pen-y-Pass, however, this path was not showing on the map I printed off from the internet and wasn't showing on my GPS. I decided to descend via this path anyway.

Descent from Glyder Fawr towards Pen-y-pass:
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Looking across to Crib Goch (zoom):
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The initial descent was quite straight-forward as there were a number of cairns to follow. However, the path soon become very faint and then non-existent in places. I wouldn't recommend this descent route in misty conditions.

Descent towards Llyn Cwmffynnon
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During the descent, I come across an area of rocks with round quartz balls in them.

Strange knobbly rocks:
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The descent to Pen-y-Pass was steep.

Steep descent to Pen-y-Pass:
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On reaching Pen-y-Pass, I had the choice of waiting circa 90 minutes for the next Snowdon Sherpa bus or walking an extra mile to the fantastic Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel. I walked the extra mile :D.

Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel:
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Good finish to a walk – Pint and Cake:
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After a nice pint and piece of carrot cake, I caught the Snowdon Sherpa bus from Pen-y-Gwryd back to Capel Curig.

The Glyders are seriously good hills :D.

Re: Capel Curig to Pen-y-Grwyd via the Glyders

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 9:02 pm
by ChrisW
Great report Foggie, what a truly stunning landscape with some outstandingly weird rocks. Strange to see ill prepared school kids up there given the number of incidents that have occurred in the past :shock: shame the weather closed in on you but it certainly didn't kill a spectacular day...I reckon a sausage buttie would have been better than that cake though :lol:

Re: Capel Curig to Pen-y-Grwyd via the Glyders

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 10:05 pm
by Lenore
Very interesting looking rocks, especially the spikey 'castle'. Cool report and pictures!

Re: Capel Curig to Pen-y-Grwyd via the Glyders

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 5:22 pm
by garyhortop
Great report Foggie and the pics really captured the "moonscape" of the Glyders. The trip from Tryfan onto the Glyders via the Bristly Ridge is superb especially if you do the North Face of Tryfan en route as its feels like a proper climb all the way to the top!! :D

Re: Capel Curig to Pen-y-Grwyd via the Glyders

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 6:15 pm
by snowdonia7
Excellent report - and a fine finish at the Pen y Gwyryd.

Good call to leave Tryfan for a fine day (I did it in October with my son in bright sunshine). As Gary says you really feel like you have climbed all the way, but with no real exposure.

Re: Capel Curig to Pen-y-Grwyd via the Glyders

PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 10:32 pm
by munrogimp
A quality report of an area I know well. I agree with your observations along the route especially the descent from Glyder Fawr to Pen y Pass - difficult, to say the least.
As already noted a concerning picture of the baddly kitted out kids, what ever nationality.