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Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!


Postby houdi » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:46 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl, Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa

Date walked: 24/03/2012

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Okay, this is a long one, but as I’m down to one report a year now, I hope no one minds?

Does anyone understand the Scrambling grade system? I’m not sure I do. In fact, I’m not even sure I understand what Scrambling actually is. I used to think that Scrambling was rock climbing without ropes, Apparently, that is not the case, as you can still use a rope, harnesses, belays, runners (not really sure what these are), and other such alien equipment (or alien to me, at any rate), and still be deemed to be Scrambling. As far as I can make out, as long as you are not using full-on rock climbing gear then just about anything goes when Scrambling.

Now, I might be accused of being a touch simplistic, but it seems to me that there has to be some kind of dividing line between this type of Scrambling and free climbing. If what I have just described is Scrambling, then I am not a Scrambler. I never use ropes or any other artificial aids and I have done most of the recognised Scrambling routes in the country, ranging from Grade 1 to 3, plus a few which don’t fit into the standard Scrambling pigeon hole such as the vertical end of Crowberry Tower, and the front face of the Spearhead Buttress on Ben Narnian. As a kid I used to do similar things on the easier parts of Stannage Edge, and I always thought it to be rock climbing or free climbing. I had never heard of the term ‘Scrambling’ and didn’t know it even existed back then. However, like nearly everyone else who takes to the hills, I am an amateur. I do it for fun; a social activity. I am not a dedicated rock climber. Any skills I have (if, indeed, I actually have any) are self taught. Messing around on rock as a kid has given me basic climbing skills, and an eye for a good line (although I have cause to doubt this now) and, more importantly, a head for heights. Exposure had never bothered me. I can actually (and have done) run across the very apex of Crib Goch and enjoy the thrill. And yet, I have seen people up there, lying down hugging the rock, too afraid to move. But that doesn’t mean I’m immune to vertigo. I have looked down into the abyss on the very edge of The Chancellor in Glen Coe and felt dizzy. It’s a strange thing, vertigo, and affects people in all sorts of different ways and in different situations.

Anyway, back to Scrambling. The main problem, as I see it, is there is no grade higher than a 3. I have read Scrambling books written by crazy people, usually under the influence of acid, who have gone round the mountains looking for all the most difficult routes which only the Human Fly would attempt, and they list them as a Grade 3 Scramble knowing full well they are damn near impossible. In a perfect world they would be a 10 plus grade, but as there is no grade higher than a 3, then they are listed a s a 3. Curved Ridge is a also a 3 (I think actually a 2/3), but that is very easy. To me, Curved Ridge is a 1, but you can see the point I am trying to make? A grade 3 Scramble can be anything from reasonably easy for someone with decent enough Scrambling skills, or totally off the scale. It’s a joke really.

And another thing I have noticed, is these high end 3’s are usually only attempted by parties using artificial aids (ropes, harnesses, belays, slings, etc.). So if they are a grade 3 under these circumstances then what are they classed as if they are attempted solo without any climbing aids? Which brings me to my main point (about time, I hear you say). And that point is the Snowdonia Grade 2/3 Scramble called the Clogwyn y Person Arete. Everyone’s heard of it, right? Having braved this beast at the weekend I would submit that it should be removed from the Scrambling lists immediately. The Clogwyn y Person Arete is not a Scramble as we know it. It is a full on rock climb and ought to carry a Government Health Warning.

Let me explain. Okay, you start out doing a few Mountains, easy ones to begin with, and then you progress to a bit of simple Scrambling, maybe Striding Edge or something of that ilk. Enjoyable, right? A real adrenalin rush. So you up your skill level to the Aonach Eagach or Crib Goch, probably followed by Curved Ridge. You enjoy Scrambling, get a real buzz from it and relish a challenge. So what next? How about they Clogwyn y Person Arete? It’s a Grade 3 (possibly a 2 if you find the right line), so how hard can it be?

I tried to research the route before committing myself, but there is surprisingly little decent information on it, one reason being that it is so damn difficult to get to and, therefore, not as popular as other established routes. It involves a an hour plus trek from the roadside into the upper recesses of Cwm Glas. All of the reports I found involved teams of people with ropes, runners, and various other ‘safety’ implements foreign to a solo Scrambler like me. Interestingly enough, the Outdoors Magic website states that ropes, slings, nuts/hexes are essential for this climb. Slightly over-the-top compared with my meagre equipment of spare bootlaces, small tube of Savlon, assorted plasters, and a whistle. One report talked of a nice space to insert a runner (still don’t know what these are); someone in another party talked about soloing two pitches. Now, what is that all about? So they solo’d two pitches, but what about all the others? And another report mentioned missing out the Parson’s Nose because it is a rock climb and they wanted to stick to Scrambling guidelines, but they were using all the equipment mentioned above. Now, I honestly don’t understand any of this, and I guess my ignorance is part of the problem. I’ve no qualms with people using equipment on exposed routes. After all, not everyone is as confident (or as crazy) as I am. However, I’ve read several books which outline the Scrambling grades and, yes, they mention ropes for Grade 3 Scrambles, but nowhere have I ever read that Scrambling requires runners, nuts/hexes, or any of these weird and wonderful contraptions. My point being, can that honestly be classed as Scrambling, and how are you meant to get any kind of idea of a route’s difficulty with soloing in mind? Anyway, I found no single mention of someone having free-climbed this route on their own (without artificial aids), and perhaps this should have started the alarm bells ringing? Needless to say, if you type ‘Clogwyn y Person Arete’ into the Images section of Google, just about every photo shows people climbing it with ropes. Lesson learned, I think.

The day started off well. Clear blue skies and no parking meters in the Dinas Mot lay-by. Unfortunately, that was one of the main highlights. The Person Arete is just about visible from the road, tucked away in the distance behind the crags barring the way to Cwn Glas. It doesn’t look good even from here, I should have gone with my gut instinct, which was to run a mile faster than Roger Bannister. An hour an ten minutes later I was standing at the base of a monster, wondering what the hell I was doing there.
Clogwyn y Person Arete only looks like an arête from a valley head-on view. Once you get up there and on it, it actually seems more like a blocky ridge. From the bottom, however, it is an absolutely frightening sight. I don’t exactly know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t all that smooth vertical rock – layer upon layer of vertical pitches, most of which look totally unclimbable (I’m not sure that’s a proper word, just in case the Grammar Police are looking in). Right on the end, there is a single massive rock about 30-40ft high and separated from the main ridge by a narrow gully. It’s called the Parson’s Nose and, mercifully, is a rock climb and not part of the basic ‘Scrambling’ route. I think the idea is to start up the gully and, from the top, there is a difficult pitch out of the gully onto the main ridge itself. I didn’t fancy the gully, so I started off on the rock to the right and managed to get up to the point at the top of the gully without too much trouble. Initially. I had it in mind to give it a go in the early stages and, if it became excessively difficult, to retreat gracefully back to the car, or find a way up on to Crib Goch’s north ridge over to my left. Anyway, so far, so good.

I can’t really go into detail about the climb as so much of it still embedded deep in my memory where I hope it stays forever. I do remember hauling myself up horrendous vertical pitches, trusting everything to handholds and using the toe of my boots just to get a purchase on the rock as there were virtually no footholds. After three of these pitches I realised I’d fully committed myself. I couldn’t climb back down even if I’d wanted to. Keep left was one thing I remember reading. All the harder moves are on the right, it said. Grade 2 to the left, Grade 3 to the right., Ignore this as it’s absolute no help at all seeing as you don’t actually know the route they took in their report. The main problem is, once you’re up there, the rock pitches are so big you can only see about 20ft or so of rock in front of you and nothing beyond that, which means you cannot follow the line of the arête because you cannot see it. Once you pick a line then you are stuck with the moves which are dealt to you. I soon found out that following this straight line route above the Nose is just pitch after frightening pitch. It matters not a jot whether you go left or right. Several times I had to traverse right on small ledges to progress up the rock, before traversing left again for the next pitch. And sometimes it wasn’t even possible to traverse at all. And we are not talking Scrambling moves here either. Basically, I had to grab what handholds I could on the rock, most times at arms length, and haul myself up by the strength of my arms, using my feet on the vertical rock only to give me some much needed purchase. Much to my relief, the rock was bone dry otherwise I was going nowhere. I have to laugh at all those so called experts who say that Scrambling and rock climbing in general is all in the feet. Let the feet do the work not the hands. Well, I’ve got news for them. All these experts would be standing at the bottom of this route scratching their heads. Most of the time there are no footholds. I’ve never concerned myself with footholds, except when I’m down-climbing where they are essential. I’m confident of getting myself up anything so long as I can get a few decent handholds to haul myself up.

After several of these pitches it occurred to me I was in trouble. I couldn’t get back down (except excessively quickly) and the pitches were getting progressively more difficult. I was hanging in fresh air during these moves and I was thankful for all that free-climbing I did as a kid as it gave me this inbuilt knack of never worrying or even thinking what is behind and below me. When I’m climbing I never think about the exposure or what would happen if I slipped or the rock came away in my hand. You cannot let this get into your head in these situations otherwise you would just freak out completely. What really did go through my mind was the absolute irony of those reports I read, where people hauling themselves up here via modern technology had proclaimed the moves either a 2 or 3. No offence meant, but those gradings don’t mean a hell of a lot when you’re up there on your own with no artificial aids. In any case, I was obviously following a more difficult line to the one they had used. And I really was on my own. Some way over to my left across Cwm Uchaf, I could see the ant army marching across the top of Crib Goch. Here on the Person Arete/Ridge, I was all alone and chances were I would be for the duration. At that moment there were thousands of people making their way to the summit of Snowdon, but I was the only one in the entire range doing it by this route.

Every route has a crux and I met mine after forty-five minutes of climbing. Well, as just about every move was a crux, I would have to rate this a mega-crux. I came to another vertical pitch which offered a couple of lower handholds, but it was overhanging the rock beneath and, therefore, I couldn’t get a foot on the rock. I tried hauling myself up by my hands but I couldn’t get my foot up high enough to get any leverage. In my younger days I might have managed it, but my joints aren’t as supple as they used to be. I gave up after a few minutes. I was standing on a decent ledge, which was a blessing I wasn’t used to and I was able to traverse a few feet to the right where I spotted another move. Again, it was a vertical pitch and it turned out to be even harder. No way up there. Back to the original pitch. Another try, another failure. I was stuck. Maybe if I tie those laces together, I might be able to lasso the rock at the top of the pitch? Sorry, not really the appropriate moment for facetiousness.

Believe it or not, I was actually prepared for this. All the way up, with each pitch getting ever harder, I had already accepted the fact that I might get stuck at some point. Mountain Rescue Service came into my head and, for the first time, I was actually scared. Not scared of the climbing, but scared to look at my mobile in case I had no signal. Up there on my own with no phone signal? Not a very comforting thought.

Some years ago, when I was first thinking of tackling Curved Ridge, I came across a web site hosted by a Highland climbing club, who’s name escapes me. On their front page was a picture of the Buachaille with the Curved Ridge route marked on the front face with a red dotted line. However, they had marked the route to the left of Curved Ridge by mistake, and as two people had just been rescued from that ridge after taking the wrong route, I posted a text indicating their mistake. A couple of the members were very decent about it and thanked me for spotting it (they withdrew the picture immediately), but one of them gave me a right vindictive slagging off, as if I mere amateur like me had a nerve to question their professional integrity. The jist of it seemed to be that I was a soft Sassenach (I think this is Scots slang for ****) who should stick to a more suitable hobby and stay away from their dangerous Scottish hills. He even reckoned I would get stuck on Curved Ridge and have to be taken off by the Mountain Rescue Team. Needless to say, that didn’t happen and I took great pleasure in posting back to him (after I’d done Curved Ridge), suggesting that Scrambling Curved Ridge was probably beyond his capabilities and that he, in turn, should stick to the safety of his nice little ropes and pitons. He never replied, but ever since then I’ve had this thing about the Mountain Rescue Service. Incredible people doing an absolutely vital job, but the thought of being rescued myself irks me slightly. It’s as if it would prove the person on that Highland web site right. I remember a rescue helicopter buzzing me on the Grade 2 route on Y Garn. I felt like they were waiting for me to get into difficulties. Talk about paranoid.

Anyway, it was either carry on somehow or be rescued (always assuming I had a phone signal). I think this was one of those ‘horns of a dilemma’ situations. I sat down on the small ledge I was on and had a drink of water, trying to psyche myself up for another assault on the impossible pitch. I am totally confident in my Scrambling abilities, knowing I have better than average free rock climbing skills, but these moves were way in access of anything I’d tackled before and in a pretty unique situation. Above me, vertical rock. Behind me, a frightening drop, bouncing off everything and missing nothing, to a waiting body bag. I couldn’t afford any slip at this point.

A few deep breaths and I was ready. I grabbed the rock’s sharp edge at two available points and hauled myself up with sheer arm strength. I couldn’t use my feet, so I shuffled my way up the vertical rock using both knees. Not a great idea seeing as I was wearing shorts, but I had no other option. My arms were screaming, so I wedged my backside into a corner and, after a quick breather, hauled and shuffled again, using knees, shins and every other point of contact I could muster. I was completely hanging in space at this point, although this wasn’t exactly the best moment to dwell on it, but I managed to shift one hand to a higher hold, and hook my free arm and elbow over the top of the rock. I got a foot on the rock then, and that was all I needed. Seconds later, I was up and over that pitch and already dreading the next one. It was then I noticed my shins, knees, forearms, and elbows were all scraped and bleeding. Not to worry, I was still in the game.

Looking at some zoomed up pictures of the front view of the Persons Arete, it seems as if I didn’t go far enough left at the beginning of the climb, although the moves left look pretty limited anyway. I certainly did not encounter any easy rock, and I remember trying to head straight up from a point directly over the Parsons Nose. I did go right on quite a few occasions, which is supposed to be a no-no as some of the moves over to the right are actually v-diff rock-climbing moves (tell me about it!). In my defence, I went left at one point to find an impassable deep-sided gully going all the way up the left hand side (it’s not apparent in any of the photos) and I probably drifted too far right to stay away from it. I originally thought my route took me up just right of a central line above the Parson’s Nose, but my pic ‘Clogwyn10’ indicates I was as far right as I could possibly be without falling over the cliffs on that side. Talk about doing things the hard way. If I ever attempt this route again (and I expect I will next year when I’ve calmed down a bit), I will try heading as far left as possible from the initial gully ascent before I start climbing on the arête itself.

Mercifully, my gymnastic act proved to be the defining moment of the ridge. The next two pitches were difficult but not nearly so bad as the previous one. I manoeuvred myself up those to discover I was over the worst. The ridge gave way to a more manageable angle, and I was able to walk forward to the next (easy) pitch where the rock started to look like the more normal blocky Scrambling rock I was used to. In no time I was off the rock altogether, and on a path heading for the intersection with the bottom end of the Crib y Ddysgl ridge and a veritable stroll to the summit trig point of Cernedd Ugain. I’d made it. Incidentally, this forum lists the mountain (Hewitt) as Crib y Ddysgl, but I’m almost certain this only applies to the east ridge leading from Crib Goch to the summit, and the actual mountain itself is called Carnedd Ugain.

Normally, I feel elated after a Scramble, revelling in the achievement of it all. This time I felt nothing, not even relief. The sheer physical effort and mental concentration had left me emotionally drained. Scrambling should be fun, and enjoyable. This had been neither. Even now, days later when I am writing this report, I still feel nothing. I can look at it logically, and try to analyse what I’ve done. Sure it’s a great achievement, soloing arguably one of the hardest Scrambling routes in the country, and taking the worst possible line, but I can’t even bring myself to dwell on it for too long. It’s like I’ve suffered a traumatic experience of some kind.

From Carnedd Ugain, I carried on to the summit of Snowdon. Anyone who hates the crowds on the summit of the Ben should come and have a look at this place. And the train wasn’t even running. That is the problem with having a popular mountain so close to many populated areas. The Ben might be busy, but Snowdon is an absolute joke. And the crazy thing is, thousands of them go up there via Crib Goch, having never been on a mountain in their lives before. Little wonder the yellow helicopter is always hovering over Crib Goch. I’ve seen quite a few people crag-fast up there, mostly young kids about seventeen, usually with their girlfriends. Surely these people must know they’re afraid of heights?

My descent route took me back over Grib Goch; the first time I’ve done it in the reverse direction. I stuck to the pointy rock on the very apex of the ridge, so that everyone coming the other way could pass on the less exposed side. I’m not sure it did their confidence much good seeing me strolling nonchalantly on the very top whilst they clung on to the rock with their hands for safety. Little did they know, Crib Goch was a cakewalk for me after what I’d just gone through. I did discover one thing though. I wasn’t as confident with the drop on my left hand side as I am coming in the opposite direction with the drop on my right. Perhaps this is because I am right handed? I wonder if left-handed people experience the opposite effect?

The following day, Sunday, I walked the Carnedds. I didn’t even bother tackling the Crib Lem spur. It’s a hugely enjoyable Scramble, and not too difficult, but I’d promised myself a non-scrambling day. Anyway, I did Crib Lem a couple of years ago. About three o’clock in the afternoon, I was on my back down when the Rescue helicopter arrived on the skyline above Glyder Fach. Behind there is Crib Goch and that’s where the helicopter was, of course. The unseasonably fine weather had brought everyone to the mountains in their droves. There were literally hundreds upon hundreds of cars in the car-parks, and parked in endless lines up and down the roads of Snowdonia. I’ve never seen it so busy, not even in the height of the holiday season. All those novices up on Crib Goch? It didn’t bear thinking about.

The sight of the helicopter brought it all back to me and the fact that I was nearly on their rescue list. Anyone interested in the Clogwyn y Person Arete should understand what they are letting themselves in for. People generally report it to be a ‘high end’ Grade 3, whatever that is. You should appreciate this means in a party of people with the aid of ropes and more, and providing you don’t take the line I took. Solo, with no artificial aids, it’s way outside of Scrambling’s remit. When you are hanging off a vertical slab of rock having to use knees, shins, elbows and all sorts of bodily parts just to haul yourself up one single pitch without falling to the valley below, would you call that Scrambling? (actually listed in Section 58 of the Scrambling Manual under, ‘Stupid things not to do when Scrambling’). I have no right whatsoever to suggest people should stay well away from this climb. After all, I’ve done some thoroughly insane things in my time (including this) so who am I to hand out advice? All I would say, is think very carefully before committing to it. And I doubt if my pics are going to help any. I didn’t take any on the most difficult part of the route, for obvious reasons. In any case, pictures don’t give a real perspective. However, if you look at the top left of my pic ‘Clogwyn3’ you will see a couple of tiny stick insects marching across the ridge which might help give some perspective.

There seems to be a view that everything is bigger, better, and harder in the Scottish mountains and, after all, this is only Wales (my mate from Motherwell calls them kid-on mountains even though he’s never been to Snowdonia). That is a very blinkered and, quite frankly, erroneous view. The Scrambling in Snowdonia is absolutely excellent, even if there is less of it. It would be difficult to find better rock-bound mountains anywhere on the mainland than Crib Goch and Tryfan. And the summit of Glyder Fach is just magical. If you are looking for a challenge then you’ll find all that and more on the Clogwyn y Person Arete. It is not recognised as the best Scramble in Snowdonia for nothing, and it will almost certainly be one of the toughest challenges you’ll ever experience. Stay well left (if that’s even possible) from the start and don’t forget a change of underpants. On second thoughts, better make that several pairs.

Clogwyn1.JPG
1. Start of the route


Clogwyn2.jpg
2. Clogwyn y Person Arete from the road (zoomed)


Clogwyn3.jpg
3. And a closer zoomed perspective (stick insects top left)


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4. Looking back to the Llanberris Pass


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5. Parson’s Nose & Starting Gully


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6. Side view of the arête


Clogwyn7.JPG
7. Llyn Glas & the Glyders


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8. Somewhere on the arête


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9. A nice easy pitch!


Clogwyn10.JPG
10. Nearing the easy top section – and, yes, I was on the bloody right hand side. What a w***er!


Clogwyn11.JPG
11. Looking back down the arête from the top


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12. Carnedd Ugain trig point


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13. Heading for Snowdon


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14. Looking down the Pyg Track to Glaslyn & Llyn Llydaw


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15. The camera never lies – Snowdon summit and where’s all the people??


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16. Looking towards Crib Goch from Snowdon


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17. Y Lliwedd – part of the Snowdon Horseshoe


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17b Hey mate, where the hell do you think you’re going with my missus???


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18. Yr Wydffa - that's Snowdon to you and me!


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19. Crib Goch


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20. Crib Goch pinnacles


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21. Looking towards Snowdon from Crib Goch summit


Clogwyn22.JPG
22. Rock Jock territory – the vertical cliffs of Dinas Cromlech
houdi
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby mrssanta » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:32 pm

In my ignorance I always thought scrambling was when you needed to use your hands but you wouldn't need a rope or harness. then I got the BMC magazine thro the door yesterday which has the top ten British scrambles, of which five are described as "rock climbs" moderate diff v diff or even Severe. now I can see that to some people a mod climb would be a scramble and they would not feel the need of a rope, especially if they have swarmed all over seaside rocks in their childhood, but I am puzzled. Then I read your report which confirmed exactly what was in my mind.
So what is a scramble then?
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby pgrizz » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:42 pm

Fully agree about your assessment of a scramble: if you need to use ropes then it should be classed as a climb. Not to be quoted here but I do think that a lot of grade 3 or 3s scrambles are often also in the climbing guides as moderate or easy climbs.
Did this arete many years ago with a party from Teesdale fell Rescue and we started up the gully to the right which owing to the weather was actually a stream! Visibility was minimal and the leader put a rope protection for one step around a block over an apparent abyss but the move was rather simple after all: this was the only bit of the "scramble/climb" where we used a rope and that was just tied round our waist.
The scrambling was fine, would like to have seen the views though.
Nice pictures.
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby ChrisW » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:00 pm

Absolutely riveting report Houdi, loved every minute of it, your descriptions painted a wonderful picture and your comments had me laughing out loud in places. I personally always took scrambling to mean requiring hands on but without the use of climbing equipment of any kind. I used to do a little free climbing when I was younger, or should I say I thought I did, I took it to mean climbing without equipment when you really ought to have some :lol: Anyway, whatever people call stuff doesn't really matter as long as we have great days out like this one :D ....I think you'll feel something a few months from now when the realisation that you didn't die kicks in :lol:
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby houdi » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:36 pm

Thanks for the feedback, folks. Much appreciated.

Mrssanta, I've given up trying to figure out what Scrambling is. To me it means hands only, no ropes or any other artificial aids, otherwise the whole issue starts to get ridiculous.

pgrizz. Sorry to hear you had bad visibility on the arete but, to be fair you cannot see much of it when you're actually up there as the size of the pitches tend to restrict the view. Agree about grade 3's. there are some in the Wales Scarambling guides which are definitely rock climbs. I expect Scotland is the same.

Hi Chris. So you've deserted us for Canada, I hear? Been looking at your reports and they're excellent as usual, especially the pics. I have already decided to do the arete again, probably next year. I will enjoy it more now I know what to expect. I did take a very difficult line, so I will be paying more attention to that next time. Basically, I just put my head down and went for it. Not one of my better decisions. Hoping to get to Skye this June for some easier stuff!!!
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby colgregg » Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:51 pm

Another classic report Houdi. Great pics particularly like the ones of the Crib, brings back memories of a great day out for me.
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby yokehead » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:48 pm

Great report as ever Houdi, and this time extended to gripping level! :lol: Thoroughly enjoyed your account, thoughts and views. :D And, of course, well done on the achievement! 8)

Most of what I've read when it comes to scrambling says some people may like the security of a rope (including grade 1), grade 2 may be sensible to have a rope, and grade 3 stupid not to have it! But of course it all comes down to the individual - technical ability, confidence with exposure, and willingness to solo climb. The rope is always an option for the protection element. Unless you're alone. With the rope comes the nuts, slings and the rest of the kit.

Conicidentally, today I've received the BMC Summit mag. It has a section on scrambling with a 'top 10 spicy scrambles' list. Clogwyn y Person rates a 6 out of 10, as does Curved Ridge. Curved Ridge is also rated as a moderate rock climb. The description for Clogwyn is "climbed via a series of little walls and ledges and the easist line (grade 3) takes some finding. Tougher variations are possible". Sounds like you took the latter option then! :lol: Seriously though, from that description and as you've proved from your experience, it seems that the hardest part about the scramble is finding the correct route. Somewhat at odds though, it also has a quote about the scramble from Dan Bailey "This adventure on the wild side of Snowdon follows a compellingly obvious route". So we have a route that is difficult to find and obvious. :?

Here I think is the crux of your day. With Clogwyn the route became all important, unlike a Crib Goch, Aonoch Eagach or even Curved Ridge where there is really only one way (I haven't done Curved Ridge yet). And as you proved, the grade 3 route is difficult to find. You've also proved that the scrambling game is nuts. But we just love it! :lol:

Perhaps on your planned return you'll find that grade 3 route on the left, and that it is a doddle. Following that disappointment, you'll then be back to try it in the middle! :lol:
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby houdi » Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:20 pm

Cheers for the positive feedback, everyone.

Glad you liked the Crib Goch pics, Colgregg. Let you into a little secret (but don't tell our Scottish friends) - the Snowdon Horsehoe is my favourite route ever. Done it about 7 or 8 times and still love it. I prefer it to the Carn Mor Dearg-Ben Nevis route (my second favourite) mainly because Y LLiwed is a better finishing stretch than the Ben's horrible tourist path.

Yokehead - Thanks for all the info. The BMC have seriously gone down in my estimation if they rate the Cludgie (my pet name for the Clogwyn Y Person Arete) with the same 6 out of 10 as Curved Ridge. I have done Curved Ridge 6 times now and it is way too easy. The last time (last April) it only took me something like 40 minutes from the start of the ridge to the top of Crowberry Tower. I don't see how it can be rated as a Moderate Rock Climb with all those nobbly holds all the way up. And, let's face it, the crux is way overrated. You could slide back down the crux onto that big wide ledge without serious injury. Hardly dicing with death. Don't get me wrong, I love Curved Ridge. It is my favourite Scramble in Scotland (so far), hence the reason I've done it so many times, but my main enjoyment now is trying to find a different way up Crowberry Tower each time. Believe me, the Cludgie is way more difficult than Curved Ridge even allowing for the fact I took a difficult line.

I'm beginning to wonder if this Dan Bailey has even been near the Cludgie. The only obvious thing about the line is that you have to go up the way. It is certainly not covered in crampon scratches like Curved Ridge and there is no defining apex as a guide. Had to laugh at 'the little walls and ledges' bit. Is this 'little' to a BMC rock jock who's used to the massive vertical walls of Dinas Cromlech? You're definitely right about one thing. I probably will stick to the middle next time and not bother looking for an easier line. I will make sure I take plenty of pics though, so that people can judge for themselves. Actually, I'm looking forward to it already. Skye next for me though (weather permitting).

Once again, thanks everyone for the excellent comments.
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby clivegrif » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:55 pm

Excellent stuff - will have to have a go at that one! :D
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby houdi » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:25 pm

Probably best if you don't ask me for route advice :lol:
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby malky_c » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:37 pm

Great to see this report - one of my all time favourite scrambles! I've done it 3 or 4 times now, although not since about 2002. Photo 9 shows what I remember as the crux - a chimney with a crack up the left hand side that you somehow drag yourself up by getting your arms around a wedged block at the top. I distinctly remember the block giving a little last time I put my weight on it :shock: - maybe it isn't there now...

I remember a second awkward bit above here, where you had to use a spike of rock behind you to help ascend a short vertical wall. The rest of it I vaguely remember as straightforward but exposed. As you say though, makes Curved Ridge look like a walk in the park!

The awkward pitch though - first couple of times were fine, second time I had to drag dad up it on the rope, 3rd time he had to drag me up it! Not sure what I'd make of it now, as I am a bit more cautious (and scared) these days.

If you liked that, I'd recommend Dolmen Ridge on Glyder Fach. Not quite as difficult, but pretty close, and also quite exposed.

Hardest 'scramble' I did was one called Shark Buttress, also on Glyder Fach. While I consider the above two to be scrambles, that was definitely in climbing territory for me, and I was dragged up most of it on a tight rope. Think I had nightmares about that one for a few days afterwards :lol:

Well done for managing to get some photos up there - photos are always the last thing on my mind in this sort of terrain!
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby houdi » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:57 pm

At last someone who can vouch for the difficulty of the Clogwyn y Person Arete. malky_c you are my hero! I will definitely check out the Dolmen Ridge as I love the Glyders. I also fancy a go at the Cneifion Arete over at the Idwal Slabs. It's a 3 but looks well scary.
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby stevesey » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:51 am

malky_c wrote:Great to see this report - one of my all time favourite scrambles! I've done it 3 or 4 times now, although not since about 2002. Photo 9 shows what I remember as the crux - a chimney with a crack up the left hand side that you somehow drag yourself up by getting your arms around a wedged block at the top. I distinctly remember the block giving a little last time I put my weight on it :shock: - maybe it isn't there now...

I remember a second awkward bit above here, where you had to use a spike of rock behind you to help ascend a short vertical wall. The rest of it I vaguely remember as straightforward but exposed. As you say though, makes Curved Ridge look like a walk in the park!

The awkward pitch though - first couple of times were fine, second time I had to drag dad up it on the rope, 3rd time he had to drag me up it! Not sure what I'd make of it now, as I am a bit more cautious (and scared) these days.

Did Clogwyn y Person yesterday - was looking out for Photo 9 but never came across it - I think we must have managed to pick out the easiest route - we did come across a similar but more wedge shaped (depth wise) chimney towards the left of a ledge, went following the keep left mantra (we could have gone further left still - perhaps that's where photo 9 is). This had a larger shelf/crack on the left than the photo and an overhanging rock to duck under at the top - after the first step up it was decided that this was more than grade 3 so we had a look around to the right a bit and found an easier route that reasonably quickly cut back left (albeit a little exposed before you cut back - but big holds all the way).

We were roped - practicing the art of "moving together" - but the holds were generous all the way and think I'd have been happy without the rope (as long as the holds are chunky I tend not to get nervous).

N.B. Open cycle map has a path marked on the arete - I was checking on Viewranger as we went along and we were always close the the markings (it will never show all the twists and turns but perhaps a useful re-assurance that you are not too far right or left).
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby AbbsFooty » Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:58 am

Great post! Thanks for posting! :)
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Re: Clogwyn y Person Arete - If Carlsberg did Scrambles!

Postby DaveB1 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:50 pm

Wonderful report Houdi, once I started it I couldn't stop. Your descriptions and observations of what is a scramble align with my own. 'Hands on walking' no ropes or other bits of kit. That Oh 'S**t' feeling is one I know well, but still here to laugh about it. :lol: Glad you survived the experience and I'll stick it on my list as a definite, maybe, well go on then! However I suspect it will remain a distant challenge for the time being. Dave
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