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Carneddau Comeback!

Carneddau Comeback!

Postby Riverman » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:47 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn, Pen yr Helgi Du, Pen yr Ole Wen, Yr Elen

Date walked: 16/02/2014

Time taken: 8

Distance: 17.6 km

Ascent: 1050m

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Well, after January's disappointment on Carn Mor Dearg I was amply compensated yesterday in the Carneddau. After watching the weather reports from mid January onwards with dismay and after the terrible storms of the last couple of weeks, I was not certain this trip would even go ahead. The night before the drive to Wales there was a terrible storm here in London. On Saturday, I left the capital in buffeting winds and pretty awful traffic. Just over 5 hours later I arrived in Betws y Coed and got my head down for an early night in the B&B.

The idea behind this trip was to spend one more winter day with a guide before venturing onto any big winter hills solo - something I hope to do in March and April up in Scotland. I planned the route and met Mark Reeves from Snowdonia Mountain Guides for an 8.30 start on Sunday. We were blessed with absolutely pristine conditions - although hardly the best conditions for testing my navigation skills. Blue skies and zero wind, we could see our route clearly the entire day. I must have looked at the map three times in 8 hours.
View of Tryfan on the ascent of Pen Yr Ole Wen

First, we made our way up towards Cwm Lloer and then began our ascent of Pen Yr Ole Wen. I was glad to avoid the approach from the south west, which looks like a miserable trudge. On the climb it was amazingly warm and on reaching the summit the view out onto the Carneddau was breathtaking. Above 900m the snow was plenty hard and nice to walk on in crampons. The ridge to Carnedd Dafydd was very gentle and we seemed to arrive at the second summit of the day in no time at all. After passing the impressive crags of Cwmglas Mor we started to head towards Carnedd Llywelyn. I wanted to bag Yr Elen on the route as well and has just figured on heading up to Llywelyn and nipping over to Yr Elen and back by the same route. At this point Mark wisely suggested that we cut across to the west at about 960m and before reaching Llywelyn. This was a great suggestion and saved us about 100m of unecessary climbing.

Pen Yr Ole Wen (978m)


Regretfully, on the ridge baack up to Llywelyn I neglected to take a photo of the view back towards Yr Elen, which is an elegant mountain that looked fantastic in winter sunlight. Similarly, on the plateau like summit of Carnedd Llywelyn my camera stayed in its case. I guess I was just overwhelmed a bit by the spectacle but was also focused on completing the route in daylight. Either way, I was photographically forgetful and am kicking myself a bit now. Nevertheless, I still got some nice shots. This was my second trip out with the Ricoh GR. It's an ideal mountain camera if you like a fixed, wide angle lens. Small enough to carry in a pouch on a ruck sack strap but with a APS-C sized sensor, 11x14 inch prints from ISO 100 files look better than the prints I get from my Nikon D700.

Carnedd Dafydd (1044m)


The latter stage of the route took us across Pen yr Helgi Du. The climb up was quite gnarly and fun. I realized on viewing my GPS file and map that the summit marked on the maps is actually not the highest point of Helgi Du - which is slightly odd.

Tryfan dwarfed

Pen Yr Helgi Du

Ffynnon Llugwy

All in all a fantastic day out and great use of the weather window (I drove back today in rain and grey clouds). 17.6km and four of the Welsh 3000ers = a happy camper. The only real downer is the long drives I face to escape London. 11 hours driving for 8 hours walking. I'm so envious of all the forum members who live closer to the hills.

My Vulkan knee brace continues to work wonders (highly recommended for anyone out there battling with any sort of anterior knee pain). Wearing it I feel like the Bionic Man! It's so great to return from a day in the hills and feel nothing more than tiredness. The absence of knee pain is a delight.

While yesterday posed little in the way of navigation challenge I do feel that I'm ready to plan a solo winter day and will probably shoot for some shorter days solo in March or April. If I'm able to make it up to Scotland my sights are set on the Arrochar Alps and if I end up in Wales again, then Tryfan and the Glyders.

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Last edited by Riverman on Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Carneddau Comeback!

Postby larry groo » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:01 am

Great report Riverman....

Very nice pics and an amazing range of hills. Spent a fair bit of time in the Carneddau & Glyderau with the RAF a long time ago.

Your pics brought back some great memories.

:clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Carneddau Comeback!

Postby ChrisW » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:56 pm

Great write up Riverman and beautiful photos, good luck on your first solo (wherever it may be) :D
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