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Tryfan twice

Tryfan twice


Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:30 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Tryfan

Date walked: 15/07/2008

Time taken: 6

Distance: 6 km

Ascent: 800m

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For some reason that I've now forgotten, I ended up going up Tryfan twice on successive weekends in July 2008, albeit by different routes. I've just found the photos so am adding them on here. Both walks were memorable, for different reasons.

The first was one of the first mountain walks with a friend - since then, he and I have done many walks together, so despite the poor weather there must have been something good about that first mountain outing. We set off up the
Milestone Buttress path to the North Ridge - looming clouds, but nice views over Llyn Ogwen. I always find it hard to believe something I was told as a child: that this black, slug-shaped lake, ringed by almost Alpine scenery, is only 10
feet deep. A quick check of Wikipedia confirms that that is true. Despite its shallowness "the lake is popular with anglers and is said to contain excellent trout."

ImageIMG_7527 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

We soon arrived at the shoulder above the Milestone, from which the North Ridge rises in steps of bare rock. At that point, rain and mist came down and we decided to go for the easier and more familiar (to me) Heather Terrace and Little Gully route. That also kept the option open for us, in case the weather turned even nastier, of settling for a circuit of the peak via Bwlch Tryfan and Llyn Bochlywd.

When we reached the foot of Little Gully, for some reason we decided that the latter option would be weedy and chicken-hearted. So we set off up the scramble. It went pretty well - this east side of the mountain being sheltered from the strong westerly winds, and the rock grippy despite the wet. A rent in the cloud revealed the top of the North Buttress...

ImageIMG_7530 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

...and a fleeting glimpse of the Ogwen valley far below.

ImageIMG_7531 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

Soon after we were at the summit.

ImageIMG_7533 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

We descended the South Ridge in thick mist but then it cleared to give us a couple of views of the Ogwen Valley. Skyline here is Y Garn, Elidir Fawr, the scarp of Foel Goch, then the flat ridge of Myndydd Perfedd / Carnedd y Filiast.

ImageIMG_7534 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

There was even a spot of blue sky,

ImageIMG_7535 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

The following weekend, encouraged by the ease with which we'd climbed the mountain, and by a much better weather forecast, I decided to take my children (then aged 9 and 6) up the peak. They had already climbed Cnicht, Snowdon and various Lakeland hills, plus Humphrey's Peak (3,850 m) in Arizona, so this seemed a natural next step.

All started well, with patches of sunshine and the forecast promising even more improvement later in the morning and blue skies in the afternoon. Hurrah!

ImageIMG_7547 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

However, sinister-looking clouds loomed over Tryfan. The Cannon on the North Ridge can be seen, looking very tiny.

ImageIMG_7553 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

When we reached Llyn Bochlwyd, the children's spirits were not dampened by it starting to rain. "It's just a shower".

ImageIMG_7560 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

We had a snack and headed up to Bwlch Tryfan. I had the belief that the South Ridge was the nearest thing Tryfan has to a "tourist route": plus, we'd descended it so easily last week... and in fact, going back up it again it wasn't too bad, even for a 6-year old. Even when we passed the Far South Peak and the route got really steep and rocky, the children were fine with it, clambering and scrambling over every obstacle, despite the rain persisting ... and persisting.

But what did concern me, as we clambered up through the maze of boulders to the South Peak, was my son who suddenly started saying he felt COLD. I checked - and he was soaked to the skin. I could only conclude that his expensive mountain coat was not waterproof - at all! (It turned out to have a design fault, and we never used it again). He was absolutely frozen and I wondered if it was best to forget the summit and get down the mountain as quickly as we could. But he seemed in good spirits: I got him a dry shirt out of the rucksack, and put my own coat on him, which looked like a plus-sized Poncho.

By now the rain had become a freezing downpour, a kind of cold-weather monsoon, and the mist was so dense that, even though we were on the South Peak, someone asked us for directions to the top. The kids seemed fine to go on, so we guided the lost solo walker, while I kept a careful eye on the children - I knew that the South Peak, in particular, drops away sheerly on its north-east side.

But all was OK, the kids were enjoying the adventure and there were no scary moments. We soon arrived at Sion a Sian (Adam and Eve). I've never fancied "the leap" - and in those conditions, neither did the children. It didn't feel like being on top of a mountain - more like standing under a waterfall.

ImageIMG_7565 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

My son was now warm and cheerful again - note the hint of a smile in the photo above. The rain continued torrential and we descended as fast as we safely could. When we were about two-thirds the way down to Bochlwyd, the clouds suddenly rolled themselves away ... and we could see all the way back up to the summit.

ImageIMG_7568 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

The black clouds turned to pale gray as we descended back towards Ogwen.

ImageIMG_7569 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

It was like opening a door on a winter day and stepping straight into Summer. Not quite the promised sunshine and blue skies... but very nice, thank you.

ImageIMG_7579 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

It seemed hard to believe we had been UP THERE, in monsoon conditions.

ImageIMG_7588 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr

Tryfan is improbable - as if someone, for a joke, had glued a piece of Arctic mountain terrain onto the mild British landscape. No wonder it's the UK's favourite mountain (read that somewhere?...) and its Stegosaurus-backed outline must be one of most recognisable shape of any hill in the British Isles.

More meaningfully to me, though, I started my lifelong obsession with the hills when, aged maybe five, I was sat in the back on my parents' car as we drove westwards along the A5 and I watched Tryfan's three towering fins of rock slide one-by-one into view from behind the lump of Gallt Yr Ogof, as if it were a piece of theatre scenery being slid out onto the stage.

There have been other memorable times since - once, I was on near Y Foel Goch ("Nameless Peak") and the rising sun projected my Brocken Spectre onto Tryfan's eastern slopes (must find that photo and post it up sometime). On another morning of bright sunshine, I saw a ball of cloud contained in Cwm Bochlwyd spill over the summit rocks and pour down each of the eastern gullies like a line of smoky waterfalls.

Wainwright describes Haystacks and Helm Crag among the Lakeland fells as like "terriers among sleek foxhounds." Tryfan is not so much a terrier: more a Wolverine.
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HalfManHalfTitanium
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1806
Munros:106   Corbetts:13
Grahams:2   Donalds:2
Hewitts:148
Wainwrights:103   
Joined: Mar 11, 2015

Re: Tryfan twice

Postby ChrisW » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:36 am

Great write up (took you long enough :lol: ) Really enjoyed this, great to see you and your buddy heading up but there's always something special about seeing a family out there enjoying the hills (even if it does take dads coat to keep it going) It's awesome to see the kids so happy throughout even with the rain up top :clap:
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ChrisW
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Posts: 4940
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Re: Tryfan twice

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:46 pm

ChrisW wrote:Great write up (took you long enough :lol: ) Really enjoyed this, great to see you and your buddy heading up but there's always something special about seeing a family out there enjoying the hills (even if it does take dads coat to keep it going) It's awesome to see the kids so happy throughout even with the rain up top :clap:


Thanks Chris, yes the kids loved it despite the monsoon conditions! Cheers Tim
User avatar
HalfManHalfTitanium
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1806
Munros:106   Corbetts:13
Grahams:2   Donalds:2
Hewitts:148
Wainwrights:103   
Joined: Mar 11, 2015

Re: Tryfan twice

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:53 pm

Great report. :clap: :clap:

Seven years later, are the now much older and larger kindlings still enthused by mountains??
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Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 3316
Munros:176   Corbetts:32
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:254
Wainwrights:109   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Tryfan twice

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:09 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Great report. :clap: :clap:

Seven years later, are the now much older and larger kindlings still enthused by mountains??


Thanks! Yes, they both still love the outdoors - son did his first Munros (Beinn Alligin) a couple of years ago (see my other WH report) and they've both come with me hostelling, wild camping etc.
User avatar
HalfManHalfTitanium
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1806
Munros:106   Corbetts:13
Grahams:2   Donalds:2
Hewitts:148
Wainwrights:103   
Joined: Mar 11, 2015

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