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Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete


Postby Alteknacker » Mon May 09, 2016 1:54 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Cadair Idris - Penygadair, Craig Cwm Amarch, Cyfrwy, Pen y Gadair Fawr

Date walked: 08/05/2016

Time taken: 4.5

Distance: 10.6 km

Ascent: 1286m

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The CEO is very good about my disappearing off into the hills at pretty frequent intervals. Indeed she acts as my very expert weather forecaster, pinpointing slots when there's a high probability of good weather up in't North.

The quid pro quo is that we have at least one beach holiday a year, and this year's is only days away. So as the weekend approached I was feeling very restless. And thinking that I ought to be able to squeeze something in before we depart.

I'd recently read a report on WH on the Cyfrwy route on the Cadair Idris ridge, and it a) seemed very attractive; and b) would be a change from Northern Snowdonia, which is where I usually go if the Highlands aren't on (eg because of a bad weather forecast - I'm a wimp). So when the forecast suggested that Sunday would be fine, and free of lightning (of which I'm even more terrified than avalanches :shock: ), the decision was made.

Rain is forecast for the early morning, so I set off relatively late, and arrive at the Cadair Idris car park at 10.30am. There are already about 40 cars in the car park, and more arriving all the time: the Highlands it is not! It is already pretty hot, and the sky is clear : great!

I am a bit concerned that the late start might translate into multiple parties (= long delays) on Cyfrwy, so I get under way as quickly as I can.

Rather than the direct route, I'd decided to ascend Cadair first, then drop down to Llyn y Gadair to climb Cyfrwy - the rationale for this I cannot recall, and in retrospect it certainly doesn't seem very logical - although it afforded some excellent warm-up scrambling in preparation for the main climb.


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Image20160508_105131. Ascending towards Cadair, the views of the quintessential mid-Wales landscape were fantastic. Very different in character to the Highlands, but fantastic nonetheless.

Image20160508_111834. Looking across Llyn Cau towards Craig Cwm Amarch. Impressive, but not scramble-friendly cliffs - too much greenery!

Image20160508_111838. Straight up the cwm side on these slabs to Cadair. A nice warm up for the real business of the day - Grade 1 scrambling, even 2 in places if you look for it. Rather to my surprise, when I get to the start of the slabs, I find couple preparing to take the same route.

Image20160508_112546. Looking down from the first section.

Image20160508_112553. And looking up at the next section. Easy slopes - you don't even need to use your hands for a lot of it. I can recommend it!

Image20160508_113446. Looking back from more or less the end of the scrambly bit. The couple I met can be seen on the left.

Image20160508_115004. Craig Cwm Amarch looking pretty amazing. Cadair is up to the right, just off the picture - I didn't continue the panorama because the shoulder of the hill hides it from view.

Image20160508_115516. Final look back as I hit the shoulder...

Image20160508_120312. And now the summit of Cadair is in sight.
Image20160508_121116. View looking WNW towards Mynydd Moel.

It's pretty busy on the summit of Cadair - I overhear a group saying that they're meeting to celebrate someone's birthday; so I don't linger, but head off towards Cyfrwy.

Once at the low point between Cadair and Cyfrwy, I cut straight down the face to Llyn y Gadair.
Cracking views from here...

Image20160508_123742. Part-way down the slope, looking back at the shoulder up to Cadair...

Image20160508_123735. And the main objective for the day: Table Direct and Cyfrwy in profile, taken from half-way down the slope to Llyn y Gadair. Looks very enticing indeed, if a bit daunting with all the vertical bits... :shock:

I get to the llyn, walk along the shore for a couple of hundred metres, and then head off back up the boulder scree towards the start of the route.

Image20160508_125144. Heading across to the start of Table Direct. The route goes straight up the almost vertical slabs on the right hand side.

I get to the bottom of the buttress and - happiness! no-one else there. Now I try to match the description of the start with the description in the guide book ("Scrambles and Easy Climbs in Snowdonia"), and it's not so easy, even with a very helpful photo with the route superimposed on it. I'm poking around, trying to locate the right place; and just when I think I've found it, I hear a voice above. So not alone, but it gives me the confidence to get started from this point.

The first pitch is pretty vertical on very slabby rock with an almost vertical angle of dip. But there are plenty of good handholds and foot placements, so apart from the exposure, and the occasional loose rock (about which the book warns, so I'm being extra careful in testing all holds) it's pretty straightforward.

Image20160508_131233. Looking down from the first pitch. The route I took is over to the right. This pic gives a good idea of the slabbiness of the rock.

Image20160508_131939. Fantastic views, this looking WNW towards Mynydd Moel.

I soon catch up the pair ahead, because they're roped up, and it turns out to be a guide with a client. They kindly offer to let me pass, which I do. The climbing is just fantastic, with just the right adrenaline/apprehension mix. But it's over all too soon. I arrive at the top of the climb in what seems (but probably isn't) very short order, and I sit on the Table top for a while absorbing the views ("Table" is a bit misleading, because it's on about a 15 degree slope!), and they catch up shortly afterwards.

Image20160508_132516. Looking down from the Table Top, about half-way up. The route is out of sight behind the rocks in the foreground.

Image20160508_132507. The Table Top (I think), bottom RHS.

The next bit - the 2.5m descent into the notch - seems to me to be the most technically difficult bit of the whole route, and it takes me quite a while to locate the necessary handholds to do it. Then it's an almost 15m vertical pitch - not technically difficult, but quite exposed - after which one is into ordinary scrambling for the rest of the route. Unfortunately I'm so pumped up that I forget to take any pics here :( . It is indeed quite adrenaline-inducing!

Image20160508_134120. Looking back down on to the Table: apart from the first section which is hidden - simple scrambling...

Image20160508_134133. And ahead also quite simple - but very enjoyable at a lower pulse rate :)

Image20160508_134740. View looking back - scrambling pretty well over now.
Image20160508_134751. Looking up, from more or less the same location. Nope, no more scrambling ... :cry:

Image20160508_134812. Now the pulse rate has subsided, I can't stop snapping...

Image20160508_140523. Final look back at the route as I'm ascending Cadair again. Wonderful!

Now it's quickly over Cadair again, and along to Craig Cwm Amarch. On the way the front part of the sole of my Merrell Moab approach shoes parts from the shoe itself. I've had them less than a year, and worn them on a handful of walks only, plus for a bit of jogging in wet weather. Most unimpressed!!! I made the decision to go upmarket with shoes because of quality problems with my previous mid-market pair, but I discover that brand means nothing: my old Karrimor shoes (£30) lasted far longer, as did my North Face pair (£50) - both survived a Cuillin Ridge round!! Back to the drawing board...

Image20160508_142646. View looking approximately South West on the descent from Cadair.

Image20160508_142728. Craig Cwm Amarch, and the ridge descent route back to the valley.

Image20160508_142147. Looking down at the slabs I went up in the morning (approx middle of the picture - and very obvious when you're in the cwm)

Image20160508_143338. Another view of the slabs - RHS of the picture.

I'm going on about these slabs rather, because I think this direct route is the best one if you like a bit of easy scrambling.

Instead of following the main path back by descending into the cwm at the end of the ridge, I continue down the ridge along a sheep track

Image20160508_145814. And soon I'm back where I started 4 hours earlier.

ImageFortunately, right along from the car park is a building of cultural, historical and architectural interest, where I can quench my thirst with a half of shandy... and look back on a brilliant - if short - day in the mountains encompassing pretty well everything: excellent views, fun scrambling, andrenaline filled climbing.... memories that should keep me going during the coming 10 days on a beach...
Last edited by Alteknacker on Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby ChrisW » Mon May 09, 2016 6:25 pm

That looks like a great fun day Alteknacker, fantastic weather too which always helps, don't know about you but I always find it a bit odd when I scramble past people who are roped up...can't decide if I'm crazy or they are over cautious, it's probably something in between.

As for those Merrells, I had a pair of the Moab boots, they were incredibly comfortable but chopped to bits by the scree in less than a year, I still think they were the most comfortable boots I ever had, but totally useless on sharp stuff :crazy:

Anyway, lovely day in the hills mate, have a great holiday 8)
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby jacob » Mon May 09, 2016 8:11 pm

Haha, I love shoe stories since I experienced my own: karrimors destroyed after one walk :lol: :clap:
( http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=570030 )

Anyway, about Cadair Idris: I also saw Riverman's report of about a week ago, now this one. Seems like a very nice, quiet and almost magical place. Nice one.
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby dav2930 » Mon May 09, 2016 11:27 pm

A bold effort for a solo scrambler!! Being roped up on the first four pitches would be the norm I think, so well done :clap:
That's a route I definitely want to do if I'm ever down that way, it looks great.

On the same Sunday Karl and me were up at the Napes hoping to do the Needle (with climbing gear); we did the first pitch but it was way too windy to top out on the top block, so we humbly abbed back down and went up Needle Ridge to the summit of Gable. It is nice to solo that sort of stuff when you're going well, but as I grow more cautious in my advancing years the sheer riskiness of it becomes ever more apparent. There's no greater joy though!
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby Alteknacker » Tue May 10, 2016 5:23 pm

ChrisW wrote:That looks like a great fun day Alteknacker, fantastic weather too which always helps, don't know about you but I always find it a bit odd when I scramble past people who are roped up...can't decide if I'm crazy or they are over cautious, it's probably something in between.

.... have a great holiday 8)


I think we each have to make our own decisions on risk. I'm fortunate in not being too worried about exposure, and I think this is what a lot of roping up is about: you can easily die from a 2m fall if you hit your head. We had 3 accidents on a site I was working on as a young man: one guy fell 19m on to concrete and survived; the other 2 fell 2m on to concrete and both died. After all, Patrick Edlinger died not falling off a big cliff, but falling down stairs!

But I'm very careful in choosing my hand and foot placements, maintaining 3 point support, etc. If there are good solid jugs, then I'm OK not being roped up (after all, this is what the Cuillin Ridge runners do, including either upclimbing or downclimbing the Inn Pinn and both in the TD Gap). And typically this is possible up to about V Diff in my experience.

and thanks for the good wishes :)

dav2930 wrote:A bold effort for a solo scrambler!! Being roped up on the first four pitches would be the norm I think, so well done :clap:
That's a route I definitely want to do if I'm ever down that way, it looks great.

... It is nice to solo that sort of stuff when you're going well, but as I grow more cautious in my advancing years the sheer riskiness of it becomes ever more apparent. There's no greater joy though!


Yes, a few people (including experienced guides) have expressed similar sentiments to me regarding changing perspectives of riskiness. Isn't it odd how when you're young you tend to be less cautious about risk, even though - at least in years of remaining life - there's much more to lose compared with doing it in your declining years (as I am now)!!! On this basis, I think I must be getting younger... :) .

As regards the route, honestly it seems to me no more technically difficult than, for example, Chasm Face or Shark Buttress on the Glyders - just a bit more exposure, perhaps. In any event, well worth doing if you do get to Southern Snowdonia - I hope you get the chance.

AK
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby Alteknacker » Tue May 10, 2016 10:09 pm

jacob wrote:Haha, I love shoe stories since I experienced my own: karrimors destroyed after one walk :lol: :clap:
( http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=570030 )

Anyway, about Cadair Idris: I also saw Riverman's report of about a week ago, now this one. Seems like a very nice, quiet and almost magical place. Nice one.


Interesting how people have such different experiences with the same manufacturers!!! (BTW the link doesn't seem to be operating any more...??? I get the message "The requested topic does not exist").

Yes, it was Riverman's report that set me thinking about Cadair, and led to my going there. I can recommend it - and not too far from you??!!??
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby jacob » Wed May 11, 2016 6:23 am

Hmmm, maybe because of the brackets.

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=57003

But you're right about the different experiences of brands. That's why Brand Fetishism is an all too common but useless and unnessecarily expensive hobby.

Whenever I'm back in Wales, I'll try visit this area as well. Riverman and you wetted my appetite for it.
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby BobMcBob » Tue May 31, 2016 9:44 pm

Oh you've wetted my appetite there. Just been back to Snowdonia after a bit of a hiatus and am remembering how much fun there is to be had. My parents only live 2 hours from Cadair Idris..... I feel a "home visit" coming on :D

I also agree on the "risk" element. It's all about confidence. If you're sure you're not going to fall off, who needs a rope? After all there are guys free climbing stuff these days that people wouldn't have dreamed were even climbable 20 years ago. I absolutely agree that so much of it is about exposure... but like you say, exposure isn't dangerous - falling is :)
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby dav2930 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:17 pm

BobMcBob wrote:... but like you say, exposure isn't dangerous - falling is :)

But as Spike Milligan once said, 'It isn't falling I'm frightened of, it's hitting the ground!' :lol:
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby DaveB1 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:24 pm

Got a picture of me on Summit aged 11, now 50 years later, it's time I went back. Love the report and description, a good scramble always adds to the fun :D
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:13 pm

DaveB1 wrote:Got a picture of me on Summit aged 11, now 50 years later, it's time I went back.... :D


So now you have to publish this picture, right!?!??? :D
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Re: Cadair Idris full frontal assault + Cyfrwy Table & Arete

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:12 am

great report and some superb photos. Plus some interesting discussion threads!
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