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Snowdonia Meet: A scramble-fest on Tryfan and the Glyders

Snowdonia Meet: A scramble-fest on Tryfan and the Glyders


Postby malky_c » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:12 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr, Tryfan

Date walked: 02/09/2017

Time taken: 8.5

Distance: 8 km

Ascent: 950m

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Hewitts: Tryfan, Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr.
Date: 02/09/2017.
Distance: 8km.
Ascent: 950m.
Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes.
Weather: Mostly warm and sunny.

Finally the Saturday of the Snowdonia meet, and the weather was looking perfect. I had breakfast in the Siabod café just around the corner from the hostel, where Hugh picked me up at 9:30 am. Most of us were headed for the round of Cwm Bochlwyd today, taking in the north ridge of Tryfan, Bristly Ridge and Y Gribin. Despite spending much of 2011 and 2012 on the Welsh hills, I mostly avoided the more popular ones and spent my time wondering in obscurity. So this time round in Wales, Some proper hills would definitely be climbed!

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Snowdon Horseshoe from the hostel


Glyders.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


6 of us set off from a layby next to Llyn Ogwen at around 10am: Me, Alan B, Martin, Sue, Deborah and Hugh. Tryfan kept us in the shade initially - a good thing as it was warm in the sun! After a bit of puffing, we took our first detour to the right for some scrambling (lower down, all of the harder sections can generally be avoided by going to the left, and if you go far enough left, you end up on the Heather Terrace, which takes you on a straightforward ascent of the E face). This just looked like a short warm-up section, but with 6 of us, it took quite some time! Bags were passed up to avoid them jamming in the crack we ascended.

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Y Garn and Llyn Ogwen

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Martin on rucksack hauling duties early on

Further up, there were plenty of posing opportunities on the Cannon. Alan made light work of it, but Hugh didn't! I didn't bother going onto it as I knew I would be much the same as Hugh. After we were done, a couple of girls who couldn't have been older than 14 (and appeared to be on their own) showed us how it was done, wandering up it nonchalantly together as if it was a pavement.

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Llyn Ogwen and Foel Goch

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Foel Goch and Carnedd y Filiast

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Pen y Helgi Du and Pen Llithrig y Wrach

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Up the north ridge

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Hugh really enjoys getting onto the Cannon

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That'll do

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Martin just strolls up it

The ridge narrows down above the cannon, and the routes are obvious. Lower down, you can go up Tryfan dozens of times (as I have done) and never remember exactly where you went before. We were now heading for the serious bit of the mountain and it was busy!

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Top section of the N ridge

Alan and I opted for the bypass onto the east face, which is marginally easier than the direct route. Alan had injured his wrist and preferred the easiest route, and for me, one of the most off-putting parts I find when scrambling is watching other people teeter up the route in front of me - it often looks more airy than it really is! The eastern bypass was lovely and quiet compared to the direct route.

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Bypass around onto the E face

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Llyn Ogwen and Nant Ffrancon

We actually missed the full traverse and ended up back on the N ridge again higher up - above the steepest section. Then it was a short wander to the summit, which is bigger than you would expect, and often busy.

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Approaching the summit

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North summit

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On top

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Alan goes for the jump...but does he chicken out?

Alan went for the jump between Adam and Eve on the summit, but changed his mind (the drop on the far side is pretty sobering). Then after lunch we started down the S ridge.

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Adam and Eve

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South summit and Glyder Fach

The S ridge is much easier than the N, and therefore even busier, but you still need your hands in quite a few places. Down at the col, Alan decided he had given his wrist enough of a hammering for the day, and the rest of us carried on up Bristly Ridge.

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Glyder Fach

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Approaching Glyder Fach

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The way up onto Bristly Ridge

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Llyn Bochlwyd and Nant Ffrancon

I nearly always get lost trying to find the right gully onto Bristly Ridge. Martin led us up Sinister Gully, the route he knew would get us up, and it was quite reasonable apart from some nasty scrabbling on loose scree and rock on the exit. I'm sure I've taken an easier route before, but I can't remember where.

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Sinister Gully leads onto Bristly Ridge

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In the upper part of the gully

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Tryfan summit catching the sun...

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...then the far south summit gets a turn

I probably prefer Bristly Ridge to the N ridge of Tryfan - the scrambling is more concentrated (although mostly dead easy), and the route is well defined along the crest. A climb 'over the garden wall' was followed by a pinnacle with an interesting descent. A guy in front of us always seemed to go for awkward routes, and make them look really desperate.

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Nant Ffrancon from Bristly Ridge

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Galt yr Ogof

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Up onto the first pinnacle

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Looking back to the second pinnacle and Tryfan

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In amongst the pinnacles

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We came down on the right hand side of this photo

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Almost there

We decided to give the direct route over the second pinnacle a miss as it looked more hairy. The group behind us took the direct route.

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Group behind us goes for the second pinnacle direct

Then we were on the plateau. A quick pose on the cantilever was followed by a visit to the summit. There are probably no mountain tops in the UK that are a more random jumble of blocks. The Cairngorms have their tors and the Cuillin has some really sharp peaks, but nowhere do you have to balance over huge boulders with holes big enough to swallow a bus in between them, before crawling onto a laterally balanced tombstone 8) .

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Me on the Cantilever

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West to Snowdon and Glyder Fawr

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East from Glyder Fach

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Finding the way onto the summit of Glyder Fach

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Glyder Fach summit

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Castell y Gwynt and Glyder Fawr

We missed out the direct route over Castell y Gwynt as we had spent a lot of time on rock so far. I had discounted going up Y Garn by this point, but still fancied Glyder Fawr. Everyone else dropped down Y Gribin so I made a quick dash for Glyder Fawr. While the summit is also made of strange spikes, it is nowhere as complex as Glyder Fach. I could see the forecast poor weather moving in over Snowdon from here.

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Looking back to Glyder Fach

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Cwm Cneifion and Y Garn

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Pen yr Ole Wen

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Y Garn, Elidir and Llyn Padarn

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Summit of Glyder Fawr

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Scrambler on Castell y Gwynt

A quick dash back to Y Gribin and I soon caught up the rest of the group. Y Gribin can be a nice scramble on the way up, but pretty straightforward, and for descent, most of the awkward bits can be avoided.

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Down Y Gribin

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Looking back up Y Gribin

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Smelt this before I saw it

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Devil's Kitchen and Y Garn

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Tryfan and Llyn Bochlwyd

The descent to Llyn Bochlwyd gave good views of the north face of Glyder Fach, which has a brilliant selection of harder scrambles on it. I have done most of them in the past, but would be unlikely to be able to get up them now. In fact the other Alan (Alteknacker) had been trying to entice me onto one of them - Shark Buttress - the evening before. I did Shark Buttress in 1997 as a fairly fearless teenager and still filled my trousers back then, so there was no way I was going to go up there today! Can't wait to see Alan's report, as he found it to be one of the more awkward scrambles as well.

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Glyder Fach north face

After a short boggy section traversing from the main Bochlwyd path to the foot of Tryfan, we were back at the cars after a really enjoyable day of scrambling. I don't think I've ever taken so long to cover such a short distance, but it was a day where it was well worth the lingering. Cheers to everyone else for the company, and in particular to Martin for acting as guide when the route finding was a bit ambiguous.

Having suffered the worst midges of the year when I'd wandered down to the campsite the previous evening, I skipped out on that and went straight to the pub instead. A great meet - thanks Alan for organizing.
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malky_c
 
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Re: Snowdonia Meet: A scramble-fest on Tryfan and the Glyder

Postby mountainstar » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:59 am

My pleasure in organising. :D
You seemed to miss out a certain detour you had to take halfway up Tryfan? ...understandably! :lol:
As for the injured wrist, after 9 weeks I finally went to the doctors as it still was giving me pain, he sent me for xrays which showed it was actually fractured! :shock: :? Bristle ridge exit seemed a good move now! Still don't know how I managed Tryfan though! :shock:
Great day though, so glad I got that far.
Alan.
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mountainstar
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Re: Snowdonia Meet: A scramble-fest on Tryfan and the Glyder

Postby Broggy1 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:16 am

Great report. :clap:

Always love reading about these hills.

This is certainly a time consuming route as you say as the scrambling is constant (if relatively straightforward) with little opportunity to stride out. But what a route. There's not many better.

I've taken two routes onto Bristly - sinister gully (your route here) which is fairly exposed but with generous holds. The other I think is called main gully and is further down the ridge - this is less exposed as I remember but with one very awkward move. There seems to be differing opinions of which of these are harder.

Great stuff.
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Re: Snowdonia Meet: A scramble-fest on Tryfan and the Glyder

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:03 pm

Some of the best pics I've seen of this route - I see what I missed on the day! My excuse is that Milestone Buttress and Milestone Continuation were also great...

Image20170902_102439. Milestone continuation - it looks more dramatic/difficult than it actually is.

Ref Shark Buttress:
"...Can't wait to see Allan's report, as he found it to be one of the more awkward scrambles as well...."

I won't be doing a report, partly because looking back over my report of these routes from July 2015 I see that I've pretty well covered it; and partly because I was pretty concentrated on living to scramble another day for the first part of the route, and as a result forgot to take pics most of the time!

Steve Ashton describes the start as "...not difficult but exposed and unprotected...". I would agree that it's probably not difficult if you're roped up, but it's particularly challenging soloing because the hand and foot placements are not particularly large, and it's sufficiently exposed that if you fell you'd have a lot more than a severe headache :roll: . It concentrates the mind. Certainly I'd say it compares with the Parson's Nose below Carnedd Ugain for difficulty/exposure combination - pretty well on my limit! Wish I'd had the presence of mind to take a pic... And there are plenty of grade 3 options on the way further up also.

But a couple of pics in lieu of a report to indicate why it's a worthwhile route....

Image20170902_125712. Looking north towards Pen yr Ole Wen featuring the shark's fin...

Image20170902_140038. Fine views of Tryfan, Pen yr Ole Wen and the Carneddau as one reaches the crest...
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Re: Snowdonia Meet: A scramble-fest on Tryfan and the Glyder

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:23 am

Great report. This has to be one of the best days scrambling in the UK, even including the Highlands and Skye!
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