Showing posts with label snowdon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label snowdon. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Crib Goch & Snowdon

Date: 30th May 2013
Route: from Pen-y-Pass, Pyg Track(ish), Crib Goch, Garnedd Ugain, Snowdon and back via the Miners Track
Peak Heights: Crib Goch arête 923m (3028 feet), Garnedd Ugain 1065m (3494 feet), Snowdon 1085m (3560 feet) 
Distance: 7.4 miles (11.9 km) 
Height gained: 1038m (3406 feet) 
Time taken: 5 hours

The route: anticlockwise from Pen-y-Pass
 This was a hike I had wanted to do for a long while. During a family holiday in North Wales I managed to secure a day pass with a reasonable forecast to give it a go. Having been dropped off at Pen-y-Pass I headed up along a ridge between the Miners Track and Pyg Track to get some pictures of the route ahead. It looked spectacular, and a bit daunting.

From left to right: Y Lliwedd, Snowdon, Crib Goch

Snowdon & Crib Goch from 'The Horns'

The point where the path up to Crib Goch leaves the Pyg Track

 From leaving the Pyg Track, at a point about halfway up (just beyond that first outcrop) the path becomes indistinct. I first tried a route to the left but it quickly became too steep and so I traversed around to the right and climbed up the steep rocky face, seen on the right of the picture above. This proved fairly straight forward but involved the use of hands and feet for most of the way.

Getting steep

The view back. Pen-y-Pass just visible on the left

The start of the Crib Goch arête - a hiker just visible on the nearest (2nd) pinnacle

 The Crib Goch arête consists of 3 rocky pinnacles linked by a knife edge ridge. The 1st pinnacle is gained at initial ascent. The view above looks on to the 2nd and 3rd pinnacles. Most of the arête is very narrow and steeply exposed on both sides. Beyond Crib Goch there is a col (Bwich Coch) following which the ridge can be seen rising to Garnedd Ugain (also known as Crib-y-Ddysgl) and then on to Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), seen far left.

Once on Grib Goch my options were either to attempt a calm & cool demeanor and walk along with a look of conviction, or to edge along slowly using hands & knees whilst looking terrified. I did mainly the latter, until a fell runner 'ran' past me and I decided that I should 'man up'. Continuing on, with the illusion of confidence, I carefully picked my route across the ridge. Unlike striding edge, there appeared to be no easier option found off to the side.

A welcome 'flat' resting place between pinnacles 1 & 2 - time to restore the nerves

That's the way to do it ! (but that's not me)

The view from the 2nd pinnacle

 At about the point where the hiker in blue can be seen, between the 2nd and 3rd pinnacles, there is a route option. The easier, and most obvious way seems to drop down along a gulley to the left and then skirt the remaining part of the ridge low on the left. Both hikers above, eventually went that way after some apparent indecision. When I got there it was obvious that the lower path was quite a long way round and a somewhat unsatisfactory & early conclusion to the ridge walk. I decided to cautiously venture onward along this 3rd pinnacle. There was no clear path and the way forwards was a real scramble at times but I edged along, half expecting to have to turn back and follow the other hikers. Eventually however, the way became more obvious and less exposed, finally dropping down to a short but steep descent to the col shown below (Bwlch Coch).

The Bwlch Coch Col - Garnedd Ugain ahead & Snowdon summit far left

Bwlch Coch marks the end of the Crib Goch arête. I was pleased that I had persisted with the direct route as upon arriving at the col I could see the other hikers way back and down to the left. From here onward the way seemed direct and the path reassuringly wider but there was to be some more scrambling to be done before gaining the summit of Garnedd Ugain, due to the rocky outcrop visible just below its summit.

Mist descends on the path to Garnedd Ugain

 Another series of steepish scrambles, unfortunately in cloud, and I eventually emerged onto the broad summit ridge.

Garnedd Ugain summit

Looking back along the ridge to Crib Goch from Garnedd Ugain summit 

From this point on it's now a easy walk. With a real sense of achievement I continued on towards the summit of Snowdon. 

Snowdon from Garnedd Ugain - lots of 'ants' visible on the summit ridge

Snowdon and the ridge to Y Lliwedd

 Descending from Garnedd Ugain to the main Snowdon ridge was like joining a traffic jam after enjoying quiet country roads. The path to the summit then gets even busier at it is joined by the combined footfall from the Miners and Pyg Tracks and then all the folk from the train.  

A typical scene on Snowdon's summit

 The summit was shrouded in cloud so I quickly headed back down the ridge and took the main route down towards Glaslyn, following the Miners Track where the path splits.

Looking back to Crib Goch and the descent path from the Snowdon ridge

The path down, showing where the Pyg Track & Miners Track diverge from the main path

The busy path down with one hiker just visible on Garnedd Ugain summit


A last look back to Snowdon from the Miners Track before reaching Pen-y-Pass

 This is a great route but its really not for the faint hearted. I would suggest testing your metal on something like striding edge and Blenacathra's sharp edge before attempting this. The Snowdonia National Park Authority describe Crib Goch as "not a mountain for the inexperienced". For those who try it, choose a calm, clear & dry day and you will rewarded by some truly epic views and an equally epic sense of achievement.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Snowdon via the Watkin Path

Date : 11th September 2009
Route : Ascent of Snowdon via the Watkin path and back over the south ridge
Distance : 8 miles (12.9km)
Height Gained : 3583 (1092 meters)
Time Taken : 7 hours

The route : clockwise from the car park bottom right

I think this is the best way up Snowdon. You get a great perspective of the mountain as you approach it with views being gradually revealed with every step. It is also the route with the lowest starting point in terms of altitude, which may be either a good or bad point depending on your perspective. There is ample car parking at the start of the route, 3 miles to the north-east of Beddgelert. The path starts steeply as it ascends a picturesque little valley following a tumbling stream with waterfalls. It then levels off and following the old slate quarry path as it enters the lower part of the huge Cwm Tregalan before turning steeply northwards. It eventually emerges onto a ridge called Bwlch Seethau where you are suddenly greeted by impressive views down over Glaslyn towards Crib Goch. The path then follows this high ridge for 1/2 mile before a steep scramble joins the Rhyd-Ddu path up to the summit.

From the summit there are many different options for descent and so it would be a shame to take the same path back down. My preference is to walk down the opposite side of the mountain either along the Miners track or Pyg track. That route of descent is described here, as part of a walk ascending via the Crib Goch ridge. Once down, there is no need to worry about the long walk back to the car, as the Snowdon sherpa bus service runs regularly in a circuit around the mountain. A route map and timetable can be found here. Today however, we descended via the Rhyd-Ddu path before pealing off to rejoin the lower part of the Watkin path and then back to the car park.

The start of the Watkin path

The Watkin path following the stream

The Galdstone Rock

First views of Snowdon over the Cwm Tregalan (valley)

Looking back over Yr Aran

Snowdon, showing the final scramble route up to the left of the summit

Views from the ridge over Glaslyn

Grib Goch from Bwlch Seethau

Looking back along the col towards Y Lliwedd


Grib Coch showing the Pyg and Miners Tracks

Looking back down the Tregalan valley

The summit cafe

Views over the Bwlch Seethau ridge to Y Lliwedd

A typical Snowdon summit scene

The summit

Garnedd Ugain

More views along Crib Coch

The view back along the Watkin Path

From the summit we took the Rhyd-Ddu path along Bwich Main but then left it to continue along the ridge to the col at Bwich Cwm Llan where we then descended east and back to rejoin the Watkin path.

The descent route along the Bwlch Main ridge & Rhyd-Ddu path
Views to the West

Y Lliweddn and the Watkin path

Views back down the valley towards the car park

Looking back to Snowdon from Bwlch Cwm Llan

Snowdon at the head of the Tregalan valley