First Snow December 2012

Dave, above the A5, bringing up the rear letting me set the pace


The impromptu meet at the hut last weekend (1-12-12) went very well although the turnout was a little bit disappointing I had two passengers, Leonie, a German student from Wolverhampton Uni and her brother and we arranged to meet Dave DW2 at the hut.

Dave and I set out from the Ogwen car park at about 9.30am Saturday, the weather was a bit damp, cold and drizzly, i.e. normal for Wales but the forecast was for the weather to improve and we had seen a little snow on the tops from the car the day before. More in hope than anything else we had both packed an ice axe, I wondered as I was strapping mine on my pack “how many more times was I going to carry the excess weight around in the rain” I don’t think I have used my axe in the last ten years. Our goal was the top of the Gliders via the Gribbin ridge and I was puffing a bit trying to keep up a reasonable pace as we followed the stream up to Bochlwyd, I didn’t want to keep young Dave waiting around too long although he seemed quite happy rambling along behind taking photos in the improving weather.

Do we need the axes yet?


We hit the snowline just after we passed the lake and I soon found myself having to kick steps and being extra careful where I was placing my bendy boots. I really should have worn my rigid boots I just hadn’t expected this. Time to unstrap the axe and slip it between my back and the rucksack where I can get at it as it becomes necessary and as soon as we had passed the level section half way up the ridge it very quickly became necessary.

There was now six inches of snow covering everything and just having the axe in my hands improved the confidence, a slip on snow up there would very soon catapult one off the ridge and send you bouncing down five hundred feet into the Cwm.

The top section turned out to be very interesting the axe was used not just for balance but for assistance as most of the holds were covered with snow, snow that was in surprisingly good condition, as it packed down very well under the boots.

Looking into the cwm with Tryfan in the mist


Without a doubt the best winter conditions I have had in ten years. Dave and I shook hands at the top and we both admitted we felt sad the ridge had come to an end so soon, Dave suggested we find another climb but I was feeling a little tired so after we topped out on Glyder Fawr in a whiteout we walked down to the top of the devils kitchen where we parted, Dave walking over the tops to the hut and me going down to Ogwen to pick up the car and drive back.

Cwm Ffynnon Lloer too nice to miss


With only four of us Saturday evening was looking a bit quite, till John and Sandra turned up with photos and tales from Yosemite, thank you both for a lovely evenings chat.

Sunday dawned sunny and cold, unfortunately I missed it not getting up till around nine-o-clock but the day was too nice to waste so I wandered up to just above the snowline in Cwm Ffynnon Lloer behind Penyrole-wen. Conditions were brilliant and I met John and Sandra heading up to explore the easy gullies, before turning round and picking up my passengers for a pleasant drive home.

Incidentally I have been told the snow has all gone in Wales and the web cams seem to confirm it, showing hardly any snow even at high level. It just shows you have to grab the moment, he who dares wins.

Thanks to DW2 for the photos of me.

You sure this is the way Dave?


A tricky traverse


When the going gets tough!


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