Having arrived in Snowdonia two days early for a kayak trip down the River Tryweryn Stephen and I hoped to get some climbing done on Tryfan.
|Tryfan viewed from Pen yr Ole Wen in summer conditions.|
As we drove up the A5 from Capel Curig towards Llyn Ogwen we got our first full view of Tryfan's east face. I had forgotten what a spectacular mountain Tryfan is: it looked particularly awe inspiring with snow etched into Heather Terrace and whispy cloud adding an air of mystery and grandure. I thought of music to accompany the scene: the first movement of Holst's The Planets perhaps, (The Bringer of War) and it was clear that with such low temperatures we were going to have to battle the elements.
One advantage of mountaining in cold weather is the lack of summer crowds and we easily found a parking place.
|Glyder Fach (above) and Cwm Bochlwyd (below) from the A5 car park|
As the freezing wind was blowing from an easterly direction we decided to try climbing on the more protected west side of Tryfan and elected to try our hand on Milestone Buttress.
|Stephen 'kitting up' at the foot of 'Super Direct' (see below) HVS, Milestone Buttress.|
After selecting a bomb proof ground anchor I belayed Stephen as he climbed the first pitch of Super Direct. The west face of Tryfan was not as sheltered as we had hoped. After only ten minutes, despite a thermal base layer, fleece onesie, thick Craghopper trousers, and Berghaus fleece and jacket I was getting very cold and wondering how Stephen was feeling. He soon told me and with a few expletives decided to retreat.
|An honerable retreat from 'Superdirect' with the A5 and Llyn Ogwen beneath.|
Undaunted, after depositing our climbing gear back at the car, we decided to make a day of it and ascend Tryfan by the north ridge. This route is a relatively straightforward grade 1 scramble made harder on the day by a chill factor way below freezing, snow patches and verglas (ice covered rock sometimes difficult to spot)
We started unconventionally from a car park at the head of Llyn Ogwen by 'bush whacking' up an easy angled heather covered broad shoulder. As the ridge narrowed we chose rock rather than well worn paths as this avoided slippery snow patches but at the same time we had to be wary of dangerous verglas. Here and there the enjoyable scrambling gave way to more leisurely sections where we stopped and admired the views.
|A leisurely section of the north ridge with Llyn Ogwen and Yr Ole Wen in the back ground.|
With all thoughts of cramp forgotten we stumbled across the famous Adam and Eve blocks at the summit.
|Stephen bridging Adam and Eve (we did not fancy jumping)|