The hanging valley of Cwm Cneifion is home to many a wintery delight and what better way of reaching them than by incorporating a route into the approach itself. With 200 metres of Grade I/II climbing, East Wall Gully offers exactly that, and is in fact one of the most straight forward routes into the Cwm. It takes the steep back wall of Cwm Idwal, just to the left of the Suicide Wall, and while the technicalities never approach anything that could be described as challenging, the climbing is quite sustained. As always with Welsh winter climbs, the weather has a great influence on the difficulty and quality of the route; in leaner conditions its character is icier and the climbing more technical, in good conditions the gully gets filled with snow, and while technically easier, can be a real effort to ascend.
Traditionally there has been no culture of claiming the first ascents of winter routes in Snowdonia, so unfortunately, the identities of the first ascentionists of this route are unknown.
Conveniently, Glyder Fawr is located very close to the A5 meaning that there isn't a long approach to the bottom of the route.
There is plenty of parking along the A5 near Ogwen Cottage (SH 648 603), some of which you have to pay for, some of which you don't. My advice is to never bother with the official car parks and just park along the roadside. There is a wide 'pavement' type verge on the southern side of the road that can easily accommodate the width of a car or minibus, and is completely free and never full (even on bank holidays). It also allows you to park even closer to the base of the mountain and the start of the path.
Pitch 1 (Tech. Grade 2/3; 130m): You can avoid the first pitch all together by traversing in from the left, or Zig-zag up easy angled slabs to a shallow groove that leads to the base of the Suicide Wall. A short and slightly awkward chimney just beneath the Wall will take you to the gully proper.
Pitch 2 (Tech. Grade 1/2; 70m): Ascend the gully directly to emerge at the bottom of Cwm Cneifion.
If conditions are favourable most will not feel the need to use anything more than a single axe and crampons, however, if conditions are a bit more on the icy side, ice tools, a singe rope and a small rack would be very helpful. This being a gully climb, a helmet is also a very good idea.
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