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My First Snowdonian Winter
Trip Report

My First Snowdonian Winter

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My First Snowdonian Winter

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Wales, Europe

Lat/Lon: 53.06832°N / 4.0767°W

Object Title: My First Snowdonian Winter

Date Climbed/Hiked: Dec 6, 2008

Activities: Hiking, Scrambling

 

Page By: Big Benn

Created/Edited: Nov 30, 2009 / Dec 10, 2009

Object ID: 578413

Hits: 7406 

Page Score: 96.69%  - 62 Votes 

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I was new to Snowdonia

Even as recently as Spring 2008, (when I had never set foot on a Welsh mountain), I wouldn’t have thought for a moment that I would be making multiple visits to the Snowdonian mountains in North Wales, (UK) during the winter of 2008/9. That I would “walk” up Snowdon, the biggest mountain there , seven times in winter conditions. And enjoy a good number of other local peaks. But that is what happened, and, oh boy, am I glad I got to know that part of the world, especially in winter conditions! This Trip Report covers all my visits to that area in winter conditions during 2008/9, and starts with some background information about the area, and how I got to be going there so often.

Snowdonia

Snowdonia is an area of mountains in North West Wales, UK. A large part of the area, (838 square miles), has been designated as a National Park: no surprise there, it is an area of outstanding natural beauty. In places, by UK standards, quite desolate as well. The mountains in Snowdonia are not high by any standards. The highest, Snowdon, is just 3560 feet.

But the National Park has sea to it’s North, West, and to smaller extent, part of the South. Mainly surrounded by the Irish sea, from which dramatically fast changes in weather can originate. So, whilst Snowdon and many other mountains in the area may be no higher than the foothills of many well known mountains ranges elsewhere in Europe and wider afield, they can be subject to quite severe weather. 
View East from Snowdon
 



That weather also leads to conditions that can be very misleading to hill walkers. The lower lying country surrounding the mountains can see almost mild days in winter. Little wind, no lying snow or ice, just easy winter walking conditions. But climb a thousand feet or more into the cloud that so often covers the higher peaks, and dramatic, and at times very dangerous changes can occur. Fierce winds, sub zero temperatures and what snow that has fallen has gone through a freeze thaw cycle many times, becoming compacted, icy and treacherously slippery. Such conditions are what Snowdon itself is infamous for in winter. A mountain of ridges, some of which lead onto very steep cliffs, which sadly do claim the lives of those who climb that mountain equipped only for the benign lower levels.

Such conditions are a far cry from the more predictable, (but still never totally safe), Bavarian winters I was starting to explore in winter when the loss of my lovely wife Bobbie made it so hard to go back to a country we had spent so much time visiting together. Leaving me to find somewhere else to restart my still young hill walking exploits.

Summit Post to the rescue

Summit Post came to the rescue when, in August 2008, SP’ers Lolli and dadndave met up in the UK, and along with myself went to Wales to walk up Snowdon. My first visit to those Welsh mountains, and despite the dreadful summer weather, (heavy rain and gusts up to 75 mph near the summit), I was hooked! A part of Europe easy for me to get to, (just over a five hour drive from my home in SE England), and somewhere with no painful memories of Bobbie as we had never been to the Welsh mountains together. Photo left, dadndave and myself on the Summit of Snowdon in August 2008.  
Wet, cold, windy and nice
 


The year progressed as a local lady, Sarah, introduced me to the Snowdonian mountains within reach of Snowdon on what were becoming quite frequent visits by me. Immediately obvious were the differences over my walks in the Bavarian Alps. The Snowdonian mountains may be no where near as large as those in Bavaria, but I soon found they were as hard if not harder to summit! Partly because away from the main trails up a very popular mountain like Snowdon, routes could be hard to find. Maybe they were marked on the Ordnance Survey maps, but they were not clearly marked on the ground. A further difference to my Bavarian walks was that there is no ironwork on the Snowdonian mountains! No Klettersteig or Via Ferrata. When you reach steep rocky sections in Wales you have to scramble up and down them without the benefit of a rung, a ladder, a chain or whatever else can make such sections easier in Germany. But thanks to Sarah, and as winter arrived and I started walking alone, I did at least have an idea of what to expect as I maintained the frequency of my trips to the area.

Winter comes early and briefly in 2008

Now don’t go expecting tales of a winter where snow starts early and just keeps piling up month after month! Such winters don’t happen in most of the UK anymore, (in many parts they never did!). Deep snow cover is becoming less and less frequent on even Snowdon. And winter 2008/9 was to be no exception. Yet it was to be a very cold winter. From December through to February one of the longest and coldest spells for between 20 and 30 years. But with some days where direct sunshine, and later in February and March especially, some milder days, saw what snow had fallen on Snowdon go into that dreaded freeze/thaw cycle that caused such dangerously icy conditions.

 
Snowdonia in Winter
 


However that was all in the future when several inches of snow did indeed cover a lot of central Snowdonia late in October. Raising false hopes that such an early start would indeed see unusual depths of snow building up over the forthcoming months.  
Wind and snow in Snowdonia
 


That early snow let me do a great “winter” walk up Moel Eilio, (2381 feet), and along a broad ridge to Moel Cynghorion, (2211 feet), all of which was covered by several inches, providing a lovely looking winter panorama.

On my return in mid November that snow had all gone, replaced by wet and mild weather! But at least it meant I could continue to walk more and more of the different routes up to the summit of Snowdon and other local Peaks in reasonable easy weather.
View SE from near the Summit of Snowdon
 

A rare clear view from Snowdon during my November visit, when winter had gone.

Winter Returns and a valuable lesson

By early December, my next trip to Snowdonia saw the start of the mainly dry, (with some exceptions!), but very cold weather that was to characterise the next weeks. At least when I was in the area.

Continuing to add different routes up Snowdon I chose the South Ridge route for December 6th, a freezing cold day with plenty of frost around first thing. I could see there was some snow on the higher parts of the mountain, so packed my ice axe and crampons. I walked into a light layer of hard packed and frozen snow some way up the South Ridge. A great route that climbs steadily from Bwlch Cwm Llan, (North of Yr Aran), and does need a small use of hands a few times.
An Icy Blwch Main on Snowdon
 

Above, looking on towards Snowdon summit over part of the Bwlch Main ridge.
Bwlch Main Snowdonia
 

Close to the summit the South Ridge Route crosses Bwlch Main, a ridge with some exposure near and after the point where it joins the Rhyd Du track. Above: looking back along part of the already crossed ridge.
Drama on Bwlch Main, Snowdon.
 

 
Rare winter Sunshine on Snowdon
 



It was just before there I made the error of not stopping to put on crampons, or to unstrap my ice axe from my rucksack as I got onto a narrow section.

So I slid part on my backside, then pivoted forward on one knee after I had dug a small depression in the frozen snow and ice with one of my Leki stick! Then crawled the rest of the exposed bit!

I wasn’t the only person to encounter problems there, (photo above), but I was properly equipped and learned a valuable lesson for the rest of my first winter walking in Snowdonia.: not only to carry the right gear, but to use it!


The rest of the climb was exhilarating and allowed me to get some of my best winter photos on Snowdon. Most , (but thankfully not all), subsequent winter summitings were to be in very poor visibility.

 
Snowdon Summit from Bwlch Main
 
 
Bwlch Main, Snowdon
 
 
Ice on Snowdon
 
Some of the other photos I took from around the summit area of Snowdon on December 6th.

I did a shorter walk on the 7th and then, in about the heaviest rain I was to encounter during my winter visits, took a rest day on December 8th and waited for more clement weather!

A Hard Ascent of Snowdon

December 9th did dawn a little better than the 8th, so I decided to go up Snowdon via the PYG track from Pen y Pass. Arriving at the trailhead after breakfast I was surprised to see the car park virtually empty for such a popular starting point. But never mind, it was a cool overcast morning with visibility only fair as I set off on the straight forward track. There was no real sign this was a winter walk until I reached the point with a view down onto the large Llyn Llydaw reservoir. That was mainly frozen over, and above it I could see lying snow just below the cloudbase on Y Lliwedd. That made me start to wonder how much of yesterdays torrential rain had fallen as snow higher up on Snowdon!

 
Part frozen Lynn Llydaw
 
 
PYG track up Snowdon
 
 
PYG track up Snowdon
 
Conditions got worse very quickly above the Reservoir, Llyn Llydaw.

I headed along an easier stretch of the PYG track, gaining height easily and soon reached the snow line, At the same time walking into very poor visibility. Blowing wind, snow showers and low cloud! Shortly afterwards I lost the track and realised I had to turn back. As I did so, two figures walked purposefully out of the gloom. Rarely would I ever “attach” myself to other walkers but for some reason I asked if I could follow them up to the summit. “No problem” said the guy, (John), whom I later found out was someone in the process of climbing all the European High Points. An ideal person to be with for the next few hours as it turned out, along with his wife who was the other walker with him.

We soon found that most if not all the heavy rain of the previous day had fallen as snow higher up, making route finding in the gloom very hard indeed. But John knew his stuff. Several times he left his wife and me and walked a short distance ahead to try and find a way up: but always staying in view of us in rapidly deteriorating weather. The snow was deep and slowed us. Twice John told us if the couldn’t find a route up we would have to turn back. Several times we found what may have been the track, only to lose it in conditions we were in, and then have to force ourselves up very steep sections through thigh deep snow onto what again we thought may have been a part of the PYG track.

 
Approaching  Summit of Snowdon
 

It was exciting stuff but it was with relief that John shouted we had reached the zig zag on the climb, which meant we were just a sharp bend and a well defined ledge track away from the summit ridge! That was still slow going in the deep and untrodden snow, but that changed after we had struggled up the last very steep snowy section onto the summit ridge, (about 300 feet below the actual summit), where underlying well trodden and hard packed snow and ice had meant the new snowfall had just blown off. Probably adding to the depth we had just walked through to reach this point.

We were soon on the summit ridge, (photo right), and then the summit in pretty bad conditions. John hurried us off back down, describing the ascent as “very challenging”! He lead us down the Llanberis Path on a deserted mountain as he judged a descent the way we had come up was not safe in the worsening weather. So a big pot of tea at Stefan’s tea house at the bottom of the descent, and then I was very happy to get a taxi to take us back to our cars a few miles away at Pen-y-Pass. Not the last time I was to do that during my first winter in Snowdonia! I went home from that trip feeling I had really pushed my own personal boundaries for winter walking in the mountains.

A Frozen Christmas and New Year

 
Early Christmas Morning, Beddgelert, Snowdonia
 

I’d lost Bobbie two days after Christmas the previous year, and could not face being at home for any of that period. With the agreement of my two daughters I’d decided to spend the whole of the holiday period in Snowdonia, based at the Bistro in Beddgelert. I arrived Christmas Eve in time to do my normal warm up walk up from Beddgelert to Mynydd Sygyn in very cold weather. Indeed the spell that lasted well belong the length of my trip was to become one of the coldest for between 20 and 30 years, depending on which local expert I asked. A cold spell with very little snowfall, but day after day of severe frost at night and cold sunshine in the daytime. With some exceptions!

 
View from Miners/PYG track
 
The Bistro had suggested I join in their open house on Christmas Morning when they open their doors to the village providing bubbly and bacon rolls: this year with me pouring the bubbly! But before then I had a chance to repeat my Christmas Eve walk by doing the steep ascent from the village to Mynydd Sygyn. Done in darkness now, on icy rocks but with my head torch showing me the way. I got to the top as the first light of dawn allowed me an outline of the village early on Christmas morning, (photo top right).

 
Trick of the light on Snowdon
 
By Boxing Day I was raring to do a long walk, so chose to go up the Miners Track route to a Snowdon that was well frozen on top, albeit a bit short of snow.


Indeed most of the deep snow I had encountered early in December had gone, ( (photo right), ), but the top end of the track, (after it joins the PYG track), had some icy and very tricky sections. In particular a narrow bit of quite exposed ledge at the start of the last section of the combined PYG/Miners Track that had been, and would continue to be a problem to most walkers the whole of the long winter.

But with crampons firmly strapped on I felt comfortable going up and down over the ice.


Left: freezing mist blowing across the ridge near the summit enlarges the view of a sun trying to shine though.



The next day I wanted to be truly alone as it was a year since I had lost Bobbie. So I parked at the end of the lake Llynnau Mymbyr, near to Capel Curig, on another superbly cold and clear winter morning.
 
Snowdon Horseshoe
 
 
Sp er Bryan Benn on Moel Siabod
 
 
Snowdon Horseshoe
 
Snowdon Horseshoe behind Lynnau Mymbyr, SP'er on summit of Moel Siabod, and Snowdon Horseshoe again in afternoon light.

The walk start gave a great view of the Snowdon Horseshoe, and I enjoyed a very peaceful ascent in quiet solitude up to the summit of Moel Siabod, (2860 feet). Near the summit was a small stone shelter. No more than a circle of rocks less than waist high, and I spent some time there in quiet meditation as a strong and icy wind blew strongly around me. Others were summiting by now, so after exchanging brief pleasantries I left and headed back down, wanting only my own company on that sad day.
From the summit of Moel Siabod
 

Looking SE from the summit of Moel Siabod in lovely lighting conditions.


 
An icy North Carneddau
 

A rest day was followed by a superb day out in the Carneddau, a large part of the Snowdonian National Park North of Snowdon, and big enough to spend all day largely alone.

I started from the North near to Rowen and planned to walk in the general direction of Carnedd Llewelyn, at 3490 feet the highest on the Carneddau.

That was a long way off when I set out in icy cold and clear weather with my head torch lighting the way, as it was still before dawn. Indeed, I never for a moment thought I would get as far as Llewelyn, planning instead to tick off a few summits on the way before turning back at my self imposed turn around time of 1pm.

 
A freezing cold winters day
 


I walked, and walked in superbly clear weather. Any lying water was solid ice, and with no snow I made good progress and kept going. Until, just 5 minutes before my turn around time I was on the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn, taking in the dramatic view to the South!


I’d crossed five other summits to get to what became my sixth of the day, four of them Welsh three thousand footers. Wow! But I couldn’t linger, I had to get back and that included re-crossing those five summits I’d done on the way up.


Not large ascents on the return by any standards, but all energy sapping. But for once my timing and efforts were spot on. I descended the last steep section off the last summit as darkness fell, and was faced with just and easy valley track back to my car using my headlight for the second time in a superb days winter walking in Snowdonia.


Right. A wonderful view from the summit of Carnedd Llewellyn, the highest peak in the Carneddau region of Snowdonia.



Another rest day followed before I started exploring the Moelwyns on the last day of 2008. A collection of mountains with Moel Siabod at the North, and Cnicht, the Welsh Matterhorn, broadly at the Southern end.
 
Nantlle Ridge seen from the Moelwyns
 
 
Frozen waterfall in the Moelwyns
 
 
Lakes near Moel Siabod
 
Wonderfully clear views from the Moelwyns, along with a frozen waterall and frozen lakes near to Moel Siabod.
 
Frozen entrance to Aberglaslyn Pass
 
 
Afon Glaslyn in Aberglaslyn Pass
 
 
Afon Glaslyn in Aberglaslyn Pass.
 
I didn't venture far on New Years Day. Just went and enjoyed the sight of an icy Afon Glaslyn flowing through the Aberglaslyn Pass.


With just a lazy post “New Years Eve Celebrations” recovery walk into an icy Aberglaslyn Pass on News Years Day 2009, my Moelwyn mountain walks were to fill all but one of the remaining days I spent in Snowdonia over this period. Lovely walking in a usually very boggy area, but in the severe winter conditions with rock hard and totally frozen ground to walk on.
Cnicht and the Southern end of the Moelwyns
 

Cnicht, (top left), frozen lakes and a normally boggy part of the Moelwyns gave a lovely area to walk in for several days.
Lyn y Adar
 

The frozen Lyn y Adar in front of Cnicht's NE ridge during a lovely clear late afternoon.


After those Moelwyn days, I decided to end my trip with another ascent of Snowdon. It was still very cold and there had been a light fall of snow higher up as I set out on the Llanberis Path, possibly the easiest route to the top, but one that sadly has a very poor accident record in winter. Largely for those who venture off the track onto the steep and icy adjacent slopes which in a number of places lead to cliffs at the ridge edges. I stayed on the track, took my time and enjoyed the walk to the summit of Snowdon and also the nearby Carnedd Ugain in quite good weather conditions.
 
View from Llanberis Path
 
 
Y Lliwedd and Glaslyn
 
 
Carnedd Ugain Summit
 
Lovely views from the Llanberis path up to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain.
Crib Goch
 

An icy Crib Goch seen from an icy Snowdon summit ridge.

I was sad leaving the area on January 6th but I was very tired having achieved close to 24,000 feet of ascent since Christmas Eve, so was badly in need of some rest.
Snowdon Horseshoe
 

I still found time to stop for a few minutes by the large and still frozen Lynnau Mymbry on the approach to Capel Curig, to look back at the Snowdon Horseshoe.

The long icy spell ends in February.

 
Moelwyns
 

 
Cwm Eigiau
 

It took me a while back home to recover from that Christmas and New Year trip. But I kept a close watch on the weather in Snowdonia, and by early February it looked like the long cold spell was going to end.

So I hurriedly packed and headed back to the ever welcoming Bistro in Beddgelert. My priority was to get another day up in the Moelwyns before milder weather turned the frozen icy surface back into a muddy bog, and I just managed that! Gone were the largely clear days of my last trip, but I still enjoyed walking on the frozen snow and ice, whilst ticking off some minor peaks.

The mild weather duly arrived, so I headed to the only place I thought I would still find winter conditions: near the summit of Snowdon. And yes, winter was hanging on up there as I went up on the Rangers path, but only just and without the picture postcard scenes I had enjoyed a few weeks before.

I walked a few more days in the Carneddau region in conditions that saw most ice and snow had gone, with the ground becoming increasingly wet and boggy. But I did some good research on walks I planned for the warm months, (including one I subsequently did with SP’s Lolli in April). Heading home I thought I had done well over the trips I had spent in Snowdonia since winter came late in October, three and a half months earlier. Time to put my winter gear back into my a garage at home and prepare for Spring and Summer walking. But no, that was not to be!
Southern End of Moelwyns
 

At the time I thought this view in the Moelwyns would be my last Snowdonian winter photo in 2008/2009.


Winter returns with a vengeance!

 
Snowdon
 


After a spell of mild weather I got very excited to see a cold and snowy spell was forecast for Snowdonia early in March, so back I went! Staying again athe Bistro in Bedgelert, run by Ron and Sheila who themsleves know a thing or two about the hills. Later in 2009 they were to do the Everest Base Camp walk in the Himalayas.


As before during the winter the snow was only higher up, but was coupled with sub zero temperatures on the summits, so I had full winter gear with me as I set out up the Rangers Path early in March.



Right: Snowdon early in March 2009. By now I knew exactly what to expect inside that cloud base!



And enjoyed myself so much with the icy wintry conditions higher up that I took a rest day with a view to going up the PYG track to Snowdon the next day.

 
Mountain Rescue on Snowdon
 

My timing looked great as I checked the forecast for Snowdon’s summit over breakfast that morning: minus 4 C actual, wind gusting to 75 mph and visibility locally very poor in occasional blizzards!

“I’m going to have me some of that” was my comment to Ron and Sheila who run the Bistro where I was staying again in Beddgelert. They both looked a bit concerned and made me promise to phone as soon as I was back down below the snow line.

I started from Pen-y-Pass on a day when quite a few others were walking up via the PYG track, all of whom overtook slow old me! Getting close to the snow line I was shaken to see a Royal Air Force Sea King helicopter carry out the rescue of someone from the side of Grib Goch. Thankfully I later found out it was an uninjured climber who had become crag bound.

PYG track to Snowdon
 

Start of the ledge that had caused problems on the PYG track to walkers on and off all winter. Often thick black ice with fresh snow on top. As the ledge progresses it does have some quite exposed strectches.

 
Snowdon Summit
 


I got onto the ice and strapped on crampons near the junction with the Miners Track, and soon after, started to meet those who had overtaken me earlier, who were on their way back down. The conditions higher up were bad enough for them to have turned them back, and I guessed where that difficult would be. A narrow ledge that had got badly iced up earlier that winter close to the summit ridge. One guy stopped to warm me, “it’s very grim up on the ridge”, but then noticing my crampons reckoned I’d have a chance of getting over ok.

I reached the narrow ledge and it was as I thought it would be. Sheet ice with loose snow on top. With the few who hadn’t turned back, (all without crampons), having enormous difficulty with it. I took it very gently, as I did the final very steep and very icy section up onto a very windy and very icy summit ridge. Visibility was very poor in blowing snow and low cloud, the wind was howling across the ridge, (but not quite as high as the forecast 75 mph), and it was very slippery. I went slowly but really enjoyed it without getting too confident. At one point I left the track and only stopped when I realised there was a very steep drop right in front. Time to really concentrate, which I did.

I got to the icy summit, but stayed only a few seconds in those conditions and quickly headed back to an almost snow covered wall, (part of the station for the railway that goes almost to the top of Snowdon from Spring to Autumn), and dug myself a hole to sit in. Well, I thought this must surely be my last winter ascent of 2008/9, and I was going to celebrate by having a quick picnic. Which I duly did, with the summit stone just visible from time to time in front of me. “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” did come to mind!

By now I was just about alone on the mountain, and in still very bad weather conditions I felt it stupid to try and descend the way I had come up. So I went down the Llanberis Path, and called into Stefan’s the house at the bottom for very welcome pot of tea. While Stefan called a taxi to get me back to my car at Pen-y-Pass.

I did a gentle “warm down” walk the next day, and then , with some reluctance had to accept that would be the end of my last visit to Snowdonia in winter 2008/9. But what a winter it had been, and what wonderful walking I had managed to enjoy in such superb surroundings. Roll on the 2009/10 winter!

Images


Comments


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NanulsA full winter

Nanuls

Voted 10/10

Looks like you had a very full winter Bryan, and covered and photographed most of Snowdonia at the same time it seems. If you're looking for somewhere else on your next visit might I suggest Cadair Idris, the Rhinogs and the Arans - all great places to walk. The Rhinogs are a particular favourite of mine, they are so wild and visited by so few.
Posted Dec 1, 2009 2:35 pm

Big BennRe: A full winter

Big Benn

Hasn't voted

Thanks for your comments Dan. I will slowly expand the area of my operations. I was exploring the Southern end of the Moelwyns in November and found some routes I'd be happy to try in poor winter weather. Cadair Idris is certainly on my "to do" list as well!
Posted Dec 2, 2009 5:26 am

DrJonnieInteresting report

DrJonnie

Voted 10/10

Hi Bryan,
I thought your TR was excellent and your fotos outstanding. As an adopted scouser Snowdonia was my playground for many years and I've covered the ground you've shown but your account brings it all back vividly. Living in Essex now doesn't give me as many opportunities to get there. One omission I did notice was Ogwen and the Glyders. Are you saving these up for later?
cheers Johnnie
Posted Dec 2, 2009 10:23 am

Big BennRe: Interesting report

Big Benn

Hasn't voted

Thanks for your very kind words Johnnie. Yet to start on the Glyders and didn't think winter was the time to do that! Planning to get stuck into them next year sometime.
Posted Dec 2, 2009 1:31 pm

DrJonnieGlyders

DrJonnie

Voted 10/10

Bryan, a good intro is to walk up the old road from Capel behind Tryfan and onto the Glyders.
Posted Dec 2, 2009 7:28 pm

Big BennRe: Glyders

Big Benn

Hasn't voted

Thanks for that, it's on my list now!
Posted Dec 3, 2009 3:51 am

Big BennRe: Glyders

Big Benn

Hasn't voted

Thanks for that, it's on my list now!
Posted Dec 3, 2009 3:51 am

DrJonnieGlyders

DrJonnie

Voted 10/10

see January edition of Trail magazine.
Posted Dec 3, 2009 3:28 pm

millsThanks

mills

Voted 10/10

for sharing your experience in Snowdonia Bryan, as a local it is my playground in Winter but, as you mentioned, although they are not high in comparison to other mountain ranges the weather can change dramatically and very quickly, sadly the lost of lives on Snowdon every year indicates how serious thease `small hills` can be to the unprepaired climber.
The local mountain rescue team (Llanberis,Snowdon) and (Ogwen, Carneddau/Glyderau) are all volunteers are on call all year round, just thought I`d mention them as they have some very difficult and hazardous callouts and put their own safety on the line to rescue the benighted on the hills.
Your post has been an excelent read Bryan, a very good insight into winter hillwalking in Snowdonia. I hope we will have a good 2009/2010 winter and that you will enjoy another season on the hills.

mills.

p.s fantastic photos by the way :)
Posted Dec 6, 2009 6:00 am

Big BennRe: Thanks

Big Benn

Hasn't voted

Thanks for your kind words.Very glad you enjoyed the read.

I am very aware of the mountain rescue guys and what they do. And that dreadful week they had in February this year after I think 4 fatalities in short time. When their pleas for people to keep off Snowdon unless they were properly equipped got to about third item on the main evening BBC news.

Like may of us I've done my bit in persuading people to turn around, and on one of my trips I led a small group of young guys off the mountain. They had the sense to realise they could not go back down the way they had come up, and they asked for help. I'm not sure they were totally confident in an old, overweight, white haired guy. But once I got them below the cloudbase and out of the dreadful visibility and driving snow their relief was palpable. As was mine!

Doesn't make me an expert, I am not. And it doesn't make me immune from getting into trouble myself. I just try and read the conditions and adapt my plans accordingly. Like twice paying circa £18 for a taxi back from Llanberis to Pen-y-Pass after I'd gone up the PYG track and felt in worsening weather it wasn't safe to go back that way.
Posted Dec 6, 2009 6:45 am

Ejnar FjerdingstadVery interesting

Ejnar Fjerdingstad

Voted 10/10

trip report for someone who has only climbed Snowdon once, in early October, with no snow. I must say the snow does make the mountains of Snowdonia look very impressive, and you got some amazing photos on those trips.

But the report is also a very nice read, and I ended up full of admiration for the great shape you obviously are in. I hope you can continue like that for many years to come!
Posted Dec 6, 2009 8:18 am

Big BennRe: Very interesting

Big Benn

Hasn't voted

Thank you Ejnar. sadly my fitness has crashed with this dreadful bronchial bug I've had for ten days now. No training of any sort, and the prospect of going to Snowdonia soon and starting from square one again! At least I should have lost some weight.
Posted Dec 6, 2009 1:06 pm

Big BennRe: A very curios country :)

Big Benn

Hasn't voted

Please take care! Some winters you could be very disappointed.
Posted Dec 6, 2009 1:07 pm

BoydieGreat account...

Boydie

Voted 10/10

.. of your time in the Snowdonia area from last winter Bryan. I found it very heartfelt and it's good you found this a source of comfort during a difficult time. The pictures you posted are excellent and compliment your TR very well.

The higher peaks up here are covered from about 2,500 feet up (don't know what Snowdon is like as the webcam seems to be down at the moment!) just now, so hopefully we'll all get a good one this year!!!

Cheers,
Stephen
Posted Dec 6, 2009 9:02 am

Big BennRe: Great account...

Big Benn

Hasn't voted

I'd settle for the snow level being 2,500 feet in Snowdonia when I get there later in December!
Posted Dec 6, 2009 1:08 pm

Arthur Digbeewonderful

Arthur Digbee

Voted 10/10

I had no idea the terrain there was so varied and so rich! Your pictures have taught me otherwise.
Posted Dec 6, 2009 10:05 am

Big BennRe: wonderful

Big Benn

Hasn't voted

Arthur, I haven't even started on the most challenging terrain yet. The Glyders!
Posted Dec 6, 2009 1:09 pm

Snidely WhiplashNicely done, Bryan!

Snidely Whiplash

Voted 10/10

Really beautiful pictures. You're really starting to rack up the power points now.
Posted Dec 6, 2009 10:33 am

Big BennRe: Nicely done, Bryan!

Big Benn

Hasn't voted

All I've got to do now is to keep the power points ahead of my age, if not my waistline!
Posted Dec 6, 2009 1:10 pm

MoapaPkstunning pics

MoapaPk

Voted 10/10

Is the weather always that nice?
Posted Dec 6, 2009 11:18 am

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