Tryfan in the Ogwen valley - North Wales
In my opinion, Tryfan is the most beautiful mountain in Wales, situated in the Ogwen Valley in North Wales, a part of the Snowdonia National Park and it is a year-round playground for mountaineers, rock climbers and scramblers. It may be the only mountain in Wales where you have to use your hands to get to the top.
Once you get there, you have a view of one of the most oustanding glaciated valleys in the British Isles.
These few images show some interesting situations on the West side of the mountain and on top of the adjacent Glyders.
Once you leave your car at the side of the A5 or walk up from Capel Curig, the size of Tryfan quickly impresses you, stepping off the road onto the hill you soon gain height over rough heather and broken rocks. As the area gets over 3,000 mm of rain per annum, there are always boggy bits to avoid but in some areas the mosses are like sprung mattresses that you can cross without getting your feet wet.
Here Ken is seen enjoying the volcanic rock that forms this range of mountains between the Ogwen and Llanberis valleys.
The pleasure of scrambling over the rough volcanic rocks is difficult to describe with any power, it is a visceral experience taking in all of the human senses, the hand's feel of the rock is always different depending on its temperature, it can be wet or dry or even slippery with damp lichen. Its texture is always changing from smooth boiler plate to open eroded pockets or quartz crystals as well as all grades between. These eroded pockets provide secure holds, cracks give acccess to fingers and toes even spikes are found for secure or wobbly grips.
The eyes seek out the next hold and take in the changing colours and textures, the feet set square on the step, wedge in a crack or scrabble trying to find friction.
The ears hear the silence and the rustling of the wind across the heather and bilberry, peace touches the soul and enhances the pleasure of strenuous movement with the nose recording the subtle aroma of damp peat and the sometime acrid acents of bruised stone from the occasional rock slippage.
Wedged in a chimney you get a sudden respite from a cool breeze or you get chilled by being out of the sun for a moment, pleasure or pain? 'vive la differance' a sudden nervous moment if your foot or hand slips? adrenaline rush? the sheer pleasure of a difficulty overcome by muscle power or grey matter.
Colin enjoys the sheer delight of finding a way across the boiler plate slabs and walls, unencumbered by ropes or protection gear. An 'all day breakfast' at Capel Curig provides the energy matter for strenuous pulls across the void.
A curious rock feature appears, 'The Cannon' we all scamble out to its top following the tread of thousands, we try to stand up but the boots slide down the polished slope so we cower at the top for a foto.
Later, Ken and Colin move off again, up the walls and ledges the form the west side of Tryfan.
Come on up DrJonnie there's a great view from here,
Colin and Ken offer encouragement in case of any display of nervousness or weary appearance on my part.
Then we are there, at the top of the ridge between Tryfan and the Glyders, a world of wierd shapes but Colin and Jonnie enjoy the stunning views across the Ogwen valley towards the nothwest.
Ken pauses on the crest framed by 'Pen yr Ole Wen' in the background, one of the other welsh 3000ft tops that forms part of the Carneddau range between the Ogwen valley and the coast near Conway.
Tradition demands paying homage to one of the most famous features on the top of the Glyders. 'The cantilever' is a popular sight for fotos and figures in many albums I guess.
Moving on over the top of Glyder Fach towards Glyder Fawr and the spectral sight of Castell Y Gwynt appears through the clouds, we pass by, move over Glyder Fawr and find our way down to the Devils Kitchen for our descent path back into Cwm Idwal and from there follow the well trodden path back down to the Ogwen valley.
An excellent day out enjoying all the pleasures of summer mountaineering, walking, scrambling, rock climbing and finding our way over the hills through the clouds, what could be a better way of spending your day?
For detailed directions, routes and mountain decriptions see the mine of information provided by Nanuls.
TRYFAN page on SummitPost
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