North Snowdonia Scrambling – Wales, July 11-13, 2014

Scramblers: Andy D, Andy M, James, Keyna, Pam, Sarah R and Simon P
Location: Gwern Gôf Isaf Bunkhouse, foot of Tryfan
Organizer: Sarah R

Friday afternoon/evening saw us all braving terrible traffic on the way to North Wales. Despite some leaving early, some attempting to leave early and failing, and some leaving after work we all got there within about half an hour of each other, so that’ll teach us! The later evening was spent in the (compact) bunkhouse studying maps and guides , drinking wine and celebrating the return of Mr Garner to the flock.

Under duress Sarah agreed to a 9am start, actually setting out about 9.20am. Conditions were good and we enjoyed a pleasant warm-up walk from the bunkhouse along the Ogwen valley and Llyn Ogwen to Ogwen Cottage and the base of Pen yr Ole Wen. Route finding initially went very well and we found the start of the scramble up the Braich Ty Du face with ease. Most of us gazed up at James and Keyna as they merrily skipped up the steep slopes like lambs in pasture to eagerly begin the climb and thought “really?”, but gamely gave it a go, all successfully picking a way along the precarious Pinnacle Ridge. A tedious scramble up an extremely steep heather-filled gully (avoided by James and Keyna) brought us out near the top of the mountain and ready to take the Porcupine Ridge. In hindsight, we probably didn’t quite hit the route here, but we struggled up a tough route and got back on track partly by the experience of Pam and the brawn of Andy D. Andy M amazed us all by taking on the difficult 2-3m step unaided after trying to deceive us that this was “a bit beyond his ability”, yeah right! Reaching the summit just as it started to rain, the two Andys, the lovebirds and Sarah decided to cut the plan short and head back down the East Ridge and hit the pub, while Pam and Simon finished the planned route taking in Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewellyn before descending direct to the bunkhouse.

Keyna’s analysis of dinner: Sarah brought this really strange thing I had not seen before. I think they call it a mortar and pestal…? Some really strange smelling and looking ingredients went in it. Powders, sticks, whole leaves, big sugary lumps. Wow. Turned into a wonderful Thai curry. It was sooooo wonderful that even mega bland eater of the universe, Pam, had some of the sauce and loved it. Have we converted her to rich sauces the spices of life? I wonder?
Dessert, chocolate cake, strawberries and cream, provided by Jamyna (or is it Keymes?!) was equally delicious, with fights breaking out over second and third helpings.

Unfortunately the group had to endure Sarah coughing her guts up all day on Saturday, so Andy banned her from hitting the hills on Sunday. With regret and jealousy she outlined the proposed route up Tryfan and retreated to Pete’s Eats in Llanberis for a fry-up and to lick her wounds. The group studiously ignored the original plan, choosing instead to take on the North Face of Tryfan (in cloud, contrary to Simon’s brilliant weather forecast). Various routes were selected (none of which are repeatable, it’s Tryfan) and most of the party made it to the top but bailed on jumping Adam and Eve (“it was too wet”).

Good journeys back all round and keen enthusiasm for another scrambling-focussed trip soon!

Andy D’s “highlights” (and you thought he was a natural ginger…):
Best bits: Getting the gear out on Saturday and assisting each other up one of the scrambles, Pam showing me the Italian hitch, free style scrambling up the North Ridge of Tryfan, no one took the same route, or the path, climbing and thinking for nearly 2 hours, the Thai curry (it was just as good on Monday evening too) and conquering my highest peaks in Wales.
Worst bits: Sarah being ill and missing out on Sunday [ahh, isn’t he sweet?!], the Welsh midges, worrying where Simon was…until his bottom would give it away.

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