Oh my Crib GOCh, it’s half The
4th April 2008.
Map: Landranger 115
Weather: Foggy in the valley, sunshine up to around 850m, thick fog above.
A circular walk from Pen-Y-Pass, up the PYG track until Crib Goch, along the ridge and up to Garnedd Ugain and along to the Snowdon
Copyright OS-Click on map to enlarge, then hit the back button to return to blog
I had a busy March at work, with many nightshifts. I wasn’t feeling full of energy today but the weather forecasts were not good for the following week so I took my chances. The BBC forecast showed low clouds later in the day and the met office forecast hill fog! I took a couple of maps with me ad if it was too misty I would continue to
Crib Goch on the right
Hoping for the best I turned up the Pass and it was clear approaching the hills. Crib Goch loomed large ahead. It was looking dark and very steep to me. It has a very distinct profile with the pinnacles very intimidating. I had spent quite a bit of time looking at various journals on the internet, and wasn’t sure if I could handle the exposure along the ridge. My sister asked if I was mad, and to phone her up if I survived!
The Pinnacles to the west end of Crib Goch, fog ahead!
It was very foggy as I gained height up the pass, so much that I missed the turn into the Pen-Y-Pass car park and had to continue down to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel to turn around. The car park was fairly busy as the school holidays were still on, but I managed a good spot next to the PYG track - it was £4 for a days parking. I didn’t start until 10:30 today which was late for me, next time I’ll be down here at sunrise. It was reassuring to see that all the hikers today were well clothed and prepared for the worst of the weather.
The start of the PYG track
The "PYG track", one of the routes leading to the summit of
The path passes over these boulders…still misty ahead
The initial path is clearly marked, and the gentle ascent across the large boulder steps gently warmed my leg muscles for the day ahead. Thoughts of what was to come were bouncing around my head, but I told myself to be positive and concentrate on what I was doing. Good advice to myself and I was glad to act on it later in the day. There were plenty of people around and I passed by several families heading towards the summit along the PYG track.
Crib Goch peeking through the mist
The PYG track winding around
As I gradually gained height the sunshine came through and Crib Goch my brain tease came into full view. I started to anticipate the climb up the stony flank to the ridge. There were some minor patches of snow on the north facing slopes, but none on the sunny side. As I made higher ground the
Move along …coming through…
The path diverges up towards Crib Goch.
The path up to Crib Goch has a marker post and immediately you walk up to higher ground on a well marked path. I could see some people ahead of me climbing up the butt end of the ridge. Higher up on the ridge there is very little vegetation on it apart from the odd patch of grass. The path towards the ridge becomes progressively steeper, and as you leave the grassy parts behind the scramble begins. Looking back occasionally I was rewarded with some great views of the steep slopes below me, with the
The drop down into
Getting higher, with Crib Goch stretching away to the west
Steeper and getting closer, the path goes around to the left
Getting steeper, the scramble begins…
Looking across the valley to Glyder Fawr
Across to Y Lliwedd…a handy seat to admire the views
…and down to Llyn Llydaw and the miners track
Let the climbing begin….gulp
Lots more pictures to come. The geology continued with some Quartzite veins, which contain some Copper minerals such as Chalcopyrite, and down near Dolgellau…real Welsh Gold. I believe Princess Anne’s ring is made of Welsh Gold! Further up the slopes the bedding is sloping more gently towards you. The interbedded volcanic rocks are generally smooth below your feet and are covered in loose scree, although some of the rocks are easy to walk along. I felt very exposed here, but as you ascend you will find yourself leaning into the hill and steadying yourself with one hand on Mother Earth! I had a feeling of being on edge (or the edge) without too much to hold onto as the ground slopes up towards you. Because you’re going up a steep slope and concentrating I didn’t look back often enough and probably missed a few good pictures. But now and again I stopped for a breather and a look back to the height below…thinking cripes that’s blinking steep…. Or words to that effect. I was still feeling a little apprehensive about the ridge, but the ground becomes easier towards the crest. I knew that my moment was approaching but my heart rate was not too bad. Soon enough Llanberis and the lakes of Llyn Peris, Llyn Padarn came into view, with the
The road far below. Spot the two vehicles
The volcanic sill in the middle, see the columns. Someone further up as well
A close up …see the columns
Far below the PYG track. It comes up the left side of the picture. Steep up here isn’t it?
Nearly there, getting easier towards the top
Crib Goch stretching away to the west..Blue sky and excitement ahead
See the white Quartzite vein high up on the ridge
One of several large slabs on the way up…look over the edge…I dare you
What a dull day beneath this cloud at Pen-Y-Pass. I wonder how many sat in the car?
The Glyders across the valley…nearly at the top
The miners track far far below. View from some convenient steps.
The very last pull to the top, easy going now…
All of a sudden I was up there….Llyn Glas tarn high above the valley floor
There was a nice flat spot just along the ridge where I had a nice break to absorb the unique atmosphere. I didn’t have views of
Down the sunny side
From the flat picnic spot
It was easier to walk along than it looks
I did walk along here honestly. Note the column tops to walk on….easy does it
Cripes it is steep…I may have used my right hand for balance once or twice..
The second Pinnacles, then further up the ridge up to Garnedd Ugain
Looking back..this is not the ridge I came up, the start is to the right
Posing by the Quartzite slab…steam coming out of my ears..
Looking back towards the flat picnic spot
The bare rock on the way to the top can be seen bottom right
A bit further along the ridge, still easy going, if you close your eyes and grip tight…
Towards the first Pinnacles..stride along here at your pleasure
The ridge comes with some convenient handholds
The first Pinnacles. Left or up and over? Left I think..
Looking back up the ridge from the 1st Pinnacles. Not so bad from here.
Below the Pinnacles down to Llyn Llydaw
The path around the first Pinnacles
Looking north, not looking down
The second Pinnacles..Steps from bottom left to the top middle..easy
The Crib y Ddysgl ridge beckons
The other side of the Pinnacles
The drop below the Pinnacles, but you don’t come close to this
Past the worst bit now and down to the col at the end of Crib Goch
The end, made it, cue wild celebrations… a drink and an apple actually.
When I came down from the ridge I knew that had made my day so I made a couple of calls to say I was very much alive. I looked back along the ridge to see a steady stream of groups, no doubt enjoying themselves as much as I did. I looked ahead to the ridge disappearing into the mist and could see the meeting point of the PYG track and the miners track below. Still a long way to go, with some more scrambling ahead. The ridge at Crib-y-Ddysgl is a lot wider than Crib Goch, but there were some hairy moments up here as well. I had to retrace my steps a couple of times when the way ahead turned into rock climbing instead of a scramble. I didn’t fancy falling off yet. The higher I climbed up the ridge the better were the views back to Crib Goch. That was my reward for taking the hard route.
More scrambling ahead
The view back to Crib Goch
The PYG track far below. The start of the scramble up Crib-y-Ddysgl
Just stretch up a little. Be careful up the steeper sections
Further up the ridge the going is easier up these column steps. The mist still persisting
Once I was past the worst of the scramble the way ahead was clear and the path more defined. I took care of my footing and had glimpses of the valley far below. Occasionally the mist cleared and allowed a clearer view of the ridge and I was lucky enough to see the
Elidir Fawr above the hanging
The ridge became broader as I approached Garnedd Ugain, the trig point cloaked in mist. The summit here is only 20m lower than
A last look back to Crib Goch before I disappeared into the mist
The ridge up to Garnedd Ugain – the paths become easier
Here comes Thomas, puffing his way uphill
The summit trig point of Garnedd Ugain
Up towards the summit alongside the rail track
If only the gentleman or lady on top of the trig point had their arms outstretched
The summit trig point was full of information and people..
There were plenty of people around on the summit, but most didn’t stay long. It was enough that they had met their challenge. After I had finished lunch I studied the map and I took a heading for what I thought would be the right path to continue the Snowdon Horseshoe and complete a memorable day. However I didn’t take the right path and although on the ground it looked like the correct route, in reality it wasn’t. As I sit here now and reflect on the day, I realise now that I misread the map and should have headed off the summit to the south-east, instead of the east heading I took. I descended down in the mist on a good path, but it soon became indistinct, and worse became much steeper. The mist was thick and visibility low. I was very mindful of where I was and the dangers lurking where I couldn’t see. I did not want to become another statistic, so made my way back up the slope to the summit and decided to descend by the PYG track. I probably wasn’t that far away from the right path, but the risk wasn’t worth it. I definitely have a reason to return when the weather improves. Once back at the summit I walked back down the track to the finger rock which marks the top of the PYG track.
No way down here so back to the top
The top of the PYG track was snowed in and had become a little icy and slushy, and definitely quite slippery. The edge of the path was made up with large boulders and these were ok to walk down. I made my way down the track to another finger post that marked the junction with the miners track. It was adorned with an interesting T-shirt.
The finger stone marking the PYG track
Slide out of control here and you’re in trouble
I didn’t meet the owner, and I’m sure I would have recognised them
The miners track winds down to the
Eventually I dropped down below the mist and the tarn below
Crib Goch high above the miners track
The outflow from Glaslyn,
I should have been up there – Y Lliwedd above Llyn Llydaw
No change in the cloud base – the outflow below Glaslyn pouring downhill
Further along the miners track you pass by the old mine buildings along an easy path back towards Llanberis. The clouds were still swirling down around Y Lliwedd and onwards to the
The old mine works
Crib Goch, thanks for the fun. It doesn’t look so difficult from here
A last look back to Y Lliwedd across Llyn Llydaw
Back up the valley,
I arrived back at the car park about 6 hours after I had set out, a grand day out. On the drive down the pass there were some boulder climbers at the roadside, with a strategically placed mattress to fall off on. I passed by the Llanberis slate mines, a massive scar in the landscape. Finally I passed by some new born lambs gambolling in the fields, it shouldn’t be allowed by Ladbrookes at their age!
Walking, never dull, but sometimes it’s just plain scary! Brilliant really.