#198 – Heather Terrace – A walk round Tryfan
Tryfan in North Wales is one of my favourite mountains, and I’ve never had a bad day there yet. The classic route is the North Ridge, starting by the Milestone Buttress just above the A5 road – continuing over the summit from the North Ridge down to Bwlch Tryfan, then up Bristly Ridge and on to Glyder Fach, gives a mountain day made in heaven.
However, if a shorter day is called for, a walk round Tryfan rather than over Tryfan is a great alternative, especially when it includes Heather Terrace. The terrace clings to the East Face of Tryfan, working its way through impressive rock scenery and giving a completely different aspect of the mountain – it’s certainly a route to tick once the North Ridge is crossed off the ‘to-do’ list.
Heather Terrace is also a more ‘dog-friendly’ route than the North Ridge, and I’ve taken Border Collie ‘Mist’ on the terrace route before. One thing for certain is that I am usually trailing behind, with ‘Mist’ heading out in front with a “Come on then – we haven’t got all day” look.
There are a couple of places on the terrace where the use of hands is necessary to make progress, so I use a harness for the dog’s safety and my peace of mind – when it gets steeper with a big drop below, it only takes a couple of seconds to clip her on to a short length of rope.
There was still some snow on the route on this trip, but it was never a problem – I was carrying an ice axe and crampons in case I decided to continue over Glyder Fach, but these were not needed on the terrace and added unnecessary weight to my pack. As I reached the end of the terrace things became a little steeper before levelling out at last, giving a sudden change of view down to Cwm Bochlwyd below and Y Garn in the distance
After a well-deserved coffee it was time for a ‘selfie’. I often wince as I watch mates balance several hundred £’s worth of camera on an icy rock above a big drop, and my solution is the neatest tripod on the planet – the Slik Pro-Mini tripod is a little beauty, which weighs next to nothing and folds down small enough to go in a rucksack pocket. All I have to concentrate on is not tripping up as I dash back in to the picture, trying to beat the camera self-timer.
Then it was time to head down into Cwm Bochlwyd for the path back to Ogwen. The route had been short in time and distance but high in quality, with sunny weather throughout. All I need to do in future to make the day perfect is to train the dog how to belay on the steep bits, and how to operate a camera shutter. On the other hand, perhaps not – she will be wanting to take over the blog next!
Text and images © Paul Shorrock