#242 – A (not so) snowy day on the Glyderau

Border Collie ‘Mist’ on Glyder Fawr, looking towards Cwm Cneifion

(Left click images to zoom in, use browser return arrow to go back)

UK weather suddenly became ‘interesting’ in March this year, with ‘The Beast from the East’ dumping snow quite liberally.    In North Wales it was the Borders area that had the biggest fall, so the weekend after the storm was shaping up to be busy for my mountain rescue team.    However, the following week settled down and it looked like being a good opportunity for playing out in the mountains of Snowdonia.

The route – anticlockwise from the red flag

Looking up towards Cwm Idwal

Border Collie ‘Mist’ near Twll Du (Devils Kitchen)

Looking down to Cwm Idwal, with Pen yr Ole Wen beyond

I hadn’t been to the Glyderau for a while, so the plan was to reverse the route I did with old buddy John Bamber, along with Tom Strawn, in March 2013 (see post #125).    Snow conditions that day had been fantastic, following a late fall of snow in March that year, so I set off with ice axe, crampons and a fair amount of optimism.    Starting from Ogwen, I set off up Twll Du (The Devil’s Kitchen), but there didn’t seem to be much of the white stuff around ….

At the top of the Kitchen path, with Glyder Fawr rising to the left

Looking back towards the frozen lake of Llyn y Cwn, with Y Garn beyond

The author practicing his selfie skills with an impatient Border Collie waiting behind

At the top of the Devil’s Kitchen path, I could see the slopes of Glyder Fawr rising on the left.    Not much snow low down, but a biggish looking snowfield higher up.    I decided to fit crampons when I reached the snow, rather than risk precarious manoeuvres on steep ground if it became icy near the top.    Sure enough, the snow became firmer as I gained height – that was before everything went back to brown and green!

Near the summit of Glyder Fawr looking northwest towards Y Garn ….


…. and looking southwest towards Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)

Approaching Glyder Fawr summit

The summit rocks of Glyder Fawr

Away went crampons and ice axe, in fact I probably spent longer gearing up and then putting away again than I did on the snow slope.    Still, a day out is a day out, and I carried on over the weird moonscape summit of Glyder Fawr, along with my hill buddy, Border Collie ‘Mist.

Looking east across Cwm Cneifion headwall

Cwm Cneifion headwall in 2013 (TS)

Party of three exiting the headwall in 2013 (JB)

Looking back (west) to Cwm Cneifion with Glyder Fawr beyond

The same view in 2013 (JB)

From Glyder Fawr I headed towards Glyder Fach, via the headwall of Cwm Cneifion.    The photos show the contrast between my trip in March 2013 with John and Tom, but if it wasn’t the snowy paradise I had expected it to be, it was still a good day out.

Continuing east towards Glyder Fach

The descent from Glyder Fach on the left with Tryfan on the right

Looking a bit different in 2013 (JB)

The crossing of Glyder Fach was marred by me taking the wrong line, mainly due to me avoiding the bulk of the snow to avoid putting crampons on for another five minutes.  I ended up contouring below the summit before dropping down to the Miners Track for the descent to Cwm Tryfan.

Looking back from Cwm Tryfan towards the Miners Track

Closer view of the Miners Track

The Miners Track 2013

Once again, a poor choice of line led me into an ice sheet on the Miners Track, but it was all avoidable without having to use crampons – in retrospect I might as well have got them out again, as I spent a good bit of time faffing about avoiding the awkward bit.    Beyond there, it was a straightforward descent of Cwm Tryfan, back to the waiting car and dinner time for a hungry dog!

Heading down Cwm Tryfan

Time to head for home

Text and images © Paul Shorrock – Images tagged (JB) © John Bamber and (TS) © Tom Strawn.

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
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4 Responses to #242 – A (not so) snowy day on the Glyderau

  1. Looks like an awesome journey. Would love to see some of Britain’s mountain’s in the snow, besides the minor smattering that’s often (or always?) at the top of Snowden. Beautiful photos too. Border Collies look like great mountain companions.

    • Thanks for the comment – you can’t go far wrong in beautiful mountain scenery like this, snow or no snow. You can’t go far wrong with Border Collies either, though I am a bit biased. ☺️

  2. Pingback: #243 – Dinas Bran Castle and the Vale of Llangollen | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  3. Pingback: Blogs I've Been Reading this Week (No 2) - Wild Terrain

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