New Year’s Eve at Pen Y Clogwyn (by Max Streeton)

I came up on the 27th December with Alan Blanchflower, to find John Mair in residence. We were joined by Brian White later that evening.  Paul Havrill I understand came up after Chistmas but left before we arrived.

The next day was set to be perfect.  Cold, sunny and no wind. However with a lot of fresh snow it did not look good for climbing.  A ridge looked best and one of the best is the Snowdon Horseshoe. Being quite long an early start is recommended in winter, but we overslept until 8:30!  Conditions were fantastic.  The late start and having walked from the bottom of Pen Y Pass to get free parking meant we did not mange to get back to the car in daylight, although it was only the last 200m between the Pen Y Gwryd and the car we did in the dark!

Next day we had a strong SW wind, so we opted for an easy climb on the sheltered East side of Tryfn.  Unconsolidated snow on some parts made it interesting, requiring a few route diversions.  After a nice climb out of the wind we finished directly at Adam and Eve at the summit to see lots of people huddled from the wind.  Another good route choice.

Emma Horsley joined us that evening.  She had never done the excellent long V Diff of Amphitheatre Buttress on Carnedd Llewelyn, so that was the next day’s plan. We approached from the Ogwen valley over the col.  The North side is a step descent, tricky at the best of times.  With heather covered in deep loose snow it was ‘interesting’.  We arrived at the base of the route (North facing) to find it plastered in loose snow.  Climbing it would have required a broom!  So we decided to head up the gully to the right, which gets a grade 2 scramble due to a step.  Reaching the step was a slog up steep deep snow. Despite trying various approaches the step proved just too tenuous in the conditions so retraced our steps.  The escape involved a long climb, hanging off the heather on snow slopes, back to the col.  Not a good route choice, but still a good day out!

Unfortunately Emma had to return suddenly back home.  New year’s eve was rather wet and with 80mph winds on the summits, so along with Brian we opted for a walk in the woods to the North of Betws Y Coed up towards Haffna mines.  However we made it more interesting by losing the path and having to fight through dense woods along a cliff top.

We were expecting quite a few more up for new year’s eve, but they did not show up!  Some unfortunately due to emergencies back home.  However we still had a wild night of partying.  Ok, it was three of us mainly playing Carcassonne, but we did drink lots of beer and set off Alan’s fireworks at midnight.  New year’s day was similarly bad weather, but with the forecast good the day after we stuck around, and just walked up above the hut to the Lake.

For our last day Alan and myself searched for a route that would get some sun, and opted for the East facing slabs on Carnedd Filiast, and did left edge route.  This is a route you could walk up in rock shoes but proved interesting in big boots.  To make a day of it we went from the summit south over Foel Goch and down the scramble of the ‘mushroom garden’.  The rain had stripped the hills of snow, so things on top looked rather different from a few days earlier.