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Posts Tagged ‘Wales’

Once again it was Dr Ali’s enthusiasm that got this show on the road. Whilst out on a local run last week I mentioned that my plan to run up Snowdon may not materialise this year. Dr Ali had a window and suggested that we should try to get over there this weekend. Which we did.

We decided on a ‘commando’ style attack –  travelling up on Friday night in Dr Ali’s camper van, pitching up at the Nant Peris camp site, starting the run early Saturday and getting back home at lunch time. We arrived at the camp site in time  to take in refreshments (well, we would wouldn’t we?) at the Vaynol Arms  – one of those climbers’ pubs with great location, atmosphere, beer and food.

After a hearty breakfast we set off for Llanberis where we donned our running gear and set off on the run. After a week of torrential rain we had been blessed with almost perfect conditions – dry, with broken cloud; plenty of sunshine but cold. The only warning sign of things to come higher up was the occasional ferocious gust of wind.

Without thinking about it too much, I had kind of subconsciously split the run up into sections of difficulty. The first section is the steep ascent up the road leading to Penceunant   – a familiar place to anyone who’s done Snowdon in the Snow. We set off at the same time as half a dozen mountain bikers. As we approached this section I mentioned to Dr Ali that we would probably catch them up and overtake them, and wondered how many times during the endeavour we would get in each other’s way. By the time we’d got to Penceunant we’d passed them all. It wasn’t long before we were off the lane, through the gate and on to the mountain proper. Just one more section of climb before the path evened out to a long, flat stretch.

Funny thing is, the long flat stretch doesn’t exist. It seems to when you walk the route. But when you’re running it your legs constantly remind you that you are, in fact, on a constant uphill slog.

We reached the ‘half way house’ in under 40 minutes. A further 7  minutes  saw us at the bottom of my next difficult section – the steep slog up to the bridge after Clogwyn Station where the path cuts 90 degrees right under the bridge. It was here that I think I began to ‘concentrate’ on regulating every single step and breath in order to complete the section and have enough left to complete the next.

With the end of the ‘Cloggy slog’ in sight, the incline became less steep. This led to a natural urge to pick up the pace a bit. I realised instantly that my legs disagreed. I didn’t argue, and carried on to the bridge at the same pace.

After a brief stop and a photograph we agreed that we were on track to get to the summit in less than 40 minutes. We set off. In my mind we had a couple of hundred metres until the path got steep again. In reality we had about 10. I locked into a rhythm and plodded up. The bright sunshine suddenly changed to thick fog. The odd fierce gusts of wind turned into a perpetual ferocious wind. The temperature plummeted. I began to freeze. Not wanting to disturb my rhythm, I spent the next 5 minutes manipulating my hat and coat out of my rucksack and getting them onto my head and body on the move.

The next thing I knew, we were at the monolith at Blwch Glas and continuing on up the summit ridge in icy conditions. We skipped up the steps to the summit cairn and took photos. I was elated. We had made it to the top in 1 hour and 19 minutes. I tried to think back and realised that I had been in a type of trance since the bottom of the steep section before Cloggy, and that everything before and since had become a dream-like blur. I didn’t seem to have had a conscious thought during that time; some would say that’s not that unusual for me!

I’m not a down-hill runner but felt like I was skipping down the summit ridge. Bouncing from rock to rock as we dodged  past people on their way up. I even enjoyed running down the steep section back to Cloggy with my knees bouncing up to my chin. A quick time check showed that we had returned back to Cloggy from the summit in a surprising 11 minutes.

At the bottom of the steep section leading up to Cloggy we met the mountain bikers we’d passed on the way up to Penceunant,  still slogging their way up with their push irons.

The rest continues to be a euphoric blur.  I remember hopping and skipping my way back to the bottom without a care in the world, utterly enjoying every step of the way. I can only imagine that the exertion induced a kind of Zen like meditative experience. Whatever, I don’t think I have enjoyed myself or felt so carefree since I was a kid. I suggested to Dr Ali that we do the same every Saturday morning but in retrospect I’m not sure just how practical that would be.

Distance: 9.2 miles
Climb: 3139 feet
Runkeeper: http://runkeeper.com/user/StevenTuck/activity/84397234?&mobile=false

39 mins to halfway house
58 mins to clogwyn
114 mins to Bwlch Glas (monolith at end of Pyg Track)
120 mins to summit

124 mins to Bwlch Glas (monolith at end of Pyg Track)
131 mins to clogwyn
140 mins to halfway house
122 mins to finnish

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Previous years photos

Only a handful of people at Marsden on a drizzly grey morning and most of them new faces to this event which was great. No snow on the roads this year saw an easy journey, stopping at the usual spot on the A55 for breakfast where we also met Hawksey. I was pleased to see several groups of people already waiting for us at Electric Mountain carpark but not so happy about the rain. Still, it was forecast to brighten up and the forecast wouldn’t let us down, would it?

39 people in all (one – the mysterious cagoule man) turned up. After a quick talk indicating some of the danger areas and pointing out  the guides, helpers and first aid kit carriers we were off, a huge line of us snaking through Llanberis.

We paused briefly at Pennceunant Isaf to warn Stephan that there were actually twice as many people than I had told there would be when I rang him the previous day and that we would be calling in for tea and bara brith on our way down.

I must admit at this point to being a little more worried than usual about looking after such a large group. This year, in order to prevent the group spreading across the mountain too much, I decided to lead from the front. With the ever dependable Richard Statham at the back and the expertise and experience of Jeff, Mac, Stephen Fraser, Jude, Judy, Woody and others in the middle knew it was covered.

One of those waterproofs on, waterproofs off days left us quite well spread by the time we reached the half way point but conditions were fair and everyone was having a good time.

half way

half way

People were happy to drift off up to Clogwyn Station at their leisure where I arrived later to find them all waiting. 

Conditions ahead were foggy but fine and with no snow on the ground the path was unmissable. I didn’t get to do the usual stop at Cloggy and lead straight through and up to the summit. Before nipping back down and brining up the rear with Richard and Mac.

Though there was no snow on the ground this year, almost as if to qualify the name of the trip it did snow during the time were on the summit. Then, on the descent the fog lifted and we were treated to 20 minutes of  scenery before it fell again. All too soon I was back at the bottom and after making sure the rest of the group were safely down retreated to Pete’s Eats for a hearty fill.

It was a great year for many people who had decided to conquer their fears and give this sort of thing a try for the first time. I’m proud and honoured to have spent the day with so many wonderful people.

Lots of photos and stories of the day by other people who came can be found by following the links below.

Barnsley Kilimanjaro Charity Trek 2011 account

mrMark’s photos on flickr

Snowdon in the Snow meets Spencer’s vertigo

Up Snowdon and Up my vertigo – Spencer Wilson

Ken Eastwood’s photos

 
 
 
 

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Rung Stephan at Pennceunant Isaf to warn him that we’ll be taking advantage of his most generous hospitality – and bara brith –  again tomorrow. He told me that the weather is perfect their today.

This year we’ve got groups from Huddersfield, Manchester and the Kili team from Barnsley meeting us there.

The latest weather forecast: Detailed Forecast for Sunday, 13th February, 2011

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Started to keep my eye on the weather. Bloody awful from now until Friday – wet, windy and claggy. Getting better on Saturday clouds lifting and getting cooler with excellent visibility. Fingers crossed for Sunday.

Snowdon weather forecast

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13th February 2011

Walking up the highest mountain in the UK outside of Scotland in the snow has become increasingly difficult over the last 6 years but somehow we’ve always managed it. It shouldn’t be a problem this year as there is plenty of snow fall which still remains on higher ground.

Starting in Llanberis the route will ascend and descend the mountain using the Llanberis Path. Approximately 5 miles each way with a height gain of about 2800 feet the route should take about 5 hours.

Meet at the United Reform Church, Peel Street, Marsden at 7am or in Llanberis, in the car park of Electric Mountain – Dinorwig Power Station at 10am. After the walk we’ll meet in Pete’s Eats for the traditional hearty feast and tales of derrin doo. The start of the route is very steep and quite uninspiring, Stephan the owner of Penceunant Isaf – a small tea room and bunk house at the top of the steep section normally allows me to park a couple of cars on his car park for those who want to omit this beginning section.

Suggested Kit

* Walking boots
* Warm clothes
* Waterproof trousers
* Waterproof coat
* Hat
* Gloves
* Sunglasses or ski goggles
* Spare dry shoes/clothes to change into afterwards
* Walking poles if you need ‘em
* Rucksac
* Drink (at least 1.5 litres)
* Sandwiches
* Soup
* Chocolate
* Camera
* Flask

Let me know if I’ve missed anything or if there’s a particular bit of personal kit that you find useful that I don’t know about.

Route

The route is fairly straight forward and should be achievable by anyone with reasonable fitness. There are no climbing or ‘hands on’ sections but care needs to be taken in two places. The path takes a sharp turn south after passing under the bridge after Clogwyn Station.Care should be taken not to navigate over the cliff in bad visibility.

The path traverses the mountain about 200 metres above the cliffs of Clogwyn Coch. Because of the camber on the path at this section, when icy it is possible, when icy, to slip down the slope and over the cliffs. These risks are small but must be considered. We stick together as a group and make sure the mix experienced navigators, people familiar with the route and first aiders is balanced with people with no or little experience.

photos from 2010

https://steventuck.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/snowdon-in-the-snow-the-photos/

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A first outing in Dr Ali’s new camper van. And a fine day it was too.

Arrived at Idwal Cottage just after 10am for tea and toasties. A quick reccie of Tryfan Bach was enough to convince us that our original plan to include it was a bit optimistic. Parked up and set off for our first climb Milestone Buttress Approach a grade three scamble up the western side of Tryfan.

We arrived at the start of the route after a heavy shower which ensured the rock was suitably greasy. Dr Ali lead what would be an easy climb in good conditions to the ample stance before bringing me up followed by Diver Driver and the Prof. The next pitch – a traverse – began with an awkward looking flake. Though amply protected, after watching Dr Ali and Diver Driver slither and slide around the front of the flake I became determined to find an alternative move. This was easily achieved with a foot jam between the flake and the face which allowed for a simple step over. This lead to a simple walk over rough rock to the next huge stance where we paused for a spot of lunch.

Pitch 3, up the easier chimney to the right of the corner was again made more tricky by the wet conditions. Dr Ali led this to the stance and continued up the greasiest, greenest, wettest slab known to man. By the time we all arrived at the top of pitch 3 we realised that it had taken us nearly 3 hours. We had had some rope management and communication issues on the route but that’s what we were her to sort out after all. We decided to move onto the North Ridge for the easier Grade 1 scrambling.

After a little searching we managed to avoid the top of the scree ascent on the Eastern side of the mountain by finding the more interesting route up to the cannon stone where we stopped for the usual photos. With well practiced comedy scottish accents we made our way to lunch on the top of Tryfan and a leap across Adam & Eve by Stephen Fraser. We were quickly down the South Ridge and at the foot of Bristley Ridge where we were met by the wettest, slimiest, greasiest chimney entrance that I have ever seen.

Up to the to of Bristley without any problem but due to the slow going we had to withdraw from the full horseshoe and descended via ‘Bridget’s’ scree slope. Before we knew it we were back at Dr Ali’s camper van for a brew before stocking up with refreshments from the Spar at Bethesda for the journey home.

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The weather forcast for tomorrow from http://mwis.org.uk And it couldn’t really be much better.

Snowdon Mountain Weather forecast for 21st Feb 2010

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