An eventful and thought provoking weekend rambling in the hills here in North Wales!
Saturday, 17th February 2018
Saturday morning I woke up to crisp, clear blue skies. Before I knew it I was dressed and kitted up for a day of adventures. I drove up into Ogwen Valley with endless ideas about what I was going to embark on today. Driving in, Tryfan's north ridge looked in stellar conditions, covered in a layer of ice and snow. This wasn’t going to deter me from getting the weekend training up and running in the hills.
The start up to the hike on the north ridge is a bit of a free for all really, having to find your own pathway to the top which really allows you to make it as technical or easy as you like. 40 minutes in, I reached the first technical climb up and over a number of rocky bulges. Adding to the hike was the strong exposure as a result of higher altitude. Hiking for another 5-10 minutes I reached the main shelf on the north ridge and moved into the bundle of 20 or so people who were contemplating whether they were going to go ahead and continue or retreat down again. The ice and snow had really picked up after the bulges. A lack of crampons and axes didn’t put an end to the hike, as I found enough exposed rock to continue on a safe passage up.The end result was standing in a snow filled gully, however I continued on up.
The weather worsened as I made way for the summit and the snow showers and thick cloud became very apparent. I was relieved to stumble upon other hikers on the summit, celebrating a 50th birthday with tea and cakes in the snow!
Overall, my ascent of Tryfan’s north ridge only took 1h 20m, reaching the summit 917.0m above sea level. Upon my decent the weather conditioned plummeted and I took the recommend route down, following snow and ice down into mud socked bogland back to the road.
Sunday, 18th February 2018
Another day waking up to a blue sky - not a cloud in sight! I grabbed my overnight oats and drove to Ygard. I planned to do a training lap up and over Ygard and down through the devils kitchen. I powered up the main ridge in just under 50 minutes and stoped for a quick refuel at the top. Whilst here I met Peter. A 74 year old a passionate hiker with a love for soloing. We shared a brew on the summit and he shared stories about his crazy north face adventures across the alps, climbing the Eiger, the Matterhorn and the Dru in the 70’s - with idealistic conditions in the winter and in the summer months. These kind of conditions are only imaginable now due to the global warming crisis.
After the short break we took the decent together, down through the devils kitchen. Peter was equipped with just two walking polls, after having hiked up YGard summit which was covered by a field of snow. He spoke of how he passed countless groups with crampons and axes. He then turned to me a said ‘‘my knees and hips are falling apart. But why should I stop? Its not going to get better just sitting around.’’. It was clear that Peter was admirably fighting against the assumption that your age should limit your ability. As we walked though the devils kitchen was, we passed idwal slabs and both pondered on how empowering and inspiring adventures such as this can be.
Thank you to Peter for sharing stories of another life time with me, I hope to see you in the mountains again some time.