Slanting Buttress Ridge Route and The Horseshoe!

Considering we spent the night in a small tent with just sleeping bags and no bed mats to sleep on, Dad and I slept very well. The alarm woke us with a shock at 7am; we took a few minutes to find the motivation to get out of our warm sleeping bags and go outside into the cold, the sun had not yet risen over the mountains above us. I was first out and started up the stove to make a brew before heading over to the shower blocks for a wash. I returned to be handed a cup of tea and a bacon roll that Dad had made whilst I was away, perfect! After chatting, eating and finishing our tea, we packed away the tent and chucked ropes and gear into bags ready to make the hour long walk to the base of Lliwedd.

We parked, again, by the Cromlech Boulders and got the soonest bus up to Pen Y Pass. We arrived at the Pass at around 9:45am and began the walk to the base of the crag, the path is boring, wide and very touristy but allows one to make good progress before turning off the main path to arrive at the base of the crag.

Photo 1.1 – The broad path with Lliwedd in the distance.

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We continued along the broad path before breaking off left, traversing the steep grassy hillside and making our way to the base of the steep scree slope and eventually the bottom of the climb.

Photo 1.2 – Lliwedd getting nearer as we traverse the grassy slope. 

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We made good progress up the steep scree slope and arrived at the base of the route in 60 minutes, just like the guidebook suggested. Although the cloud had started to come over, it was still very warm and we were glad to be at the start of the climb and not to be slogging towards it any longer.

Photo 1.3 – The view back towards where we started, from the base of the route.

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We began to kit up, we decided that in the interest of speed, we’d move together Alpine style. I’d lead, placing gear between us but instead of pitching the route, we’d move continuously. This would make the 10 pitch route far quicker! I racked my harness before showing Dad how to take coils and to tie the coils off, I then set off instructing Dad to climb at the same pace, keeping the rope fairly tight so that he would not fall too far if he slipped. The climbing was straight forward but nice, very much a mountaineering route in feel and some pitches were quite exposed. Easy slabs continued through to around 150m, the route steepened before climbing a rampy groove just around the corner from the steep slab. The route then continued along the arete, steeply at first before a narrow ridge feature appeared- easy but exposed. I managed to get a photo of Dad following me along the ridge:

Photo 1.4 – Dad on the narrow exposed ridge.

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After this, we continued up a rightwards ascending traverse before turning the arete and climbing a series of grooves. Due to moving together, we were able to move quickly up the groves. We ascended the last grove slightly too far left, meaning that I had to make a short unprotected traverse across a steep wall to rejoin the route; the traverse was fairly easy but exposed, I decided I’d make an anchor and belay Dad through this section. He made it through ok but needed some assistance from the rope. Once past this section, only 60m of climbing remained, a leftwards slanting ramp followed by a short rightwards facing chimney section; we climbed these quickly and soon we were at the top. We snapped some photos, sorted kit and ropes and packed our bags up knowing that simple walking remained.

Photo 1.5 – Myself above Lliwedd after leading alpine style on SBRR. 

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It was still early due to climbing the route quickly, moving together; hence, we decided to walk the horseshoe back to the car. This involved a short ascent to the summit of Snowdon, a grade 1 scramble on the ridge across Crib Y ddysgl and Crib Goch and a descent back into the Llanberis pass.

The cloud had now disappeared and we found ourselves beginning the ascent to Snowdon in just a baselayer; the sun was baking hot! We made swift progress across the saddle before joining the Watkin path that lead to the summit of Snowdon via a steep scree slope. We walked up this quickly despite the heat and bags full of climbing gear and found ourselves at the summit. I always disliked the summit of Snowdon, it was always a circus of tourists that had either taken the train or walked the tourist path from Llanberis, making it unbearably crowded.

Photo 1.6 – Looking back at Lliwedd from the summit of Snowdon. 

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Due to our dislike of the summit of Snowdon, we spent little time here and headed down the broad path before turning off to make the short ascent to begin the scramble across Crib Y Ddysgl and Crib Goch.

Photo 1.7 – Looking back towards Snowdon with Lliwedd to the left.

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From here, rocky paths interspersed with occasional scrambling sections lead across Crib Y Ddysgl and Crib Goch. The section is probably one of the most famous ridge walks in Britain, Crib Goch notorious for it’s exposed and photogenic ridge.

Photo 1.7 – The ridge over Crib Y Ddysgl and Crib Goch in the distance. 

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We romped along the ridge, enjoying the scenery but eager to get back to the car after a long day. We continued over Crib Goch before heading left over another short ridge before descending steeply down a scree bank to enter Cyrn Las. We stopped briefly to refill bottles in a stream before descending the grassy col for an hour to the road in the Llanberis Pass. We were both glad to be at the road and made short work ascending the half a mile stretch of tarmac back to the car!

Hot from the day, I changed into shorts and flip flops and chilled right out by the car sorting kit into the boot. We’d both thoroughly enjoyed the climb and the walk but we were both eager to head the 40 minute drive home and have a nice meal and a cold beer!

A thoroughly enjoyable end to an excellent weekend!

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