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!

A Weekend In The Hills!

It had been a week since arriving home from the Alps and as usual, I was feeling fit and restless and eager to get into the hills! This weekend was scorching and too good to miss, I’d originally planned to get out climbing but unfortunately all my climbing partners were busy so it was a solo/hill bashing weekend in the hills!

I started out in Llanberis on Saturday at around 2pm and followed the usual circus of tourists up the Llanberis path; It always amuses me seeing the kinds of people heading up the path- some of the looking moments from collapsing, probably the only peak they’d ever done! The usual ascent time for this route was around 2.5hrs, I managed to summit in 1hr 30mins including buying water at the halfway station, still fit from the Alps. I took a few moments on summit before deciding to decend to Rhyd Ddu via the South Ridge, I always liked the South Ridge, it was always quieter, In all the times I’ve been up and down it, I’ve probably seen a handful of people on it- certainly never crowds of rowdy, shirtless tourists! I descended in good time, arrived at Rhyd Ddu car park and refilled my water bottles.

The plan was to head to the base of the Nantille Ridge and bivvy for the night; however, it was still early, I felt fit so I pushed on to the second of the six summits on the ridge before taking a bivvy.

Photo 1.1 – Bivvying On The Ridge.

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I had a fairly good nights sleep and woke at around 7:30am; I’d planned to do the double traverse of the Nantille Ridge- 21km and around 1200m of ascent. I was keen to get the day started as it would be a long day, I was meeting my parents for lunch in Rhyd Ddu at 1pm that afternoon so I knew I needed to start quite early. The ridge was a little disappointing, even if the scrambling sections were taken direct it was quite boring and uninspiring. I got through the main hills quickly and soon I was at the end of the ridge, good time was made and it was only 9am so I decided to take a leisurely stroll back along the length of the ridge, knowing that I’d waiting for my folks. The sun was already hot in the sky and I was walking, once again, in just a baselayer. The ridge was no more inspiring on the return leg, though it was apparent that it had been a long day with lots of ascent. I made swift time over the six summits and was soon descending towards Rhyd Ddu car park. I settled in under a tree in the car park on the grass and relaxed whilst I waited.

My parents arrived soon after 1pm, we exchanged small talk and remarked that the ridge was disappointing- nowhere near as good as the Snowdon Horseshoe. We decided that we’d take a short walk around the lake and through the forest before heading to the pub for lunch, it was a nice little bimble- all that mum really enjoyed doing these days, she wasn’t any longer a keen hillwalker.

A nice lunch and some real ales topped off what had been a nice weekend; quite a change of pace to the Alpine mountaineering the week before, but nice nevertheless.