At the weekend we were blessed with some sunny weather, so with the mountains beckoning I headed over to Snowdonia for a hike up to Carnedd Llewelyn. There had been quite a bit of snow previously and I was hoping that there would still be some left. From the valley I could see small patches of snow but most of it had thawed. Ever hopeful I left my crampons in my rucksack just in case.
The Climb to Pen yr Ole Wen
Setting off from Llyn Ogwen I took the path up to Pen yr Ole Wen. There is no gentle introduction to warm up here. Straight away you start to climb and gain height quickly. Before long the path gives way to a gentle scree and rocky outcrops which required me to use my hands from time to time. It was hard going but I was rewarded with great views of Tryfan, Gldyer Fach and Snowdon. Down in the valley it was quite cold, although I soon warmed up in the sun on the steep slopes.
The path splits off in various directions each making its way towards the summit. At a couple of places I looked back making a note of the way I’d come in preparation for the return journey back down.
Upon reaching the summit of Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd could be seen with patches of snow making intricate patterns on its slopes. The ridge linking the two summits had snow along its eastern edge. There was a section with footprints from where someone had descended and walked along before climbing back up to the ridge. After leaving the summit of Pen yr Ole Wen I was greeted by a bitterly cold, strong wind as I crossed the ridge. A large rocky outcrop provided a welcome, albeit temporary, relief.
Lost on Carnedd Dafydd
Looking back from Carnedd Dafydd’s summit I could see a clear view of Glyder Fawr, with the summit of Snowdon peaking up behind. There was still quite a lot of snow on Snowdon’s summit. Ahead of me was the ridge leading up to my destination: Carnedd Llewelyn. With curving ridges from opposite sides of Carnedd Dafydd, the walk from Pen yr Ole Wen to Carnedd LLewelyn takes on an S-shape when viewed from above.
It was at this point that I discovered my map was missing, along with my emergency whistle and compass that were also in the map case. I suspected that they were along way back, near the bottom of Pen yr Ole Wen. Despite the convenience of keeping my compass and whistle in my map case, I realised that it was not so sensible now that I had lost all three of these important items.
Visibility was good with no rain forecast, so I didn’t really need the map for the rest of the walk and I had GPS on my phone as a back up. Following my descent of Glyder Fach by the wrong route, I had made an effort to memorise the terrain so that hopefully I would avoid navigational errors today.
Not Enough Snow on Carnedd Llewelyn
There were great views of Snowdonia and across to Angelsea from the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn, until a cloud blew over. Fortunately it passed over quickly. There was also quite a bit of solid snow and some patches of ice on the ridge and slopes of Carnedd Llewelyn, but not enough to warrant using the crampons. I’d brought them with me for nothing. Nevertheless, I enjoyed walking across the snow. Someone else had made the most of the snow, building a small snowman about 1 foot high!
Having activated the ViewRanger app on my phone at the start of my hike, there had not been much chance for Social Hiking since there was no 3G coverage. Following our review of ShareYourAdventure.com, I had learnt how to save tracking points whilst offline. Halfway through my hike I discovered that my phone had automatically uploaded my BuddyBeacon waypoints during moments of fleeting 3G coverage. This was my first attempt at sharing my hike Live, so I was pleased to read that @SocialHiking was following me from the office.
@cheaptents looks like a fantastic day – following you from the office!
— Social Hiking (@SocialHiking) February 17, 2013
The Descent to LLyn Ogwen
The descent down from Pen yr Ole Wen was enjoyable since visibility was good and I had time to take it at a relaxed pace. Having successfully remembered locations where I had made route choices on the way up, I was able to go back down the same route. Nearly. At one point I found myself scrambling down some rocks that I hadn’t climbed up, but there were plenty of hand and footholds so it wasn’t difficult. Had the weather conditions been less favourable I would have found the descent a little unnerving. Luckily for me the weather was fine and I had a great day out on the mountains.
More photos can be seen on Flickr: Carnedd LLewelyn