Hi it’s Vicky again. Snowdonia was such an epic place to be: the scenery was spectacular and the climbs were all so unique and amazing – it’s always such a great sense of achievement when you reach the summit. Whilst planning our trip to Snowdonia, we came across an article in a climbing magazine all about climbing not one, not two, but four peaks in Snowdonia in a day. It seemed pretty difficult, but we were well up for the challenge. These were Tryfan, Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr and Y Garn- all part of the Glyderau range. This 8 mile route is graded at a hard level but we just couldn’t resist a good scramble and apparently the views from the top were just wonderful.
So we headed in the car and parked along the A5 layby just before reaching Llyn Ogwen, a lake below the Glyderau range. The north face of Tryfan ahead looked pretty dramatic with its rugged crags and pointed peak, but we were super excited and couldn’t wait. After walking over the stile and up the grassy bank to the foot of the North Ridge, we decided to just work out our own route up the 3002 feet to the summit. This made it very exciting, not knowing what challenges we may face.
What I loved about this climb is that you have to use your hands, ALOT! A brilliant scramble as it was very steep too. On the way up there were many gullies, so we had to be careful to really navigate our way up to the summit. What made this mountain so exciting was the fact that there were many different gradients to climb all the way up. It wasn’t technically challenging, however I imagine that during wet weather the rocks could become slippery, so do be careful if you attempt this during wet, icy and windy conditions. We were very lucky that the weather held out for us, the forecast predicted rain all day, but thankfully it remained dry. Halfway up , we even saw a group of jet planes flying through the valley below us which was so cool – I’ll never forget that!
Mike here, just popping in to tell you about the trousers I was wearing during the day. I had on these new Helikon Outdoor Tactical trousers from Military 1st. The great thing about these trousers is the cut. They have an ergonomic and articulated design which means they have been crafted to be moved in. They were great for scrambling up a mountain as I had full movement and could stretch and move without being constricted. The knees are actually pleated which is great for walking or climbing as you get lots of flex.
They were so comfortable to wear as they have an elasticated waist but also have a velcro adjustable strap so you can have them exactly as tight or loose as you want them. As they are designed for military use, they have an array of pockets but these have been handled in a really smart way. Unlike old fashioned cargo style pants, the pockets on these Helikon trousers are located in anatomically designed positions. You can easily get to your pockets but they don’t get in your way or bounce about and cause annoyance.
The fabric they are made from is stunning. It managed to keep me warm when we were in ice, snow and harsh wind with not even a thermal layer underneath, whilst on the same days keeping me cool while powering on through up hill sections of the trek in sunshine. Although they’re not waterproof, they are super quick wicking and dry very, very fast. The fabric is also breathable so it’s great for pursuits where you are going to be exerting yourself, they’d be perfect for activities such as cycling, climbing and fishing. If you’re after some trousers for use in the outdoors, I’d strongly recommend you get these!
It’s Vicky again – anywho back to the mountain… Tryfan is a really interesting climb (much, much better than Snowdon!), not only because it looks like what you imagine a mountain looking like, but when you reach the first plateau, you think “oh that’s the summit”…. Nope it’s not. I swear there are like 3 different “false summits” before you actually reach the top. Apparently there is something called the “Cannon Stone” halfway up. This is a large splintered rock that sticks out at a 45 degree angle. We sadly didn’t see this as we just forgot to look for it when we reached the plateau covered in lots of Cairns, but we will definitely make an effort to have a picture there the next time we climb this awesome mountain. From this area we headed up the North Ridge. It got a bit trickier when we were going along the traversing gullies, but scrambling over the boulders was super fun.
We eventually reached the summit and it was so spectacular up there. The views were amazing and it was a great feeling being at such a height after the climb. We were looking out for the huge stone monoliths of Adam and Eve we had read about. You couldn’t miss them. They stand at about 4 feet apart and are several feet in height. The idea is you stand on the top of one and take the “Leap of Faith” (more of a large step) across on to the other one.
In the photos we had seen previously, it didn’t look too difficult. However, once you manage to climb up on to one, it was actually not as easy- I think if they were on the ground, it would have been fine. The sheer drop on one side and being so exposed, put us both off, so instead we sat on the top on one for this snap and didn’t risk causing a mountain rescue operation!
After making the most of the picture opportunities and having a mini picnic of some yummy snacks, we decended down the boulders heading south west, skirting the Far South Peak, down to reach the Bwlch Tryfan. This is the col between Tryfan and Glyder Fach, our next port of call.
We followed the obvious path along and up towards the wall and climbed the stile. We worked out the best way to reach the summit of Glyder Fach was to scramble up the scree on Bristly Ridge. This was brilliant and the views looking back over Tryfan were amazing. The last part of this scramble was probably the trickiest, some sheer drops on both sides, but so exciting. When we finally reached the top, the snow was so thick and the temperature had definitely dropped.
We were very glad to have each bought a Quechua Hiking Merino Wool Base Layer tops. They were a godsend. Both base layers are absolutely brilliant for this type of climate, as the cold air is caught between the fibres of the tops and basically keeps you insulated. Temperatures dropped to around zero above 800 feet, but having these tops on definitely helped us keep nice and warm. Because both tops have natural air conditioning, we can even wear them in the summer as the moisture on the body is absorbed into the material, then evaporates quickly, so you always feel cool and fresh when you need to be.
Neither the men’s or woman’s are bulky at all, so we were able to wear mid-layers over them, with no issues at all. Even though it’s a base layer, neither top looks like one- I think they look fab on their own. We both agree that they are very comfy to wear- the material is super soft and although it’s made from merino wool fibres, it doesn’t feel at all scratchy. Apparently it’s 3 times as fine as hair, which explains why they really are soft to touch and wear.
After scrambling and trekking for many hours at this point, you can imagine how hot and sweaty we got. Luckily, both base layers have some awesome technology which helps limit odours. It meant neither of us needed to worry about being pongy after being out on a hike for the whole day. Overall, we both love our new base layers- warmth and breathability is the perfect combo for this type of clothing!
So back to the climb. We headed along the Glyder Fach summit to the popular Cantilever Stone, a flat rock that looks like it’s precariously balanced. However, we both climbed up and it was fine and proved to be an awesome photo opportunity. I obviously had to pose on the top too. We decided that although the weather conditions were cold and snowy, it was perfect for a spot of lunch and a cuppa. Sadly, the views were obstructed by all of the mist, but the Cantilever Stone was just so fantastic as a backdrop, we didn’t mind that for our view at all.
I was so glad I was wearing my new Salomon Ellipse Ladies hiking boots from Outdoor Look. They are a mid-height, leather pair of the most amazing walking footwear. I’m not joking, they are the best pair of hiking boots I’ve ever owned. For starters they look great on and because they are lined with a GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear membrane, my feet didn’t hurt once over the many hours we trekked in Snowdonia. I hadn’t really worn them in as much as I should have, so I was very worried that they may cause pain and discomfort during my hikes and scrambles. I was totally surprised that I didn’t even get one blister over the whole four days and nothing rubbed at all.
I have slightly weaker ankles but I was very impressed with the ankle support I received, especially whilst doing all of the scrambling we did. They are mid-height so protected my ankles really well. Climbing up Tryfan and the Glyders could have been a challenge, had I not had such good footwear. As well as being so comfortable to wear, the grip on the bottom was fab. It’s called Contagrip and is great. I was worried at some points as the incline was pretty steep and some parts were little snowy and icy, however, I had every trust in the boots to keep me secure, with good grip on every rock.
After a 20 minute break we carried on our trek through the snow and protruding rocks, heading to Glyder Fawr. On the way along the mountain ridge we reached the unmissable Castell Y Gwant (Castle of the Wind). This very dramatic looking tower that stands between Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr gave us another opportunity to do some scrambling. There were some airy moves at the very top, but it wasn’t too challenging and I imagine the views from there on a clear day would be amazing. However, on this occasion there was no view except the Castell, which looked really creepy-a dark shape looming through the mist- but was a fantastic scramble.
We made our way over to the Glyder Fawr summit, following the cairns all the time. Every now and again, the mist cleared and the views down in the valley below were superb. We are dying to go back during the summer, when the weather will hopefully be much better. We descended Glyder Fawr towards the lake, “Llyn Y Cwn”. This was a very, very steep scramble down a scree mountainside. It was so much fun, almost like skiing. You kind of had to walk diagonally down in one direction and then in the other. Eventually we reached Llyn Y Cwn , ready to ascend up to the final summit-Y Garn! There was an obvious, straightforward footpath leading up the peak which we ascended. Our legs at this point were starting to burn, but we knew there wasn’t far to go before we had achieved what we had set out to do.
We continued our hike until we reached the summit-again the views were obstructed by the mist, so we followed the cairns down the other side. Missing the path down to Llyn Ogwen at first, due to it being fully covered in snow. We found it eventually- Phew. Wouldn’t want it get lost in those conditions. As we descended and came back down out of the mist and cloud, we discussed our amazing adventure….what a day it had been, such an experience. The views on our way down were amazing and we could see the full Glyderau range we had just climbed. It was just an amazing day and one we would love to repeat.