Flashback Walks: Tryfan 15/11/2014

I woke up pretty unsure of myself on this particular Saturday morning, as this would be my first time climbing with my University’s Mountain Walking society. Beforehand any mountain walking I had done had been either on my own or with my dad, so the idea of myself among a group of strangers on a mountainside rather unnerved me. While getting out of bed and dressed my mind was filled with constant questions and worries, who would be there, would there be anyone I knew, how experienced would these people be, would I find myself left behind, would I drag down the team and keep people waiting? Plus just yesterday I had been walking up Foel Fras so my legs were certainly feeling a little tender. However one thing I could always rely on being perfect was the mountains themselves, I’d checked the weather and blue skies were predicted all day and a look out my window appeared to confirmed this. Our destination for today was the Nantlle Ridge, one of the British Isles’s most superb ridge walks, and I was at least looking forward to getting out there and taking some nice photos of a new area of Snowdonia. I reached our meeting point and hesitantly introduced myself to some of the societies leaders, very soon a group of about twenty people had assemble and we all scrambled onto the bus. However whilst on the bus, I received some problematic news, it turned out that due to the good weather our leaders had decided to instead take us to climb one of Snowdonia’s most famous peaks, Tryfan.

Now you may be asking yourself, why is that a problem? You see, unlike the Nanttle Ridge, I had already climbed Tryfan. This meant it would be the first time I’d ever re-climbed a mountain and I had been looking forward to conquering an entirely new summit. Secondly Tryfan was actually the first mountain I ever climbed, back in 2005, it was a walk that started my love of mountains and as a result I wanted Tryfan to remain a special place to me; a walk for special occasions with special people. I certainly wasn’t excited about the idea of going up Tryfan with a bunch of strangers, and the new scenery I was hoping for was now now going to be replaced with familiar territory .

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Morning cloud burns away over Snowdonia

However the bus was already moving and I couldn’t turn back now, so I persevered. We arrived at the Ogwen Valley and quickly began our walk up to Tryfan, thankfully the direction we headed in was a different route to the one I had originally ascended (The North Face route which I highly recommend to anyone thinking of conquering Tryfan). Instead we headed for the South Face route, which involved following a path up from the Ogwen Cafe to Llyn Bochwyd. This path is particularly well laid out and easy to follow, although it does become considerably steeper just before you reach Llyn Bochwyd. From the lakeside we headed on-wards to the col situated between Tryfan and Bristly Ridge. Despite my fears from that morning I found myself keeping a good pace with the rest of the group, the advantage of having a camera meant I could stop regularly and catch my breath while taking photos so as not to look too exhausted (show no weakness). The group I was walking with varied from harden rock climbers too people who had never done any sort of mountain walking before and thankfully I soon found myself chatting to some students I recognized from my history classes. By the time we reached the col it wasn’t even midday and I was amazed by how far we’d come in such a short amount of time.

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Our view from the col above Llyn Bochlwyd

The next stage though was where things became tougher, walking from the col onto Tryfan, the path changed from clear gravel to a rocky scramble and in places you have no choice but to use your hands and knees. Walking among a group of twenty students meant the pace was slow going and on top of this the rocks were still very slippery from yesterday’s rain showers. Nevertheless we reached the summit of Tryfan at precisely one o’clock. I had my lunch at the foot of Adam and Eve, the two single standing rocks that crown Tryfan’s peak and although today wasn’t my day to try the fatefully leap between the two stone sentinels, plenty of others tried and I enjoyed watching their attempts.

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Adam and Eve
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Umm…not sure that’s how your suppose to do
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Yeah, that’s definitely not how you do it

All to soon we had to begin our scramble back down, during which I lost my footing and slammed my shoulder into the rock face (show no weakness). Undeterred we were all soon back down at the col, here things took a different turn and our group spit off into two, with one group of hardy adventurers effectively jogging their way up the side of Bristly Ridge to Glyder Fawr. Though tempted, I ultimate decided to stay with the other group, in my humble opinion mountains aren’t suppose to be raced up, the experience has to be savoured.

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The Ogwen Valley from above

Our group instead crossed over a style and headed off towards Capel Curig where the bus would pick us up. Unfortunately this did mean we all had to scramble our way along a very eroded and ill defined path cut into the mountainside, which combined with a steep gradient and a slippery surface made for a very uncomfortable half an hour’s walking.  Eventually though we arrived next to Llyn Caseg-fraith and from there we marched down the grassy ridge towards the summit of Y Foel Goch (not to be confused with the much bigger Foel Goch). From this side of the Glyders, we had quite a spectacular view of Tryfan in the light of setting sun.

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Tryfan’s dragon-back

After this I can’t really describe the walk in much detail as the sun quickly set and we ended up walking in the dark, head torches burning bright. We descended from Y Foel Goch, down onto a lower ridge, from which we descended further into Capel Curig. As a result of the lack of light and the muddy surface there was much slipping and sliding among my fellow students, I myself only manged to remain upright because of my sturdy walking sticks. So bruised and battered we all finally piled onto the bus.

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No, we’re not lost….I swear
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Our little convey marches down

Weary from two days of walking I was quickly lulled to sleep by the gently vibration of the bus, however I did note that today had not gone as I had feared it might, I was still a little miffed we hadn’t gone to the Nanttle Ridge (sigh, one day) but I’d certainly found walking in the company of others rather pleasant, surprisingly, and the scenery had been as beautiful as I had remembered and with Y Foel Goch I’d manged to knock another summit off my list.

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Sunset over the Glyders

On the whole it had been a good, long, tiring day and on Sunday I barely left my bed

Thus concludes my tale , sorry it was a wee bit longer than usual, if you have stories you wish to share or have any advice about the blog in general feel free to leave a note in the comments and thanks for reading.

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This walk has been shared with Jo’s Monday Walks, a page for walkers of every caliber to share their adventures, so if you want to check out some other walking bloggers click on the link.

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