Friday evening and 7 of us set off on the long journey from Great Missenden to North Wales; as we crammed ourselves into the two vehicles and we went off in opposite directions almost instantly. We reunited at our campsite; a farm situated in the Ogwen valley and at the foot of Tryffan out target for the following day; we pitched our tents on the snow covered ground and went straight to bed.
Rising early Saturday morning after a night that had been as cold as -5oc and with a slight dusting of fresh snow; we cooked our breakfast of bacon sarnies and awaited the arrival of the 3 networkers from MK who were driving down that morning. They arrived by 9:30 and we set off on our trek up the mountain; for those that don’t know Tryffan, it is probably the most interesting of the welsh peaks to ascend with the North ridge a popular route to take and the one we intended to use; there is no clear path as you pick your way through the rocky outcrops on what is a genuine scramble. This was made even more challenging for us due to the large amounts of snow and ice; Pete had been kind enough to bring some ice axes with him and these had been shared out to who wanted them. Even so there was still areas that proved challenging although on ascent we only required a rope at one particularly slippy spot; and as the group contained some experiencing scrambling for the first time this was very good going. As we passed more groups of people we were informed that the final climb to the summit was just to icy and would be nearly impossible eventually as we drew nearer an acceptance was reached that it wasn’t worth risking and upon reaching bout ¾ of the way up the decision was made to call it a day and head back down; although not before a snowball fight as we enjoyed the unusual sight of glorious sunshine atop a welsh hill. The descent proved more challenging as tiredness and inexperience kicked in and although a rope was required in several tricky spots it was only really Pete that experienced a fall; forgetting he’d dispensed with the crampons he went over on a fairly flat section.
Once safely back on the ground we changed into cleaner clothes and reconvened to head out to the pub for it was far too cold to hang around the campsite for any length of time; but we were made to wait as Pete had disappeared off into his tent with his laptop to emerge after half an hour of us waiting exclaiming that he just needed to change his trousers. After enjoying dinner and a few drinks down the pub it was clear that the lack of sleep and a good days walking had left everyone rather tired and it would be for the best to head back to the campsite and go off to sleep; and so we were all tucked up in our tents by just after 9 o’clock.
Sunday morning and I woke up with the roof of my tent far closer to my face than it was when I had gone to sleep; a cursory glance outside made it clear there had been another 4 inches of snow that night and what had been a collection of brightly coloured tents last night were now just little white mounds disappeared underneath the snow. The morning was filled with more playing in the snow and clearing out the site; Austen and Emma then went off to a nearby climbing wall and the rest of us went for a short walk around Cwm Idwal before heading off back home.
All in all a great weekend; I’d just like to thank Andy because although the trip was my idea he did most of the legwork in organising it; and Pete who kindly joined us bringing with him several items of gear and meaning I did not have to lead the walks.
Also as a little note if heading out camping in the snow and temperatures below freezing don’t make the mistake I did of leaving a therma-rest at home; cold ground and a not especially thick sleeping bag led to two difficult nights.