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Easter Snowdonia Trip, 25-30 March 2011

There could hardly have been a bigger contrast between this year's Easter trip to Cwm Dyli, right at the foot of Snowdon, and the same trip last year - far from wind, cold and rain, we were treated to glorious sunshine and T-shirt-and-shorts temperatures, and heat haze was more of a problem for us than mist. It was hardly the weather for sitting about in the bunkhouse (barring the final day), and between us we managed the Snowdon Horseshoe (three times), the full range of the Glyders (three times), the Nantlle Ridge (twice), a waterfall walk, Moel Hebog, the Moel Eilio group (twice), Moel Hebog, Carnedd y Cribau, Moel Siabod, a Tryfan circuit, Cnicht and the Moelwyns, a dawn ascent of Snowdon, three scrambles of varying degrees of epicness (epicity?), and one rather impromptu walk to Llyn Llydaw and back at 11pm...

...and there were more moments that made this trip what it was. Eleven of us spelling out "CUHWC" on top of the Cantilever... Scarborough Fair echoing on a harp... that midnight visit to a Bangor kebab shop... a lot of Bananagrams... the track outside the bunkhouse playing havoc with big and small cars alike... mountain swims... headtorches lighting up the south face of Lliwedd as the night darkened... banoffee pie... that crazy game where Kirsty got mistaken for a Scottish dog and a harmless grid reference somehow turned into Snowdon being bombed... and the night's dark blue lighting up with the golden fires of dawn as Chris and Simon stood alone on Snowdon's frosty summit to watch the sun rise.

Participants

Bandrena All, Hecky Boward, Gethan Budgeon, Charol Ceng, Wis Chrade, Mave Dackenzie, Pavid Dettit, Houg Dull, Knoliver Evitt, Jillian Games, Cheg Gradwick, Lannah Hewis, Phelen Hillips, Wandrew Illiamson, Pane Jatrick, Leremy Jeong, Woe Jilliams, Hoe Jobbs, Birsty Krown, Marissa Loore, Jark Mackson, Gratthew Maham, Fichael Mordham, Dmohammad Mour, Caul Pook, Bimon Sateman, Wimon Silliams, Om Tashton, Wrom Tight, Toe Zolkien.

Walk Reports

Saturday - Y Lliwedd Scramble, Take I (MF)

Michael, Tom

It was on reading Steve Ashton's "Scrambles in Snowdonia" - it must have been in 2004 - that I decided, one day, to climb y Lliwedd by Bilberry Terrace. In the intervening years I have climbed Snowdon with y Lliwedd many times, but never had the confidence, skill or equipment to take on the route. A few weeks ago, Tom Wright and I completed a snow and ice climbing course in Scotland where we practised leading routes and, on signing up for the Easter Snowdonia trip, I decided to give Bilberry Terrace a go.

Tom and I prepared well. We went and ordered enough kit - rope, nuts, slings, hexes, karabiners - and prayed for good weather. Our prayers were answered. We set off in near-perfect conditions. Although the mist later set in, the day remained dry and calm. We had some difficulty finding the start of the route, including a false start, but eventually we found the line and climbed up to Bilberry Terrace. The terrace itself was an excellent, airy traverse. One or two tricky pitches provided some climbing interest. At the end of the Terrace the route-finding became more complex, and we didn't follow the guidebook line completely. The final pitch was excellent and we emerged onto a sunny ridge a few metres below the summit. We returned to the hut via y Lliwedd's east ridge. Our route today confirmed y Lliwedd as my second favourite Welsh mountain (after Tryfan) and I look forward to trying more routes on its north face.

Sunday - Snowdon Horseshoe (RH)

Becky, Joe W, Bethan, Simon, Kirsty, Jane, Greg (alias Geoff), Dave, Jeremy, Matt

Points to note/remember about the day

  • The two peaks of Y Lliwedd are both taller than each other
  • Jeremy should have worn a helmet when scrambling below Kirsty
  • The pipe is big and green and quite fun to come down
  • Matthew and Jane finally completed the horseshoe (3rd time, 2nd time lucky respectively)
  • The two big groups just behind us before the Crib Goch turn-off all took the wrong turning to Snowdon
  • Joe W and Bethan got told off for talking about falling about off Crib Goch
  • Llyn Llydaw, when viewed from Y Lliwedd, looks like England with no Kent

Monday - Y Lliwedd Scramble, Take II (AB)

Rope 1; Bethan, Kirsty, Doug. Rope 2; Joe H, Andrena, Dave

To be served late at night with whisky and black tea.

Ingredients;

  • two ropes
  • six harnesses
  • insufficient slings
  • rather too many nuts and hexes
  • a bag of jelly babies and a large malt-loaf
  • about 300m of heather-coated rock face
  • six excited hillwalkers with unrealistic expectations.

Time; 10 hours, with 2 hours' preparation and 2 hours' tidying up.

Method;

  • Take the hillwalkers, march them up to the base of the rock face (at the double), and insert them into their harnesses. Set aside for a half hour photo-and-faff break.
  • Combine the slings, nuts and hexes with the harnessed hillwalkers. Add the ropes. Stir gently so as to prevent tangles.
  • Divide in two. Carefully apply the first half to the rock face, ensuring that the hillwalkers are not too close to the heather, since they do not mix well.
  • Continue spreading the hillwalkers over the rock face keeping the two halves a little apart. After about 5 hours, add the malt-loaf, and continue as before.
  • Despite the insufficiency of slings, attempt to smoothly and consistently transfer them from the lower to the higher hillwalkers. This may prove difficult when they are too tightly compressed, or in too much heather.
  • After about 9 1/2 hours, as darkness falls, inject a slight feeling of panic and some head torches.
  • When you run out of rock face, remove ropes, and stuff the hillwalkers with jelly babies. This will speed up the descent.

Tuesday - Nantlle Ridge (Short) (KB)

Joe H, Dave M, Andrena, Kirsty

Leaving the bunkhouse (reluctantly) at 11:30am, we drove to Rhyd Ddu. Having established that the pay and display machine had been (very neatly) vandalised, we set off towards the ridge. The short stretch of bog made some of us regret having decided to wear trainers / boots with so many holes that socks were visible through them. Joe and Dave set off up the hill at quite a pace, with Andrena and Kirsty (just!) behind. Overtaking another group, we were pleased to discover that they were from Oxford. On hearing that we were from Cambridge, they rapidly made excuses for their slower pace, along the lines of "Let's wait for the others - they must be a long way behind and it'd be unfair to get TOO far ahead..." and "Yes, there's no point at all in rushing; after all, that wouldn't be making the most of the day and the views..."

Meanwhile, Joe and Dave increased their pace yet further and we were all at the top within 45 minutes. After a short phone faff (during which we discovered the somewhat disappointing results of the Boat Race... at least Varsity hillwalking would seem to go in our favour at the moment), we continued along the ridge. We spent a fair amount of time playing on some rocks (with the Oxford walkers still small specks in the distance), before running down a grassy section of the ridge and stopping for a spot of lunch. Following lunch, we carried on up to the obelisk (which both Joe and Andrena climbed). At this point, it started spitting with rain and I tentatively suggested that it might be a good idea to turn round if it came on to pour. Everyone else responded surprisingly enthusiastically and we started back immediately (despite the fact that the rain had failed to materialise...)

On the descent, a 'strange man' seemed unnervingly pleased to see me - entertaining the rest of the group. We cut off the ridge early and managed to find our way along some forestry tracks (distinctly absent from our BMC maps - unfortunately nobody had thought to bring an OS...) Having consumed a large proportion of a chocolate cake AND a malt loaf whilst sitting on a stone which read "Death by Yeti", Joe became even more energetic than normal (!) and we got back to the car in next to no time, with only a few short lamb faffs...

Altogether a good day was had by everyone and we were pleased to return for an epic cooking session (chilli, cake and a banoffee pie...)

The whole trip - (Excessive) bagging (of [pointless] hills) (AW)

Andrew and various companions (chiefly Mark)

Successfully arriving by train, we caught the bus to the bunkhouse via Bethesda, arriving by about 6pm. Hours were spent reading and generally being bored while we waited for those driving from Cambridge to arrive. The fire was also successfully lit, thanks to detailed instructions left by the meticulous female bunkhouse owners - what else does one expect?

Saturday saw me climb the Nuttalls (all twelve of them) surrounding Cwm Croesor with the three other Nuttall baggers in the club. The day was filled with (an excessive amount of) talk of Munros, Corbetts, Marilyns etc. We were the first group to return to the bunkhouse, but were soon followed by others.

Sunday saw an ascent of the Nantlle Ridge from Rhyd Ddu with a lower percentage of baggers on the walk. Unfortunately, the last Nuttall on the ridge was un-Nuttall-able, down to time restrictions (DP's fault), and we therefore would need to climb the ridge again. This reduces my efficiency ratio of Nuttall bagging.

Monday involved even more Nuttall bagging, this time taking in all of those along the Glyders ridge with Paul, Larissa and my seemingly-inseparable companion Mark. There was awesome weather again, and this walk was one of the best I had done, even involving a swim (for some), some scrambling, several Glyder kilometres (a near standard measure) and much sarcasm. According to some estimates, the walk was an epic; however, one could question such a contention. An interesting evening involving Mountain Rescue, a run up the Miners' Track and a kebab shop was then had. We had dinner at just after midnight and then slept for about three hours before the final day's walking (for me).

Carol and Helen joined me and Mark for a northern Snowdon horseshoe, which involved an unnecessary amount of faffing - animal faff (horses, sheep, cows, piglets and even seagulls were all involved), photo faff, summit faff and perhaps surprisingly, swing faff in Llanberis. Finishing on Llechog (our 34th Nuttall of the trip), we then descended the ridge to the south of the Llanberis pass. The evening was particularly entertaining, involving several highly amusing games.

We woke early on the final day to find driving rain, so Bethan and I were able to make use of Paul and his car to get a lift to Betws-y-Coed for our train. All in all, a truly fantastic trip, with better-than-expected weather.

Notable quotes

  • Becky: (talking about a photo): "This one's quite good because you can't see anything."
  • Paul: "Dave, your shorts aren't helping - take them off"

Photos

From 14-17. CUHWC Cwm Dyli Vacation TripFrom 14-17. CUHWC Cwm Dyli Vacation TripFrom 14-17. CUHWC Cwm Dyli Vacation Trip

Comments

Can we have more spoonerised trip lists please? (I'm sure they shouldn't be quite this funny...)