Scrambling in North Wales

So after an amazing adventure in Egypt we were back in the UK and planned a climbing adventure in Snowdonia for the second week of our holidays. Unfortunately, a trip to Egypt is often followed by what’s politely called an upset tummy (AKA the runs…). So we set off in the van, with the risk of a toilet incident a serious proposition in the coming days.

We planned on climbing, although with everything inside me playing up, I decided that a days scrambling would be a much safer bet. After a bit of a roundabout trip to pen y pass, we decided on a trip up Bristly Ridge. We walked up the valley on the east side of Tryfan, instead of going up two scrambles. I have often passed on Bristly Ridge of climbing Tryfan or doing the north face scramble, just because I’m tired or feeling plain lazy, so this was a good opportunity.

Initially it was follow the route to gain the ridge, however it soon became steeper, with a but of easy climbing. I’m not saying it was the most dangerous climb, but for a grade one scramble it was a bit tougher than others.

Once on the ridge, initial going was straight forward. Although there was a bit of yo yo-ing up and down the ridge to make progress. One buttress is bypassed altogether, with a scramble above a relatively threatening drop off.

Before we knew it we were at the top of the Glyders, having lunch on top of the summit stones, sheltering from the winds. Across the valley we could see the unmistakable Snowdon Horseshoe, which we would tackle the next day.

We made our way down Y Gribin to make up a mini horseshoe of our own. The closer I got to the valley floor, the more I was happy we chose scrambling over climbing. My body had decided I needed a toilet. Unfortunately, this meant extending the walk to Idwal cottage.

We had an uncomfortable night in the van, and again I decided that climbing was not a good idea, as everytime I turned over my stomach sounded like a washing machine. I had an idea of the worst happening half way up a route, which would be dire as there’s no where to go, and your partner at the belay would be dodging soggy missiles. Not a good idea!!

As Jess had never been up Snowdon, I thought it would be a good idea to do this. As I was severely dehydrated, why not up the stakes of the route and complete the Snowdon Horseshoe, something I had done each bit of, but never altogether.

We arrived before 8am, and Pen y Pass car park was full!! Crazy! We parked down the road and got a lift back up. The route itself was pretty easy compared to the day before, with simple navigation of following the polish. The ridge itself was so impressive once we gained the crest.

I did this route years and years ago, it was probably my first scramble, and although I remember it, I was following a friend and just followed their footsteps. This time I really appreciated the ridge, the exposure and most definitely felt this route deserved to be so highly rated.

Some of the others weren’t enjoying it as much as they crawled, inch by inch. Luckily after ten years or so climbing and mountaineering I felt very comfortable… that was until you know what… I needed to go, and go now!!!! I scrambled down the ledge, far enough to be private, but not so far to be unsafe..ish. Jess even creeped around to check I hadn’t dropped off the ledge. Emergency over, it was time to carry on.

Some of the others weren’t enjoying it as much as they crawled, inch by inch. Luckily after ten years or so climbing and mountaineering I felt very comfortable… that was until you know what… I needed to go, and go now!!!! I scrambled down the ledge, far enough to be private, but not so far to be unsafe..ish. Jess even creeped around to check I hadn’t dropped off the ledge. Emergency over, it was time to carry on.

The summit was as busy as expected, people coming from every route need to meet up at one point. I protected my sandwich from a seagull who was eying me up for my lunch, before setting off up and down the ridges of Lliwedd.

I finished with a wade into the Llyn Llydaw, letting the cold water refresh my feet! The visibility was amazing in the water, and I couldn’t help wondering if there was anything of interest in there, especially on the mining side of the lake.

As it turned out, we stayed another night in the van before calling the trip. We were not in the best condition to be running around the mountains, and having the creature comforts of a bathroom close by was enough to call us home. However we had completed a couple of good scrambling routes and for the most part had a good time. Hopefully next time we are there we can get the ropes out and get some climbing in, as we have had a really poor climbing year so far!!

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