17 April 2016


I've lived in North Wales for two years and I had not climbed Tryfan yet. The time often isn't right; in order to do it safely, it has to be reasonably good weather. In order to do it justice, the top has to be out of the clouds. It probably has to be a weekend otherwise I'm working (although I have been known to make exceptions), but if it is good weather on a weekend, EVERYBODY wants to climb Tryfan, so then you have to get up early to be able to park near the base.

It had been a long week, and I had spent the previous weekend working on my PGCertHE. I wanted some fresh air and some nature to recover from that! And then, on Friday, I saw the weather forecast. It was going to be spiffing! I figured this may be the time. I sent an email around to the other climbers to see if anyone wanted to join, but nobody was available. Well, on my own is fine too! I did do the honourable thing: I told someone where I would be going and what time one should start worrying about me. Tryfan kills people!

The next morning I got up at 6:30. I stepped out of the house and saw the mountains in a fresh cover of snow. I knew some snow showers had been forecast, but this was a full cover! Oh well. I decided to pack crampons and my ice axe, and just see hoe it would go. If it looked dangerous I could just turn around and hike elsewhere.

I parked at 8AM and set off. There were a few more people! Good, as I didn't know the route, and figured it may be extra difficult to find with all that fresh snow on top. In the beginning the path was evident, but at the nearest steep bit it became more ambiguous. I bumped into some blokes who were even more uncertain that I was. But we found the way on. It reminded me of Store BlÄmann; another very iconic mountain I left rather late, and which requires some scrambling. Not a bad association at all!

A sunny start! View from the north slope to where I parked

 Happy selfie

At some point I overtook the blokes and got to a big flat. I saw no footsteps. I wasn't sure if I saw a path. Some bloke I had seen lower down on the slopes was a bit less hesitant and legged it up. He seemed to take an alright route so I followed. Later something similar would happen; I wasn't quite sure where to go, but I heard voices; I took a chance and headed for them. Success; the owners of the voices were clearly on an established route! I followed. It got rather clambery here, and things were made more tricky by the snow. Sometimes you couldn't see where you put your feet of where the handholds were, but it was OK. At some point the bloke before me struggled and decided to try another route. At that point, some other climber appeared too. He scampered up where the other hadn't managed, and he pointed out some handholds to me, so I did too. We teamed up for a bit; he was a chap called Robert, from St Albans. That's almost London! I am priviliged to be able to do this a few miles from my house.

The looming hulk of higher Tryfan

Funny quartz nodules

 View into Ogwen Valley

We clambered on. Soon we saw the top! The most difficult bit was clearly over. And it wasn't very sunny, and it was windy, but the clouds were high overhead and the views were unimpeded. A good day! At 10:30 we got to the actual summit where three blokes were taking pictures of each other. They also took ne of me! Nice of them. The summit has two big rocks on it, and tradition has it you have to jump from one to the other, but I figured that was a non-snow tradition. I think I was correct; I saw nobody attempt this today!

Things get more vertical higher up

The summit! With a seagull on Adam or Eve (the two iconic rocks at the top)

View north from the summit: gloom!

 Me on the summit

I had a coffee with Robert, and then decided to walk a bit around, to get the view from all sides. Then I set off. Down tends to be trickier so I got my axe out for stability. I would go down via a detour, along a lake west of Tryfan. The route was smoother and thus easier than the way up. Good! I made good progress.

Shortly after I started the descent the sun came out again

At the lakeside I had some lunch. It was a bit weird; there was snow all around and fresh hail was falling. This was mid April at less than 600 meters! Oh well. I moved on. When I got to the break in the slope the weather got better, so when I reached its bottom and saw some grassy bits in the sun next to a nice waterfall I had lunch part II. It was so nice!

 My lunch lake
Waterfall on the way down

The weather got so nice I ended up relaxing a bit!

I then did the last stretch. It was sunny and pleasant! And still early. I got back to the car just after 1PM. A successful day!

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