24 January 2016

Into the snow

The previous weekend I had only admired the snow from a distance. But it was still there, and the message had come home I probably only have another year to enjoy the amazing beauty of Snowdonia. I decided to forget about work and just head into the mountains this weekend! I had a look at the map; I wanted to start somewhere that would get me into the snow fairly quickly, but not in dangerous terrain, and not too far away. I settled on the Snowdon Ranger path that leads to the top of Snowdon (duh) from the northwest. I had no intention at all of actually getting to Snowdon, but I thought I might just have some snow fun on the nearest ridge. I'd play it by ear!

I got up early-ish and got ready. I got into the car and set off. When I was already on the road to Caernarfon I realised I had forgot my ice axe. Oh dear! Don't underestimate Snowdonia in winter. But I didn't turn around to get it. I had crampons; that would have to do.

I parked at the designated space, kitted up, and off I was. The path started green, but soon a dusting of snow appeared, and the path got icy and slippery. It was higher up the mountain than I thought! So I kept going, beyond the first ridge. When I got to a pass I made sure to have a look into the valley on the other side. It was very beautiful! I had a look on the map; would I go on? But the path onward still looked perfectly safe and I was enjoying myself, so I kept going. The snow was getting deeper!

Starting out in the green

Soon the landscape turns brown with white

 Brown with white turns to white with brown

The next time the path got to the ridge I had another look. I also had a chat with two chaps with whom I had been leap-frogging all the way. They turned out to be scousers (plastic or otherwise) and they didn't have a map. They took a picture of mine, and on we all went. But quite soon I had my head in the clouds. I was here for the views, so that was my cue for turning around. I got to something like 670m. It had also started snowing! I scampered down again.

 Selfie with decorative valley

 It must have been windy here in the previous days

This is what the path onward looked like; not characterized by great views! I turned back. 

 Proper snow.

More snow falling

Down was quick. I didn't even have to slow down where it had been very slippery on the way up, as the few hours of thaw had sorted most of the ice out. I was back at the car at ~12:15. Time left for chores! A day with fun and usefulness. My kind of day!

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