Saturday, 17 December 2011

#64.PEN YR HELGI DU.15-12-11.

Returning from Fuerteventura with a great tan after spending 1 week dressed in a vest,short's and sandal's as it averaged 75 degree's i had arranged a walk with Howie the day after i came home.Howie suggestion was to walk Glyder Fawr and Fach from the Pen y Gwryd Hotel,i checked the weather forecast and it was for rain overnight (snow on higher ground) clearing early door's to leave a dry clear morning with a few shower's after 1 o'clock ish,again these clearing to give us a dry afternoon.Howie picked me up at 7.30 a.m. and we were parking in the layby near the hotel at 8.45.All the high ground on the journey was covered in snow and we were excited at the prospect of our first snowy walk.A little less excited about the weather because as we neared Capel Curig it was teeming down with rain and the sky was full of it,but as we turned off the A5 a quick glance over to the Carneddau and it looked brighter and at least we could see the summit's of it's eastern mountain's.We decided to wait and see if the rain would stop,30 minutes later and it was no better so i suggested a visit to Pen Yr Helgi Du via the waterboard road returning via the "Braich" and the leete.So we turned around and set off for the Ogwen Valley and parked at the entrance to the waterboard road.It was a little bit brighter here and the rain not as heavy,we again waited 15 minutes to see if it would stop,it didn't so we got kitted up and set off.Pen Yr Helgi Du is 2,733 feet high and it's summit was playing hide and seek with  us as low cloud kept sweeping across it as we headed up the steep access road.

Not long after passing the leete we hit the snow line.

The rain would stop for a couple of minutes before starting again and it was very cold.As we gained height the wind was strengthening and the rain was turning to sleet as we got our first glimpse of Ffynnon Llugwy Reservoir.

It was cold enough for icicles to be formed and i was a little concerned that the zig-zag path up to Bwlch Eryl Farchog might be dangerous if it was icy,i had to turn back off the zig-zag's a few year's ago as it was too icy.

The snow was about 1 inch deep but soft as we contoured high about the reservoir on the narrow path.We were now at the bottom of the zig-zag's and the wind was whipping up it's rocky face driving the sleet into our faces.Picture quality now is not the best as i got some rain on my camera len's.

Cloud lifting off  Pen Yr Helgi Du.

Progress was slow on the steep ascent due to the snow under foot but we were enjoying ourselves.As we gained height the sleet started to turn to snow now.We eventually reached the col and found some shelter and i took this shot below of Craig yr Ysfa.

We now set off on the short scramble up to the summit of  Pen Yr Helgi Du with the snow getting heavier.

View looking down to the reservoir from the scramble,i couldn't wipe the lens as i was hanging on to a rock.

The summit was eventually reached just as the snow stopped and we took a few photo's before making our way down the Braich before we got too cold.Me at the summit.

The weather on the descent was improving all the time giving us some decent view's.Pen Llithrig y Wrach above Bwlch y Tri Marchog.

Across the valley Gallt y Ogof right and a cloudy Moel Siabod left.

We eventually got below the snow line again and a mile from the summit we reached the wall where we turned right to descend to the leete.

The cloud just wouldn't lift off Tryfan.

This is my eighth visit to Pen Yr Helgi Du,my first ascent being on September 12th 1995,and we would have liked to have taken in Pen Llithrig y Wrach as well but we were short on time as we had to get back home so had to leave it.We had a quick visit to Betws y Coed were i got Julie a few Christmas present's.Today we walked 5.5 mile with 1,900 feet of ascent.

MILEAGE       453.5
ASCENT        110,700
TOPS              107.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, nice description. I tried this today but chickened out on the final scramble since it was appearing and disappearing in cloud even when only 10m away from the col. Was it a good call or is it an easy scramble? Is it any harder than the zig-zag from the reservoir? Bare in mind the cloud on tryfan was 200/300m lower than on your picture. Cheers.