With the temperatures set to rise across the country i wanted to get in a pre-Christmas walk in the snow before the white stuff disappeared.I drove me and Killy to the Rhug Estate farm shop where he treated me to a bacon and egg muffin before we set off for Snowdonia.We pulled into the Pen y Pass car park at 9 a.m. and were walking at 9.15.
It was bitterly cold with quite a strong wind blowing but we soon warmed up as we gained height.We reached Bwlch Coch in 30 minutes and got our first glimpse of Y Lliwedd.
Crossing the stiles we reached the snow line but no need to put the crampon's on yet as the snow was quite slushy due to the recent rain and higher temperatures.
The higher we got the deeper the snow got and it was more compact so we stopped above Glaslyn and put the crampon's on.I had recently bought a second pair for Julie and with Killy not having any i had brought this second pair for him to use.I managed to fall through a section of snow,much to Killy's amusement.
We were sheltered from the wind in the cwm and as we gained height we were getting hot.We stopped to talk to a lady and 4 teenager's going down and they told us that as they didn't have crampon's they didn't go higher than the zig-zags as the snow was bad there.We soon cooled down standing still talking.The cloud started to lower and we couldn't see Yr Wyddfa and Y Lliwedd was playing hide and seek in the mist.
We reached the monolith that mark's the junction of the Pyg and Miner's path.
A lot of the water had frozen as it flowed over the rock's.
It was tough going as in places the snow was solid and other places you would sink quite deep in it so i suggested a little break at the bottom of the zig-zag's.I had brought some home made bara brith that Aunty Betty had made for us both and it was delicious,washed down by a cup of tea.I could hear voices from above and i could see foot print's leading up Spider Gully and said to Killy "somebody must be climbing up there somewhere",mad.It started to sleet whilst we had our break.
Fortified by the bara brith and tea we set off up the steep zig-zag's and about 20 metres from the Llanberis Path monolith a man was descending so i stopped to talk to him.It transpires that he had climbed that gully at 9 a.m. that morning,solo,and it had taken him 2 hour's.He said somebody had started later than him,these must have been the voices we had heard.He said the path up to the summit was very icy and windy and to take care.We said our goodbye's and were soon on the final stretch up the Hafod Eryri and he was right,it was very very windy and really icy.In the 30 to 45 minutes until we returned to this spot on our descent we saw about 50 people and only about 5 people were in crampon's.
We headed for Hafod Eryri to shelter out of the wind and to grab a quick break again.
The sleet had turned to snow,and the flakes were the size of 2 pence pieces.We couldn't see the summit cairn from our sheltered position.
There were a few people taking photo's at the bottom of the step's that lead up to the summit cairn and i thought it was strange until i realised that we were the only ones with crampon's on and the step's were like sheet's of glass with the ice and they obviously couldn't ascend them,at least we had the summit for ourselves to take photo's which is a rarity.It was my 33rd visit to the summit.
We didn't hang around for to long as it was freezing and quickly made for the monolith to descend the Pyg Track and to get out of the wind.It was great fun walking quickly past everybody who didn't have crampon's on and were struggling.When we got below the cloud it was still snowing heavy but it soon turned to rain for the rest of the walk back to the car.
We reached the spot where we had put our crampon's on and decided to take them off again as we were reaching the point where the snow was disappearing.
At last the car park came into view and we knew we would soon be getting into our change of clothing.
4 hour's and 45 minutes later we were back at the car having walked 7 mile with 2,400 feet of ascent.