Frozen Glyder Fach

Posted by Brian Sayle on 26 April 2018 | Comments

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Glyder Fach, several times I have pass by the famous Cantilever stone, Y Gwyliwr, an iconic feature of this mountain group, but until now what I had not managed to do was see the top of this ridge under full winter conditions. I had tried once or twice before but conbinations of either worsening weather conditions, failing light or simply melted snow have always beaten me.

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In the past I had been trying to walk up via the Devils Kitchen with the idea of a traverse of the Glyderau in mind, and either missing the snow by 24 hours or the weather forcing an about turn, but this time i decided to go via Heather Terrace following a route on the east side of Tryfan. Heading along towards Bristly Ridge on the right, rather then head up that way its much easier to head left to the east and up a steady gradient known as the Miners path, the lowest part of the ridge infront of me.

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There had been a lot of snow over the last week or so, this was the second week of March and with a sunset time of about 17.50 I wanted to be up and because of the cloud at least back down onto the level section of this path while I still had daylight, starting at about 2pm I had a good 4 hours of daylight. Really I should of started earlier and if it wasn't for wanting to catch sunsets from elevated mountainous locations I would of done so.
However as I got up onto the ridge, passing this snow covered cairn and a misty view of Tryfans South Ridge, the mist came in heavy and white outs are a concern.

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 Zero visibility!! Admittedly I did think a few times about turning back, but I knew the summit was only 30 minutes away, but 30 minutes can turn into 40 minutes...etc and you can easily get lost in these places. least I wasn't stopping every 20yds to take photos but for the most part there was nothing to see!! Besides I didn't take a tripod or decent camera, was more worried about getting up and down then taking photos if truth be told!!

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Onwards and upwards, at last, the iconic feature of the Glyderau known as the Cantilever Stone, elevation 994m (3,261 ft). Along with "Castell y Gwynt" the "Cantilever Stone" was used in Walt Disney's 1981 movie Dragonslayer, this was one entrance to the Dragon's lair. The snow was deep and thankfully not full of footprints, I had the place to myself.

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As luck would have it for once, the mist started to clear just enough for me to have a nice view of the stones. These large stones would of been carried up Nant Ffrancon 1000s of years ago during the ice age and dumped 3000+ ft at the mountain summit as the ice melted, fantastic to see them in ice once again

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What a view, looking east along Nant Ffrancon with the peaks of Carnedd y Filiast and Elidir Fawr in the distance. Hoping for good sunset, which wasn't going to happen?

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Rocky outcrop, this small spiky feature helped mark the way back down, along with my compass :)

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Tryfans south ridge again. The car is on the A5 down there with a warm flask of tea waiting for me.

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As I headed back down the clouds started to clear, which was great but maybe a bit too late? The view from the summit would I'm sure be amazing now, but not enough daylight left for me to even think about going back

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These footprints might ruin the shot, I followed these on the way up, without them im not sure I would of found the safest route off the ridge, its pretty much the only part that isn't too steep, obviously I had crampons on but a ridge loaded with snow can be awkward

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Not much left of the daylight and there was a sunset afterall? Typical!!

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The rest of the shots I took this day can be found in this Facebook Album [click here]

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Fantastic day in the moutains and a good one ticked of the bucket list!!

You can still read an archive of my old landscape blogs here Urbansubrosa

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