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Date & start time: Monday 2nd November 2009. 10.45 am start.

Location of Start : Idwal Cottage, Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia, Uk ( SH 650 604 )

Places visited : Llyn Idwal, Y Garn, Llyn y Cwn, Glyder Fawr, Y Gribin and back to Idwal Cottage.

Walk details : 6.75 mls, 3100 ft, 5 hrs 30 mins including lunch.

Highest point : Glyder Fawr 3202 ft ( just short of the 3246 ft, 999m summit )

Walked with : My colleague Paul, 8 other course members and 4 Mountain Equipment and Gortex staff acting as leaders today.

Weather : Rather grey, with wintery showers blowing through on the stiff breeze.

 Y Garn and the Cwn Idwal Round at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail


I'm in Wales for two days on a training course to learn more about and try out the latest ideas in mountain clothing, courtesy of George Fisher management,

Mountain Equipment and Gore-tex.

After travelling down from Cumbria last night, we get kitted up and drive over to the Ogwen Valley

to enjoy a walk around Cwm Idwal, starting with the ascent of the east ridge of Y Garn.

A signboard in the grounds of Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre, just up the road from Capel Curig.

Bryn Engan Farmhouse would be our home for two days . . . but first Paul and I had to get there !

- - - - o o o - - -

The forecast was for bad weather for the journey down and the road reports talked of big delays on the M6.

Our Staff training commenced when Paul turned on our Garmin Dakota Gps and typed in Capel Curig . . .

Leaving the M6 south, "Mr Garmin" took us through Everton and Liverpool and then threw us down the Mersey Tunnel.

Spitting us out the other side, we joined the A55 and in no time Capel was on the road signs . . . that's what I call brilliant.

The river bridge at Llanrwst on the last leg of the journey. It looked so nice we just had to stop for a photo !

The river seems high which matches the recent poor weather.

Bryn Engan Farmhouse, our accommodation for the next two days, is part of the Plas y Brenin complex.

Time for a quick visit to the main centre, a short walk down the forest track.

Martin, Richard and Chris lead the way.

Our first close up view of Plas y Brenin across a fast flowing infant River Conway.

Well . . . you can tell we're in Wales . . . Iach-y-dda !

Martin, Paul and Richard in the bar of Plas y Brenin.

Next morning it is light again . . . and I've time for a quick look around before breakfast.

This is Bryn Engan, so recently refurbished that they haven't quite finished removing the builder's materials !

The front of the old farmhouse which is now fully equipped to sleep fourteen in luxury.

Plas y Brenin from alongside Bryn Engan Bunkhouse.

After breakfast, an introductory chat and a few minutes collecting our walking gear, then we head out for Cwm Idwal

some five miles away from the mountain centre. [ I'll talk more about the gear as it becomes relevant ]

The classic outline of Tryfan in the Ogwen Valley . . . and the 'Rhaeadr Ogwen' waterfalls.

After travelling in separate cars, we gather at the Idwal Cottage car park outside the National Park Ranger's office.

Idwal Cottage (climbing hut) and Tryfan
The wrought iron gate to the fells, or should I say hills ?

The classic wooden footbridge on the path up to Cwm Idwal.

Y Garn ahead.

We plan to climb up the east ridge, the buttress to the left of the stream.

Llyn Idwal and the famous Idwal Slabs directly above the edge of the tarn.

It's a prime rock climbing area and still a favourite nowadays of beginners and intermediate rock climbers.

The National Park are repairing the adjacent stone bridge

so they've erected a scaffolding one instead "while the cement dries".

Pen yr Ole Wen rising behind Llyn Idwal.
The start of the east ridge.

There seems a nice easy grass rake around to the left . . . but our route is a zig-zag up the rocky front !

As we climb we get a better view of Llyn Idwal, distant Llyn Ogwen and Tryfan.

Click here or on the photo for a wider panorama

Laura, the only young lady in our party, looks down on the lakes below.
Paul, full of concentration, has just climbed a short pitch.

Russell from Gore-tex talks to Chris of Mountain Equipment about the climb

(the apparent size difference due to perspective not diet)

As we climbed the ridge we looked down on the Llyn Clyd lakes

and the northern tip of Anglesey far in the distance.

The last of the crags to ascend before the summit . . .
. . . but the rock was just too wet so we climbed the gully instead.

On reaching the ridge it was just a short walk to the summit of Y Garn.

It seems a couple of the lads are there already.

Snowdon summit (just in cloud) from Y Garn.
Llanberis and Llyn Peris away to the west.

As we left the top a wintery shower blew through the valley, masking Snowdon for a short while.

Making for the hause between Y Garn and Glyder Fawr.

Great views, in between the showers, of the four lakes :

Llyn Clyd and it's secondary pool, Llyn Idwal and Llyn Ogwen furthest away.

Looking upward,our route would take us over to Glyder Fawr ahead.

We would soon pass above the "Devil's Kitchen" rock cleft in the middle of the photo.

Llyn y Cwn on the flanks of Glyder Fawr.

Ripples on the lake reflect the strong winds on the hause.

The normal ascent route would be to walk slightly right and ascend the screes up onto the ridge,

but no . . .


we would take a more adventurous route


up through the crags off to the left of the previous picture


and pass some really nice


rock structures along the way.


- - - o o o - - -

Looking back . . . Y Garn and distant Carnedd Y Filiast

from the flanks of Glyder Fawr.

We reached the top of the ridge just a few hundred yards from the summit of Glyder Fawr.

It's seriously rocky up here . . . like the ridge walk from Broad Crag to Scafell Pike in the Lake District.

Could this be snow ?

A stiff breeze and a passing wintery shower as we head for Glyder Fach.

Walking around the edge of Cwm Idwal we had superb views of the rocky summit of Tryfan,

the top of which has two natural rock pinnacles ( Adam and Eve ) which could be seen even from this distance.

The weather was no better over Snowdon than t was earlier.

However the peak of Y Lliwedd to the left of the Snowdon Horseshoe stayed out of the cloud.

More rocky slabs as we make our way over towards Glyder Fach.

The rock was wet but everyone commented how unnaturally slippery it was.

Maybe the mild Summer and Autumn had allowed more algae to grow on the rocks and now it was turning wet, this made the rock slabs unusually hazardous.

A single person stands on the summit rocks of Glyder Fach

but we divert north and take the path towards Y Gribin ridge for our descent.

More wintery showers blast across the hillside as we start our descent.

Down there somewhere in Llyn Idwal and beyond, it the Carneddau hills.

Mountain Equipment Pro Shell Gortex keeps everyone dry . . .
. . . as the shower passes and the ridge becomes clear again.

We stop to re-group part way down the Y Griben ridge.

That's Glyder Fach summit behind.

The Nan Francon Valley stretches north towards Bangor.
Llyn Bochlwyd with Tryfan behind.

Leaving the last of the ridge we soon reach the pitched path leading down to the valley.

Andy from Barry in South Wales descending the path.
A short boggy section where they ran out of stones !

The falls above the original wooden bridge means we are nearly back at Idwal Cottage.

Our ascent route of Y Garn's east ridge stands out above the falls.

Paul and myself back at the bridge at the end of the walk.

Paul is wearing the latest M.E. Ogre Gore-tex Pro Shell jacket and I was bedecked in soft shell . . . Schoeller trousers and G2 Alpine jacket.

All that weather and I never once put waterproofs on . . . more of the gear test results in my next report.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . " the right clothing "

from the expression . . . " there's no such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothing "

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© RmH.2009 # Email me here # or leave me a Guest Book Entry

Previous walk - Wed 28th Oct 2009 Low fell with Keith, Simon and Beth

A previous time here - I haven't climbed in this part of Wales for more years than I care to remember

so sorry, no digital photos on file.

Next event - Mon 2nd Nov 2009 Plas y Brenin Course - the evening activities