back to archiveSleeping on Snowdon and Carnedd Llewelyn Twice
Walkers: Wayne Bowman, Spencer Boyle, Fenton Boyle. Support Man; Mike Norona.
After completing some long distance walks in the Lake District over the last few years myself and two friends decided it was time to try a different area for this years 'annual challenge'. The Welsh 3000ers seemed perfect. A three day recci was completed in May which came in really useful and for anyone who hasn't been to Snowdonia before that is the first thing I would advise doing for the route is complex - don't just try and wing it on the day!
On the evening of the longest day this year we arrived in Nant Peris with our support man Mike and set up his tent at the campsite and after a late lunch at the Vaynol Arns Mike dropped us at Pen-y-Pass.
Arriving on Snowdon for just after 7 pm the tent was pitched and we enjoyed a really nice sunset, we managed to get our water requirements for our dehydrated meals just right, there's not a lot of water once you're on the top and we needed 3 litres each just to see us through the night.
The camping experience on Snowdon was rather blighted by the fact that it was high '3 Peaks season' and tomorrow would be the longest day. There must have been more people on the summit that night than down in Mike's campsite which accounted for me getting just 2 hours sleep!
Not good when you have a very long day coming up!
If I was to do the challenge again I would certainly think about walking up Snowdon in the early hours rather than camping on the summit - but I guess each has its pros and cons. I did notice a tent pitched on the lower slopes of Garnedd Ugain, perhaps this is the answer.
The day started at 4.30 am, Snowdon, Garnedd Ugain and Crib Goch came and went, being on Crib Goch at that time of the morning was a experience I will never forget. Picking the right way down from Crib Goch wasn't a problem after the recci and we arrived to meet Mike at Nant Peris with Bacon and Bean butties. A change of base layer, brushing of the teeth and expedition pack to day pack - ready to go again!
Eilder Fawr , the first of the Glyder range is a real tough slog, the gradient is relentless, it was at this point my mates put a bit of distance between us and I adopted an 'interval training' style approach to gain the summit, slow and steady 10 minutes walking, 2 minutes recovery. After summiting Y Garn and filling the water bottles up at Llyn y Cwn we tackled Glyder Fawr, the steep scree slope lending itself to a slow but steady plod.
Dropping down the steep scree path to Bwlch Tryfan Fen put his knee support on, the drop of is a killer and a real knee buster! After a short break we summited Tryfan quicker than I expected and we all still felt good. Spencer even attempted to jump between Adam and Eve but decided on a press up between the two instead!
Down to the Ogwen valley the knees where getting a bit tender and I was relieved to see Mike with his hot pan of chicken biriani and drinks of tea at the ready. As we sat in the car park, the sun still beating down I could feel the 'lack of sleep' tiredness creeping in from the 2 hours sleep on Snowdon - I could have shut my eyes right there!
After a half hour break we looked across the way at Pen-y-Ole Wen and moved on. We ascended up the longer east ridge but certainly easier than going straight up, the walk along side Afon Lloer seemed to go on forever, the sound of the gushing stream making me thirsty!
After the short section of scrambling I pulled onto the summit some 20 minutes behind Spencer and Fen, they where waiting with fleeces over there heads trying to get some shade. Looking across back at Snowdon and the Glyders I knew I had most of the ascent under the belt now, setting off Carnedd Dafydd came easy enough and the long ridge linking Carnedd Llewelyn was a welcome break.
I had read much about the best way to tackle Carnedd Llewelyn and Yr Ellen. After summitng Carnedd Llewelyn we left our bags at the col and summited Yr Ellen. We decided to contour back around Carnedd Llewelyn for Foel Grach ridge. The ground was very rough underfoot this late in the game and was hard going. We decided to scramble up steep grass slopes to get back onto the main ridge and ended up back on Carnedd Llewelyn.
Looking back now, I think if I did it again, I would almost certainly re-summit Carnedd Llewelyn after Yr Ellen knowing that that was the last real ascent and grit my teeth for it. Both contour routes are very slow going and rough under foot.
Foel Grach, Garneddu Uchaf and Foel Fras fell easily enough at the end, we all felt elated and tired at the final trig point which always seems further on that it looks on the map. We hadn't seen a single person on the Carneddu range at all, we had it all to ourselves.
Following the fence back to Bwlch y Ddeufaen I could reflect on what we had just achieved, the sun was going down and casting a nice glow on the sea. The last section over Drum seems long and is long, and we where all relived to see Mike with Tomato Soup and bread at the car park, that didn't last long!
Summit to summit: 16 hours 32 minutes.
I must thank Matt Elliot for his advice and the excellent website which he has created alongside this for anyone attempting the Welsh 3000s - view his website here.