Good afternoon Ferals!
This blog was originally due to head out to you last Saturday, but my head and my heart got totally swept up in the Mend Our Mountains Campaign and I just had to share it with you right then and there (a bit like an impatient toddler). So to fill you in, three weeks ago I headed up to North Wales with my colleagues Steve and Will, Bob from Contour Outdoor, Sean from Arc’teryx and Andi Turner, and we ended up having the most incredible 2 days in Snowdonia. We climbed and scrambled in perfect conditions and just had a great couple of days truly enjoying each others company and the mountains.
We arrived at Dolgam Campsite on the Friday evening so we could set up camp whilst we were fresh and have a good, long sit down with Bob and plan our weekend. We checked kit, went over and over the routes, swam, ate and went to bed nice and early with the view to being up and out of the campsite by 7:30.
We managed to stick to this plan (actually quite surprisingly) and were up, showered, fed and driving out of the campsite by 7:30. We headed up the road towards Snowdon with our sights set on scrambling Bilberry Terrace, a 3+ scramble with an exposed alpine feel. Long traverses on exposed grassy ledges interspersed with some short but difficult – for the grade – sections make for a thrilling day out. The weather was phenomenal and, being a Saturday, Snowdon was already packed. Instead of trying to fight our way into the main car park on top of Pen y Pass we parked further down the valley and walked up.
We bypassed the hoards of people gathering in the car park and set off up the Miners park towards Snowdon. Just short of Llyn Llydaw we took the path that veered off left and headed towards Lliwedd. The cliff face in front of us was huge – shooting straight out from the ground, this expanse of rock has numerous different climbing and scrambling routes dotted along the sheer face.
Either due to the long walk in or the pull of Crib Goch and the Snowdon summit, Bilberry Terrace was incredibly quiet. We saw another couple of people dotted along the climbs further along Lliwedd, but we didn’t see another soul on our scramble. We felt like we were in our own little bubble.
After a short walk up an incredibly faint path and having to delicately navigate our way up and across the large scree slopes at the base of the crag, we arrived at the base of Bilberry Terrace. Here, we threw on our harnesses and helmets and loaded up with a Hard Bar or two, taking care to avoid slipping down the side of the rock face.
We split into teams of three: Will and Sean buddying up with Bob, and Steve and I buddying up with Andi. Bob and Andi lead the pitches and the rest of us followed up behind them, taking out any gear they placed as we went. Bob, Will and Sean headed up first, then our little team followed.
The route was a brilliant mix of easy ledges, technical climbing and big exposed sections that made you realise how far up you were. If you would like to read a much more thorough description on how to scramble Bilberry Terrace and what to expect then have a read of Bob’s Route of the Month: Bilberry Terrace.
It took us a few hours to scramble to the top, the route offered incredible views of Llyn Llydaw and Crib Goch the whole way up, before peeling around the corner to expose Snowdon Summit too (which was packed – we felt very lucky to have the whole climb to ourselves).
After delicately negotiating our way over the pinnacle we reached the top of the scramble. Here, we joined the main path on top of Llewedd and stopped for some lunch – the combination of the heat and concentrating on the scramble had really taken it out of us. Panoramic view meant this was probably one of the best lunch stops I’ve ever had in my life.
After refuelling and resting our achy legs we trotted the 6.5km back down to Pen y Pass, elated from the incredibly beautiful rock face we’d just climbed. The walk back down was hot – for the first time in hours, we were back in the intense afternoon sun (the whole scramble was, luckily, sheltered from the sun for the entire time we were on it), but the promise of a cold pint at the end of the track and the fact that the mountains seemed to all light up in the afternoon sunshine kept our spirits high.
Back at the campsite, we laughed about the day’s antics, exchanging stories from each team’s climb (and quite frankly, just having a bit of a giggle at each other). We ate dinner (a feast of fish and chips from the local fish shop) and made plans for the following day (by this point, I had dragged my sleeping bag outside and was already starting to fall asleep). We planned out long multi-pitch trad routes at Clogwyn Yr Oen for the next day, again aiming to be up, packed and ready to go at around half 7.
I was so at peace by the end of the day – being tired from a long day in the mountains is my favourite kind of tired to be. I picked myself up from the comfy nest I’d built for myself on the floor and took myself to bed before it had even gone dark, readying myself for another long day out on the rock.
I’ll cover Sunday’s climbing at Clogwyn Yr Oen next week – until then, check out Will’s Mountain a Month video to see the day in video form!
See you next week, Ferals.
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