Winter Wild Camp – Snowdonia

This was my first outing with the Bremex Mountaineering and Climbing club – http://www.bremex.org.uk.

At 09-00 am on Saturday morning I joined Jim, Claire, Kent,Julia and Graham in the Pinnacle Cafe in Capel Curig. After a chat and a cup of tea we split into two groups and started on our journey into the mountains.The aim of the trip was to walk up and over the Carneddau mountains and walk into a high wild camp below the east face of Carnedd Llewelyn next to Ffynnon Llyffant.

Myself,Graham and Julia walked out from Capel Curig and headed on up into the Carneddau whilst Kent and Claire drove round to Bethesda to start their journey into the mountains. The inital part of the route was over rough and boggy moorland to reach the lower slopes of Pen Llithrig y Wrach.

Looking back towards Capel Curig
Looking back towards Capel Curig

Once here we ascended up a steep and pathless climb onto the summit. We then walked along the ridge line and dropped down onto Bwlch Eryi Farchog. To our left we had a great view into Cwm Eigau and out towards the Atlantic.

Cwm Eigiau and out towards Conwy Bay
Cwm Eigiau and out towards Conwy Bay
Looking down from the Lower slopes of Pen Yr Helgi Du to Ffynnon Llugwy reservoir
Looking down from Bwlch Eryi Farchog to Ffynnon Llugwy reservoir

At this point the weather started to close in and the clouds moved rapidly in from the South over Snowdon.In the near distance we could see snow on the upper slopes of Carnedd Llewelyn and beyond.

The steep ridge up towards Carnedd Llewelyn
The steep ridge up towards Carnedd Llewelyn

We continued down and then up the narrow ridge towards the next summit and at around 800m entered the snowline. As we progressed towards the top of Carnedd Llewelyn the weather started to close in with high winds and hill fog enveloping us.

Graham walking the final few steps towards the top of Carnedd Llewelyn.
Graham walking the final few steps towards the top of Carnedd Llewelyn.

After a short break on the summit we continued over the plateau and descended towards Foel Grach on a compass bearing and pacing the distance. As we left the summit we encountered very strong winds and were regularly being blown sideways and struggling to make forward progress. After zig zagging along trying to not get blown off our feet we reached the saddle between Carnedd Llewelyn and Foel Grach. From here we dropped down into Cwm Eigiau and walked the final kilometere into our planned camp by Ffynnon Llyffant.

Its a bit chilly
Its a bit chilly

On arrival at camp Kent and Claire were safely tucked away in there tent having enjoyed there own mini epic climbing up the Crib Lem Spur and then at one stage having to crawl along on hands and knees due to high winds between Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn.

After pitching my tent I walked to the nearby lake and collected some water. Upon walking back to the tent I noticed the remains of an old crashed aircraft dotted around the immediate area.

The following link explains the story behind the aircraft wreckage http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=21158

The forecast for overnight suggested snow may fall above 800m. We were not disappointed.

After a good nights sleep I woke up to the weight of a snow laden tent flysheet. Upon stepping out of the tent we were greeted by the sight of a fantastic sunrise looking out towards the east.

Sunrise and Snow at Dawn
Sunrise and Snow at Dawn
Happy Campers
Happy Campers

The plan for Day 2 was navigation practice and then to re trace our steps back over to Pen Yr Helgi Du and down Y Braich to the A5 and Capel Curig.

Footprints in the Snow
Footprints in the Snow

After several micro navigation legs looking for small contour features we climbed steep broken ground above the face of Craig yr Ysfa and were greeted with a beautiful view across the Snowdonia mountains.

Top of the climb out from Cwm Eigiau with Carnedd Daffyd in the background.
Top of the climb out from Cwm Eigiau with Carnedd Daffyd in the background.

The remainder of the route was a reverse of the previous day however this time the cloud and wind had disappeared to be replaced by sun and great views.

Looking across to Pen Yr Helgi Du and the descent off the mountain
Looking across to Pen Yr Helgi Du and the descent off the mountain

It was a fantastic weekend spent with a great bunch of people and Im already looking forward to my next club weekend trip in March.

I can highly recommend the Bremex Club for anybody who is working towards Mountain NGB awards and people looking to gain the knowledge and experience to venture out into the mountains for the first time.

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