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Winter climbing on Glyder Fach

~ Thursday, 2nd February 2012

 Winter has finally come to Snowdonia, which is great, but the conditions aren't perfect yet!! We've had a decent period of very cold and dry weather lately. Freezing level has been down below 100m, but because it has been so dry there is little in the way of ice, rime, hoar and no abundance of frozen turf. In places conditions are good, but not everywhere. On Tuesday this week I went out with Simon Colley and Mark Walker to check out some lines on Glyder Fach. There are a few summer lines that haven't seen any winter ascents to our knowledge. On nearing the crag we chose the summer line of Route 2 on Dolmen Buttress which appeared to have plenty of snow on it. Following a summer line in winter is bound to lead to some variations of route/line followed, but we did our best to stay on or close to the described summer route.  The first couple of pitches were pretty straightforward, leading to the bottom of a wide groove with a beautiful crack running up its left side. Using this crack and some easier ground on the right Simon got us up to the most defined part of the ridge. Definitely some grade VI ground low down on the crack. Higher up looked very hard!!  The next pitch happened to be mine and turned out to be the similar in standard to Simons pitch, but a bit more sustained. Probably VI aswell. Great moves and quite good gear lead to a large platform below the obvious chimney of the summer route. The chimney was snow free, so Mark took a line out to the right, following a diagonal ramp, then horizontal, before taking us directly up to the easier ground on Dolmen Ridge. Probably V and good climbing. I have been there before in summer and it felt just as exposed in winter!! We decided to rap off from this point, kids needed picking up from school etc, etc! As yet we haven't come up with a name or grade, but it might be someting like Dolmen Buttress Route 2. V 6.