Today I headed into Snowdonia to see how the winter was coming along. As I drove through Bethesda up the A5 I wasn't too impressed by the volume (or lack of!) white stuff on the mountains. However looking up from Ogwen cottage towards Cwm Cneifion area filled with with some optimism, & I opted for The Gribin Ridge. There is hardly any snow cover below the 700m mark in the Glyders, but as I got to the 'football pitch' & looked up at the ridge proper it was like a different world! I had just been walking up a hill on an autumn day & ahead of me was a mountain ridge in winter conditions. Excellent! At about the 800m mark where you get onto the ridge, there is a good 2 inches of fairly fresh snow cover & plenty of hoar frost on the rocks. The higher I went the whiter it becomes until when I popped out on the Glyder plateau I was greeted with a full on winter Glyder scene! By the looks of it none of the gullies even high up in Cwm Cneifion are anywhere near 'in condition'. I had a peep into the top of Tower Gully, but there is only a couple of inches of soft snow on top of loose scree & unfrozen turf. Hidden Gully looked pretty awful too. There was a bloke trudging up Easy Route at the head of the Cwm, and I could see again it was shallow snow & vegetation. The ominous looking Clogwyn Ddu cliffs looked dark & sinister & definetly not climbable. There is no ice whatsoever in Idwal, or any snow to speak of. All the popular ice routes are at present wet, black & slimy.
I would imagine that for the next day or two ridges & easy rocky buttresses are the way to go. Routes like The Gribin Ridge, Tryfan N.Ridge, Crib Goch & Crib Y Ddysgl, Clogwyn Y Person Arete, BC & CD buttresses on Y Garn etc..
The forecast suggests more snow over the next few days & very cold temperatures, so by the weekend or early next week there may be lots of fun to be had.
PIC 1: Winter on The Gribin Ridge
PIC 2: A different world on the Glyder plateau
PIC 3: Nothing to see here in Cwm Idwal