The purpose of this blog is to report on winter climbing conditions in Snowdonia, to keep you lot who like nothing better than climbing ice, snow, frozen turf etc in ridiculously low temps informed!! As well as it being a record of some of my own winter climbing adventures. Feel free to email me any of your own conditions reports & photos you have & I will post them here. The more info on winter conditions the better! email:

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Report fron Tom Hecht: Crib Goch & Pyg

Hi Andy,

Brief check in about conditions on the Snowdon massif - Crib Goch/Pyg track...

Whilst you were no doubt immensely enjoying the delights of Idwal on Monday, I took in a traverse of Crib Goch via the East Ridge to Snowdon summit and back down the Pyg track.

I started out at dawn - squeaky snow reinforced the low reading on my keyfob thermometer at -8°C
Most notably, the hundreds of weekend visitors has resulted in the 'trunk paths' becoming very compact - easy to walk on for now (dead smooth yet not slippy) but this will no doubt soon accelerate grip issues on trickier sections.

My progress was barely hampered on the way up to the traverse proper, requiring only the briefest amount of precautionary axe use on the steepest of the scrambling sections for a more secure purchase, however, the thoroughfares even on the way up to the scramble will undoubtedly soon become very tricky without the aid of crampons (ice). The same can be said for pretty much the rest of the ridge - between the white patches the rock was dry (think text-book summer alpine!) except on the verge of the windward edges. Equally a small amount of ice is steadily forming in pockets around the pinnacles here and there (mainly drainage related), however this didn't as yet compromise a safe crampon-less crossing.

Apart from the steps leading up to Snowdon summit trig point, the most treacherous part of my route was (unsurprisingly) the zig-zags down from the Fingerstone at the head of the Pyg. Already the usual walk-arounds have developed but are ultimately only delaying the evolution of complete no-go sections of the path up here for anyone without appropriate metalwork. I descended much of the upper section here using a (practised) 'telemark-esque' boot-sliding technique (!) that with a pair of Leki's was perfectly controllable, yet those frozen water sections have set in early and require careful negotiation.

As the photos hopefully show, the area has developed a positively alpine character!

Great blog by the way!

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