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:

Friday, 14 December 2012

Clogwyn y Garnedd 13th Dec - By Carl Davies

Hey Andy,

 I know its probably largely academic now considering what has happened today, but you maybe interested in what Dave and I did yesterday. I'm saying this though, but on a trip from Betws just now there was fresh snow down to about 600 metres so maybe freezing level was a little lower than anticipated for today. Anyway we went up to Clogwyn Y Garnedd via the Pyg in what was a truely stella day weatherwise. We decided to start off with Snakebite (III,3), I think in the end we did a mixture of Snakebite and Snakebite Direct. Neve was great, but climbing was delicate in places, a little sugary, but you could avoid vegetation with careful climbing. Topped out by 1300 so plenty of time for another route after a quick lunch. Downclimbed a solid End Gully and decided on Cave Gully (III,4) for our 2nd route. The crux below the cave was pretty delicate with snow ice and ice but again with careful climbing it was great fun. Solid neve both below and above the crux. A tricky exit, from the cave, onto some ice (which may have even taken a screw!), provided added interest. Worth noting there are few runners below the crux but very few above the cave (two that I found/used). There were plenty of folk out but never too crowded as they were spread about the face. We saw teams on the Trinities, Ladies and Cave, other stuff was probably done too. Maybe some of it will survive until the next cold spell. Couple pics, 1) Cave Gully, 2) Trinities - End Gully 3) Dave at top of Snakebite

Cheers, Carl.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Cwm Lloer tues 11th by Steve Fry

Hi Andy,

A quick report on Cwm Lloer from yesterday. A 'bluebird' day if ever i've seen one, cloudless skies, not a breath of wind, and temperatures below freezing all day! Got into Cwm Lloer at 9am where there is good snow cover from 700m upwards, so headed to Broad Gully to start. Super neve all the way allowing you to front point and dagger all your way up if you wanted to avoid the bucket steps that are also in situ. Having done Broad I cam down the Headwall which is definitely skiable at the moment for the brave, and went into Y Gully Right-Hand. Again the neve was bomber but I have to say this route looks better from the bottom than it actually is! Ended the day doing Y Gully Left-Hand which proved to be a significantly more testing route. The first step had running water and was incomplete but was avoidable using the rib on the right before entering back into the gully. To avoid the second step I took a rightward trending shallow gully which culminated in a steep chimney. As the gully steepened the snow became less reliable and more sugary making for a couple of spicy moves in the chimney to reach the top. A great climb but probably III, 3 in current condition. Apart from the gullies nothing else in the Cwm was in condition with no riming on the cliffs, and very little ice forming.

 A few pics from the day attached.

Video of Banana Gully by James Kelly

James Kelly was out in the Glyders today on Banana Gully. He told me it was 'Big steps all the way, very solid and secure' . He posted the below vid too:

Nice one mate!

Also some great pics of Snowdon yesterday HERE

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Trinity Gullies by Andy Barker

Trinities ok today Andy. Did great gully which is probably in the worst nic of all the gullies. Turf still needs some more substance but LH central and RH all have plenty snow. Still sugar underneath a crust but supports more than bodyweight now.. freezing again as we left the summit at 1500.

Cwm Cneifion today (Tues 11th Dec) from Carl

Had this email today from my friend Carl:

Hi Andy, Just a quick mail as don't have much time. Finished work early so took a wander into Cwm Cneifion this afternoon/evening. Virtually all snow I came across was well consolidated and easy to front point on where steep enough. I did come across some sugary snow at the very top of Hidden gully, but only the last couple of metres, and infact that wasn't that bad, just I had been spoilt with so much great neve. There is ice starting to form on many routes but it is all very thin. Best ice I saw was in Left Hand but even this is still thin. Bomber snow on the plateau between Hidden Gully and Glyder Fawr. It was beautiful up there, clear and no wind. Walking back saw head torches returning from Y Garn and Pen-yr-Ole Wen. I would guess that any gullies with good snow cover will be in good condition at the moment. Few photos 1) Y Garn, 2) Left Hand and Pillar Chimney, 3) Hidden Gully, 4),5),6) Glyder Plateau. Cheers, Carl

Cader Idris

Sounds like winter conditions are shaping up quite nicely high on Cader Idris:
Huw Gilbert Mountaineering blog

Monday, 10 December 2012


I have decided that I will not be posting on UKC ( anymore. I will still be running my small blog and hope it is of use to some of you.

Y Garn - Monday 10th Dec

 Today Davey & I headed out with the intention of heading high up into Cwm Cneifion and looking for something grade III ish to start off our winter season,.Possibly Tower Rib, or if we were feeling unusually brave Golden Girl Ali.
 Although reports from the weekend were of a big thaw, I hoped that we could find something in condition after the colder temps last night. However on driving up the A5, Cwm Cneifion although certainly having some snow cover looked pretty black in the rocky areas including Clogwyn Ddu.
Looking over to the easy gully lines of Y Garn, we could see they looked complete, and Y Garn in general just looked more wintery! So, we ditched our rope & climbing hardware in Davey's lovely T5 camper, just took axes & crampons and headed up.
 Snow cover starts around Llyn Clyd, although it is extremely soft and boggy. (as usual) We could see that Banana Gully was complete, so headed up, stopping where the gully narrows by the small crags on the left to don crampons. So to the snow conditions: the first half of the gully from this point was great if you stuck to the 3 or 4 sets of steps already kicked in the snow, rock hard in fact. However venturing a few feet to the right or left of these steps, the snow had a hard crust, but soft underneath resulting in wading knee deep. But the second half (approx top 70m) the snow was excellent neve right across the gully, and kicking steps and front pointing was possible.
 We decended via A Gully, which was much the same story snow condition wise as Banana Gully. I then went to have a peek between the buttresses into C Gully, but could clearly see that there was not complete snow cover, and the 'step' was bare turf which would most certainly not have been frozen, so we backed off that.
On returning back to Ogwen carpark we spoke to a lad (blue camper van next to us, hello!) who had been up into Cwm Cneifion, and reported snow conditions high in the cwm were actually very good, and had done Hidden Gully were he said it was 'bomber neve all the way'.

Y Garn

Davey heading up Banana Gully

At the top

Me towards the bottom of A Gully

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Soloing Torquing Shit V(6) by Ryan -- plus Dave Garry's blog

Had an email off Ryan last night:

Hi Andy

I ended up soloing torquing shit V(6) yesterday. Snow not at all consolidated and ice completely unbounded from rock, but the majority of clogwyn du was very well rimed up. Quite a lot of parties out including a pair on travesty. Will do a proper write up and send photos through Monday morning if that's okay as don't get back to Cardiff and a computer till tomorrow afternoon.

Bloody hell Ryan nice effort! If a bit scary!
Also I read that Dave Garry & friends were out yesterday and climbed Manx Wall. You can read abot it on Dave's blog here

Although conditions are fairly poor and thawing quickly, the forecast suggests much colder weather kicking in from tomorrow onwards. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Footless Crow

I have just posted a permanent link (on the right hand side of this page) to the fabulous Footless Crow blog which is: 'A collection of the best of UK mountain, art and environmental articles'
Go check it out!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Bristly Ridge - Thur 6th Dec - by Carl

Just had an email from Carl who was out today on Bristly Ridge: Hi Andy I ventured today up Bristly Ridge and down Gribin. Paths iced up below Cwm Bochlwyd when walking in. Bristly Ridge was covered in powder but nothing consolidated which made for tricky climbing in places. Because of this I flanked the first part of it, tackling an easier gully to the left to gain the ridge. Forecast was spot on, very windy and moderate snow from about 1100. Forgot to take goggles so my face and eyes had a good exfoliation! Travel was hard around the back of Castell y Gwynt due to waist deep powder in places...there was alot of snow moving around up there. Looked at Easy Gully in Cwm Cneifion but decided to come down via Gribin as the Gully was corniced and possibly loaded in the lee of the wind. Clogwyn Ddu looked pretty white and rimed up. Snowing pretty hard on way down until about 600 metres when it turned to rain. Didn't see much in the way of frozen turf. Does look colder after the weekend so maybe things may shape up better by the end on next week. Couple of pics which gives a flavour of it: 1. just after the difficult step on Bristly Ridge 2&3. Glyder plateau 4. Clogwyn Ddu and Hidden Gully.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Hidden Gully - Tues 4th Dec

Tristan & Bede were out in Cwm Cneifion today and did Hidden Gully, which is the short but sweet classic grade II gully just to the left of the imposing cliffs of Clogwyn Ddu. They said that conditions in the gully itself were good, with frozen solid turf & bomber neve. Not so frozen lower in the Cwm though unfortunately. Some cold weather and small amounts of snow forecast for the next few days, with tomorrow (wednesday) looking like it might be a clear day.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Waiting for later in the week.

I was supposed to be heading out today with my mate, but he cancelled which is probably no bad thing looking at todays temps. Managed to wangle some free time later this week probably wednesday & thursday and hopefully with a bit of freeze thaw and some cold temps high up conditions might be good. Quite a few people out over the weekend apparently climbing all sorts of things from great nick hard mixed routes on Clogwyn Ddu to some very sketchy (poor) conditions in some of the gullies. Although apparently Cwm Lloer has had the best low grade neve gullies. (Or so I'm told!)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Cwm Fynnon Lloer - Sat 1st Dec (by Dan)

Hi Andy. I wandered up into Cwm Fynnon Lloer yesterday. Hourglass Gully was complete but still had plenty of rocks poking through, so I headed up Broad Gully instead. It had seen a reasonable amount of traffic by this time (about 11:45 I guess), and there were a couple of bits of grass to be navigated around in the lower reaches. After that, snow cover was good and reasonably consolidated until the top 20%, where it was much less firm and really just a thin layer over loose rubble. Things were definitely melting up until the point I left (14:00), so conditions may have been better on Friday or early on Saturday. While it was definitely worth going out, I think some reports may be suffering a case of early-season enthusiasm as it certainly wasn't the most snowy gully climb I've ever done. Regards Dan

Saturday, 1 December 2012

James Kelly - Banana Gully

Had an email from James Kelly last night: 'Hi Andy decided to look at banana gully today, nice to see something in condition early in the season snow was good until the top end then a bit thin but very enjoyable climbed behind 2 girls from wales we all had a good climb in good conditions sure it will be busy over the weekend. Nothing in devils kitchen area very wet' (Picture below)
Loads of people heading out this weekend, so expecting more info later.....

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Crib Goch - Wed 28th Nov 2012

It looks like winter is making an appearance here in N.Wales, woo hoo! Yesterday I headed down to Crib Goch (dog in tow) to have a look what conditions were like. I know that Rob Johnson was on it yesterday with clients and reported on his blog decent conditions. Crampons were essential all along the ridge, with snow being frozen hard and plenty of verglass all over the place. The Trinity face on Snowdon was white, although I can't imagine any turf will be frozen (yet) as all the turf I encountered was sodden. I am away in the Lakes this weekend, climbing Saturday then at the Mazeno Ridge event at Rheged on Sunday, but I know a lot of you will be heading out into the N.Wales mountains so as usual if you want to email me any condition reports/photos of what you find I promise to post them up here. Have fun!
Crib Goch
Crib Goch (spot the dog!)
Looking across to the Glyders
Trinity Face

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Trinity Face & Cwm Cneifion report

I was out yesterday in beautiful sunshine on Snowdon. Plenty of people out on the Pyg Track which is extremely treacherous the higher you go with compacted snow & ice.
I went onto the Trinity Face where low down the snow was great neve, but the higher on the face I went the poorer snow conditions were. Did Left Hand Trinity, which began very promisingly with good ice & fairly solid snow, but as you got higher, the poorer it became. A stunning day though, which felt very warm in the sun.
Sorry no photos as I forgot to put the battery back in my camera after charging it!


My mate Carl was today out in Cwm Cneifion and emailed me the following info & pics:

'Hey Andy,
Pictures as promised. Tower Slabs were nice on the first pitch, great chewy ice. Then good neve until about two thirds the way up, then crust ontop sugary snow. Dropped down Easy gully which is stepped but solid. Up Hidden Gully, good snow, stepped, but good fun. Left Hand looked like it might go but a team did back off it. Ice in the Kitchen but nothing looked climbable. Beautiful, still, sunny day.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Keeping up with current climbing conditions

I'm a bit out the loop at the moment but am aware that plenty of routes have been climbed over the last couple of days despite thin conditions which is great news.
Had this email from James Kelly last night:

'Hi Andy

Two of my climbing partners Andy Wilson and Simon Logan were on Idwall stream today said it was a bit thin, very wet all day most of the other routes looked thin for example the ramp. Hope this helps anyone heading down.

James Kelly'

One of the best ways to keep up to date is the UKC Snowdonia Conditions thread which is updated daily with on the ground reports.
Also the UKC Winter Conditions logbook page to see what winter routes climbers have added to their logbooks.

If anyone has any reports later today or tomorrow please could you email me as I'm looking to head out myself over the next couple of days and would be grateful to know whats what.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cwm Cneifion & Idwal

I managed to get a free afternoon yesterday (Thurs) & was at Ogwen carpark for 1.30pm. My objective was to head up into Cwm Cneifion to have a look at Tower Slabs, Tower Gully & Hidden Gully, although I was aware that reports were saying that snow was still unconsolidated due to continued cold temps & no freese/thaw conditions. When I got into the lower cwm it was fairly apparent that the snow was not going to be in good condition in the higher gullies, & I suspected Tower Slabs would be very poor. So opting for Senior's Ridge instead I headed up in poor snow which was fairly hard going at times. Crampons were essential due to sections of ice, and one axe was sufficient. When high up on the ridge I could see across the cwm & although there is some ice on the lower section of Tower Slabs, it has not yet formed properly. I came back down via the Devil's Kitchen path which was very icy, and had a look at the Idwal ice routes. I am aware that there was a couple of ascents of The Ramp & Idwal Stream yesterday, but from what I saw these are still a fair way off being 'in' condition. The Screen looked at best 50% formed, as did The Ramp & South Gully. I would say that Idwal Stream looked closest to being 'in'. Bear in mind that this was on Thursday & ice should be building daily.
It was a beautiful day to be out, and I am just disappointed it is my only oppurtunity to do so until at least next week.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Report from Matt Cooke

Matt Cooke from North East Wales Mountaineering Club emailed me yesterday with info regarding his day (Sat) in Upper Cwm Glas area where he & his mate soloed The Ramp & Sinister Gully on Clogwyn y Ddysgl:

'Hi Andy,
Conditions were shite! Thin (1/2 inch) crust over 6inches of grouple, turf not frozen either, and the small amounts of ice were very poorly bonded to the rock.
It was also surprisingly warm, even at the summit. Topping out you get the most amazing view across the whole of the trinity faces and the down into the cwm below, and the snow just made it beautiful!
Weather was stunning too, so calm, no wind whatsoever, clear enough to make out the isle of man, as well as seeing right across the clwydians, and across to cadir idris from the top.'

(Photos below from Matt)

However bear in mind that was Saturday, and there has been more snow since. Conditions are looking hopeful for this week, with some freeze-thaw cycles there may be good climbing to be had.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Are we in for a good spell?

Snow in the mountains with more forecast, along with some very low temps on their way. Is this the start of a period of winter climbing activity in N.Wales? Lets hope so.
More info to follow...

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Cornice alert on Parsley Fern!

Spotted this awesome amount of snow at the top of Parsley Fern gully yesterday!!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Still nothing

No snow or ice & no prospects of any anytime soon. Snowdonia seems to have forgotten we are in mid-winter I'm afraid.