So, the weather looked better in Snowdonia and I was desperate!
I was loading the car and having an internal battle about the weather and the disappointment if I drove all that way and it was crap… Next thing I knew I was at Charnock Richard ordering a coffee… I always try to remain enthusiastic
Soon I was passing my favourite funny sign.. Bodelwyddan. Only in Wales! I love the names of the places.
In my mind I was chasing a perfect night. Snow, light winds and stars. I wasn’t sure I would get it but I had a serious amount of hope as I sang along to Mumford and Sons! Badly……..
Soon I was in Rock Bottom, Betws perusing kit and buying gas. The weather forecast was changing and showing an overcast evening…gutted. I kept refreshing the forecast for Moel Heboog them Glyder Fach and the same picture was apparent. I made my way to my favourite cafe-The Siabod Cafe at Capel. I sat down with a Latte knowing I had to make a decision soon.. I was now narrowed down to Siabod or the Glyders. I refreshed the forecast again and it still remained overcast. I gazed through the glass looking toward the mountains. Glimpses of blue were appearing. It was 2.30pm. I started to feel energised and doubted the weather…and what the hell, so long as it didn’t rain!
I jumped in the car and headed for the parking under the Glyders by the hotel. The meters were covered so no charge…hooray!
Soon I was shouldering my pack and heading up The Miners Track-Yes, there are two! There is one on the Glyders as well as Snowdon!!! It was incredibly wet underfoot! I was yomping through bog for ages! I stopped to chat to a couple and I was pleased on my decision to take spikes not crampons as they said the snow was pretty soft, We chatted for some time as all the while I was moving the sky was clearing. I was kicking myself for leaving it so late! I didn’t think I would make the summit for sunset and it looked so promising now. My legs were burning with the weight of my pack. I was soon in the snowline; it was pretty wet but as I got higher it formed that annoying crust that every step sinks though!!!! I forced my legs and lungs at a fierce pace as I looked at the sky turning to orange knowing that the prize was a few hundred meters away in a fair distance… I was soon at the point Bristly Ridge meets the top. I was almost running at this point. Soon I was on the summit of Glyder Fach. I was almost sick from the exertion and my back pained me, but I was smiling. It was incredible, perfect. I had missed the best of the light but I was there to see the sun cast her final light on the snow before the ‘blue’ starts…Lliwedd and Snowdon were stunning with the sun lighting them from behind. Castell Y Gwynt was as photogenic as ever.
I was trying to multi task by sorting the bivvy and take photos at the same time. I soon realised that my first spot was too slippery so I had a relocate! I walked back to the Cantilever. I was in constant awe of the scenery. A cloud inversion was bubbling up the Ogwen whilst the mountain light went from gold to blue…the temperature dropped dramatically!
Soon I was setting up my bed under the Cantilever. I found a flat spot and stamped the snow down. I laid my foil sheet down first then the bivvy. I have learnt that in winter packing it all together works better! I had my mat and bag along with a foil backed piece of foam all ready just to roll out. The foam is a foil backed 3mm thing off eBay for £3.99. It makes a massive difference if you’re on the snow.
I was soon pulling on primaloft trousers and taking off damp base layers and putting on dry ones and down! Much more comfortable…and relax..
Dinner was soon on. Frost was already forming on everything. My Jetboil cartridge was covered but performed brilliantly. Soon I was having my well earned curry and coffee. I put my wine Platypus in the warm water to get it to temperature!!!
The stars were appearing but the million! I was so pleased at my decision. I love the Welsh mountains. Especially this area..It was going to be good..I took myself for a walk around the summit. I could see the odd headtorch light coming off Snowdon.; the last walkers nearing their cars. I was alone. Bliss. You could hear a pin drop. I went back to my bed and collected my wine. I sat in the snow and looked at the view. The twinkling lights of civilisation below and the twinkling stars of sheer happiness above me.. I pulled my buff up and closed my hood around my face, it was nippy! My wine cooled quickly on the snow!
Time to wander back for a top up! I sat on the Cantilever –on my sit mat of course- it was totally ice bound, and watched the stars. It was just amazing. The air was cold, very cold..I could feel the frost forming on my hood, I yawned and decided it was time to lie down. My back wasn’t great even with the painkillers. Soon I was snuggled in. I pulled my hood right over my head and lay under the finest blanket of stars. A huge shooting star split the night sky and burnt through orbit…my eyes filled with tears…whether from the cold or the beauty I’m not sure… I struggled to keep my eyes open as I tracked satellites going in all directions. Shooting stars kept coming…..sleep.
I woke to a world of frost! Everything was coated. I needed a wee……Great.. My boots were frozen solid…Great. I hate that! Soon I was back in my down cocoon and fast asleep again.
Morning was pitch black… I was boiling water at 6 for coffee; melting snow is a better description. I had porridge and tinned kippers. What a treat! I was trying to keep my camera warm for photos as I knew sunrise would soon be here. I hadn’t had tinned kippers before but I can strongly recommend them. I soon forced myself out into the cold…I shivered as I got out and started my photography.
Sitting on the Cantilever waiting for sunrise was a treat. The sun brought welcome colour to the dark blues. It was absolutely stunning; one of the best sunrises I have seen. I walked around in awe of my perfect surroundings. I felt privileged to be in such a place at such a time. Blissful. I was heading back to my bed when a runner appeared. We had a brief chat and I headed back to my ‘bedroom’.
The sun blazed through the icicles on the bottom of the Cantilever…just amazing… All to soon the sun was high and the pinks faded to yellows and the skies were perfect blue. It was time to pack up and head down. All my kit was covered in frost…I gave it a good shake and stuffed it all in my Exos. Done!
I put on my Kahtoola spikes and headed down; the neve was pretty good so much easier underfoot on the return! It was brilliant-not a breath of wind. Other ideas were forming to spend a second night on Moel Siabod but I would check the weather at the café.
I chatted to some guys who were on their way up. Everyone was in high spirits…I love seeing people happy! Soon I was back in the bog and nearing the car. I emptied my pack and started the drying process in case I was to be out again shortly.
Back at The Siabod Café I checked the forecast; whilst the night looked good there would be increasing winds and blizzards by 6am. Not ideal…I decided that my best bet would be to head home. After another latte I’d had a great night, my back ached and didn’t want to push my luck!