winter after a fashion
Yesterday we completed the classic circuit of Cadair Idris from the south, starting from Minffordd. It's not a long circuit, perhaps 7 miles, but with 1000m of ascent and descend thrown in.
The weather forecast had deteriorated overnight and low cloud was prevalent as we set off ("anticyclonic gloom" Geoff Monks is currently describing it as on MWIS, great phrase!). It hovered over Llyn Caw as we turned south to ascend the ridge, and soon we were in it, viewless as we crunched over the haw frosted grass, skirted the snow patches, and trod carefully across the numerous icy stretches.
But things began to brighten just as we approached the 791m cairn, and on the ridge of Craig Cwm Amarch we broke free of the cloud.
The snow and ice was more prevalent from here, and several people turned back, concerned about the scope for a slip, or the time it might take to get up and back.
In fact the conditions weren't that bad - I'm confident we'd have tackled them regardless, but we got out our poles and put on microspikes and made pretty swift progress (we'd left our axes in the car but in these conditions they wouldn't actually have been useful).
As we headed up towards Penygadair summit the inversion shifted around just below us but at times the views were quite extensive.
(At one point a summit rose above the cloud well to the south - I couldn't decide whether it was likely to be Plynlimon or if we could see all the way to the Beacons - any ideas?)
There were quite large snow banks sticking to the northern cliffs, and an ice axe would definitely have been needed by anyone wishing to access the Foxes Path for descent to Llyn y Gadair.
We dispensed with the microspikes for the stroll over to Mynydd Moel, followed by the pretty direct decent south to Moelfryn and the connection with our outward path through the trees, finishing just before dark.
Nice Matt !
Only been to the summit once, it's seems a long time ago now . Looks like you got enough views to make it worth while.Not sure which summit it was that you saw, it's hard to gauge distances through breaks in the cloud
Thanks for the comments folk.
I reckon the Minffordd route easily beats the approaches from the north by the Pony Path or Foxes Path. So unless you're up for scrambling the Cyfrwy arete it's the one I'd recommend for views and atmosphere.
The other route I find very satifying is the full E-W traverse, but it does involve faffing around with 2 cars unless you can spare the time to make a long circuit, possibly with a summit camp....
Looks like a great walk. I hope to get up there one day too.
We had good views in the Black Mountain yesterday - mostly sunshine till later in the day- though similar conditions underfoot. Microspikes n poles definitely an advantage.
Good stuff, Matt. Nice pics too.
Which microspikes do yopu use? And with what sort of boots?
Thanks Mole - we keep thinking we should head to the Black Mountains sometime
Skip, we have the Kahtoola Microspikes, got them about 4 years ago when they were the only flavour available, and we find we use them far more than full crampons. They're much nicer to walk in, especially over mixed ground. I expect the Hillsounds and Pogu models available now are very similar but I've not tried them.
Yesterday I had my Meindle Borneos on and MoS was wearing some old Brasher boots, not sure which model but pretty bendy. I've used my Microspikes with some Salomon Elios Mids in the past as well.
Ta Matt. Am I right in thinking that micros are adaptable to a wider range of footwear than 'proper' crampons and less reliant on the rigidity of the boot?
Hmmm, that's a good point. I can think of situations where I'd use them on both fellshoes and on boots.
I've read a lot of good reports about Kahtoola microspikes though. Maybe I'll give them a whizz if there's much snow in the Lakes when I go in March.
You might be OK Matt.
I've now worn my yaktraks on my Scarpa Mantas, and North Face Hedgehogs and they felt secure on both*. The binding looks similar to Kahtoolas.
*On one occasion, jumping across a groughandkicking into the frozen snow on the other side, part of the front right binding needed a bit of attention for (this was the manta).
Nice photos and viesa Matt, I havent had a chance to use my Pogus yet, time will tell
edit, Like the fence .
Matt C wrote (see)
I have seen Cadair Idris very clearly from Drygarn Fawr just north of Llanwrtyd Wells, but not from Pen y Fan. It was so clear that day, you could probably have spotted Cadair from further south with the same elevation as from Drygarn Fawr (641m). Never seen it from the Brecon Beacons. However... Viewfinderpanoramas suggests the line of sight is there. Now, Pen y Fan's north face has been covered in snow and could have been strikingly white enough to be visible.
Or it may just have been Plynlimon
I'd not seen those panoramas either - pretty good, especially once you increase the viewing size from what loads originally (in my browser anyway).
Given the relative positions, and the conditions, I'm inclined to think it was Plynlimon that was visible on Saturday.
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