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Tryfan East 2 days / 10 miles (16km)

OS Route Map → Map Route file →

Date: 15 Apr 2014
Start / Finish: Capel Curig car park.
Maps: OL17: Snowdonia & Conwy Valley or Harvey Superscale Snowdonia.

Day 1Gallt yr Ogof, Y Foel Goch & Tryfan5.9miles / 3297 feet (9.5km / 1005m)
Day 2Llyn Caseg-fraith & Y Foel Goch3.6miles / 360 feet (5.8km / 110m)
Pitch at Llyn Caseg-fraith

A short 2-day out-and-back solo trip approaching Tryfan from the east via Gallt yr Ogof and Y Foel Goch.

Another two days of almost unbroken sunshine and superb mountain scenery, this was an excellent chance to revisit the phenomenally popular Tryfan before the Easter hordes invaded its boulder pile - we last climbed it over seventeen years ago. Despite the weekday strategy, there were so many people congregated around its famous apex monoliths that no acceptable photos of the summit area were possible in any direction - I really don't like humans in shot.

I also have an innate dislike of out-and-back routes but I made an exception here, partly to keep the exertion under control but mainly to give myself plenty of time for a relaxed first pitch at Llyn Caseg-fraith, a superb location.

Day 1 - Gallt yr Ogof, Y Foel Goch & Tryfan

The map shows a pecked path ascending Gallt yr Ogof via its eastern ridge, departing close to Gelli Farm near the car park. I must have missed the start point and I struck out in roughly the right direction over pathless but easy terrain towards the skyline. Before long I picked up an indistinct path that asserted itself higher up and followed a clear enough line along the ridge, later crossing a couple of ladder stiles along the way. On cresting the visible skyline the summit came into view and seemed surprisingly distant. The undulating lower part of the ridge gives views over Llynnau Mymbyr to Moel Siabod.

A few short steeper sections brings the crest of the ridge and the character of the outlook changes abruptly as Tryfan looms into view. A short walk NE is the summit cairn of Gallt yr Ogof, affording grand clear views of the Carneddau and ahead to Y Foel Goch.

Llynnau Mymbyr & Moel Siabod
Llynnau Mymbyr & Moel Siabod (15 Apr 2014__09:24:51)
View ahead to Gallt yr Ogof
View ahead to Gallt yr Ogof (15 Apr 2014__09:25:23)
Carnedd Llewelyn & Pen yr Helgi Du from Gallt yr Ogof
Carnedd Llewelyn & Pen yr Helgi Du from Gallt yr Ogof (15 Apr 2014__11:02:23)
Pen Llithrig y Wrach & Creigiau Gleision from Gallt yr Ogof
Pen Llithrig y Wrach & Creigiau Gleision from Gallt yr Ogof (15 Apr 2014__11:02:33)
View ahead to Y Foel Goch
View ahead to Y Foel Goch (15 Apr 2014__11:03:27)

The bwlch before Y Foel Goch has an attractive pool and much boggy ground either side, requiring some deft footwork today to proceed dryshod to the good upward path. There were already a few people sitting at the summit cairn - this was one of only a handful of Nuttall summits that we failed to have to ourselves first time around (Tryfan was of course one of the others).

I moved swiftly on down to the broad grassy bwlch around Llyn Caseg-fraith, spending a while inspecting the prospects for a pitch before locating the direct path to Bwlch Tryfan that arcs around Cwm Tryfan with only a little loss of height and reascent. From this path the stature of Tryfan's towering rock cone becomes much more apparent.

Y Foel Goch from the bwlch
Y Foel Goch from the bwlch (15 Apr 2014__11:16:23)
Llyn Caseg-fraith & Glyder Fach
Llyn Caseg-fraith & Glyder Fach (15 Apr 2014__11:49:12)
Glyder Fach
Glyder Fach (15 Apr 2014__11:57:26)
Tryfan
Tryfan (15 Apr 2014__12:14:05)

At Bwlch Tryfan was an assortment of walkers at the base of the mountain including a guided group directly ascending the South Peak. The vast majority start at an easily visible fragment of path further left, but higher up they diverge into a plethora of lines amid the huge boulders, an ascent that in some places seemed much more scrambly to me than I remember. At any rate my choice of line, although most enjoyable, involved a couple of moderately hard moves before I arrived at the summit maelstrom of chattering people, whirring cameras and wheeling seagulls.

My descent was really slow, not surprising as scrambling downwards is more difficult especially over large skew boulders, but also I'm a lot more conscious of possible damage to my joints these days. This time I encountered the momentary exposed bit near the summit where a couple of steps are taken on the very brink of a precipitous drop, a spot that reputedly causes alarm for the timid - my upward line must have bypassed it. I eventually regained the bwlch with some relief and recrossed the ladder stile, capturing a view over Cwm Tryfan and taking a rest.

Llyn Bochlwyd & Y Garn from Bwlch Tryfan
Llyn Bochlwyd & Y Garn from Bwlch Tryfan (15 Apr 2014__12:54:09)
Cwm Tryfan & Drws Nodded from Bwlch Tryfan
Cwm Tryfan & Drws Nodded from Bwlch Tryfan (15 Apr 2014__15:02:24)

I retraced my steps around the cwm to Llyn Caseg-fraith and soon found a dry shelf close to the lake, a magnificent spot with a view of Tryfan across the water from the tent door and reflections in the evening light as the sun sank behind the mountain silhouettes. A curious effect was obvious from this spot: I could distinctly hear the voices of walkers descending from Glyder Fach even when they were still near the top, almost clear enough to hear the conversation.

Pitch at Llyn Caseg-fraith
Pitch at Llyn Caseg-fraith (15 Apr 2014__17:16:59)
Pitch at Llyn Caseg-fraith
Pitch at Llyn Caseg-fraith (15 Apr 2014__18:28:11)
Sunset & reflections in Llyn Caseg-fraith
Sunset & reflections in Llyn Caseg-fraith (15 Apr 2014__19:52:31)

Day 2 - Llyn Caseg-fraith & Y Foel Goch

During the night a fresh cold wind developed and the warming dawn sun was most welcome as I surveyed a splendid glowing prospect from the tent door with a hot brew. The easy return schedule allowed plenty of time to explore the perimeter of the lake, a mixture of low rocky outcrops, dry grass and squelchy bog.

Wild goats roam this area, a small herd had arrived at the eastern end of the lake and were quite untroubled as I passed through them. I varied the return a little by climbing to Y Foel Goch on the edge of Cwm Gwern Gof for a view down into the valley.

Dawn at Llyn Caseg-fraith pitch
Dawn at Llyn Caseg-fraith pitch (16 Apr 2014__07:51:08)
Dawn at Llyn Caseg-fraith pitch
Dawn at Llyn Caseg-fraith pitch (16 Apr 2014__07:52:43)
Llyn Caseg-fraith & Glyder Fach
Llyn Caseg-fraith & Glyder Fach (16 Apr 2014__07:54:05)
Early sky over Llyn Caseg-fraith
Early sky over Llyn Caseg-fraith (16 Apr 2014__08:21:48)
Goats near Llyn Caseg-fraith
Goats near Llyn Caseg-fraith (16 Apr 2014__08:48:00)
Goats near Llyn Caseg-fraith
Goats near Llyn Caseg-fraith (16 Apr 2014__08:51:05)
Cwm Gwern Gof from Y Foel Goch
Cwm Gwern Gof from Y Foel Goch (16 Apr 2014__09:05:16)
Yr Wyddfa range from Y Foel Goch
Yr Wyddfa range from Y Foel Goch (16 Apr 2014__09:08:39)
Moelwyn Mawr & Cnicht from Y Foel Goch
Moelwyn Mawr & Cnicht from Y Foel Goch (16 Apr 2014__09:09:08)
Pen Llithrig y Wrach & Creigiau Gleision from the lower ridge
Pen Llithrig y Wrach & Creigiau Gleision from the lower ridge (16 Apr 2014__10:25:30)

Approaching Capel Curig I had time to investigate the lower reaches of the path shown on the map. I found the correct terminus of the path this time, but only after exploring and ruling out bogus lines created by the farmer on his quadbike, who happened to appear chugging aloft as I walked down, waving cheerily as he passed.