NW Carneddau: Cwm Caseg circuit 2-day backpack

Ffynnon Caseg & mountain cirque at the cwm headA 2-day mountain circuit centred on Cwm Caseg in the NW Carneddau. The outward route follows the north side of the Afon Caseg valley and ascends into the heart of the cwm to Ffynnon Caseg, then climbs Yr Elen and Carnedd Llewelyn. The return route is via Foel Grach and the mountains along the Carnedd Gwenllian / Gyrn Wigau chain.

The first objective of this backpack was to explore the superb mountain scenery in the tightly enclosed twisting Cwm Caseg, including the often seen but seldom visited Ffynnon Caseg.

The second was to climb Yr Elen via its well defined and fairly sharp east ridge, an ascent line we have often pondered from afar but never seen described in any walk reports.

The dominant high pressure chart predicted an almost windless spell – accurate, but giving little hint of the conditions. The very humid air produced a sharp contrast between morning and afternoon: clear skies and dew drenched landscapes at first but giving way to dense haze and high cloud with very limited views by afternoon.

I also had some new kit to test: a 53l backpack, solo tent and sleeping mat.

Full report & photos

8 thoughts on “NW Carneddau: Cwm Caseg circuit 2-day backpack

  1. That’s an interesting route, Geoff…and quite coincidental as I’ve recently been pondering a similar route, taking in Cwm Caseg and ascending Yr Elen, which I’ve yet to visit. My problem however, is a 285 mile drive in. I want to camp high, but I doubt I’d have the energy reserve to make it to the plateau near Foel Grach. Reversing the route would therefore make more sense pitch wise, but then I’m faced with a potential knee killing descent at Yr Elen. Hmm…more pondering needed!
    As always, thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Thanks again Jim.
    That’s a long drive-in and something to consider for the pitch location, especially with the nights closing in. My route gives a satisfying traverse of Yr Elen, as opposed to the usual out-and-back from the Llewelyn side, and by the best ascent line by far in my view. The descent of Yr Elen on its east, north or south sides would be a knee-wobbler.

  3. Ffynnon Casg has always fascinated me on the few times I’ve been up Yr Elen. Had no idea the E ridge was such a splendid route as well. One for the future. What’s the new tent?

  4. The cwm and ridge ascent is well worth the longish approach up the valley, definitely one to note. The tent is a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 with a new HH5000 ground sheet, I guess I’ll be writing it up when I get time.

  5. It’s a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 with a new HH5000 groundsheet, I’m very pleased with it on its first outing, extremely simple to pitch and highly livable. I’m gradually writing it up for the main website, I need a few more pictures.
    I never filter water or treat it in any way, on this trip I collected water before the pitch on the descent from Llewelyn, not from the tarn.

  6. Sorry a bit of a late comment, but catching up on blogs. A very interesting route there and as usual stunning pictures. great shot of the tent with the ponies really like that one. I had a plan to camp out on Foel Grach myself last Friday but had seconds thoughts as I didn’t fancy driving all the way to Wales to get soaked and battered by the elements, hopefully try again in 2 weeks.

  7. Thanks Phil, most obliging of the ponies to arrive for that shot, I really like that one too.
    Probably a wise decision, that flat plateau would be very exposed indeed in stormy weather.

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