Scrambling in Snowdonia

At the end of last week, Klaas (one of my best friends) and I drove to from Belgium to Wales dead-set on scrambling up Tryfan's North Ridge and hiking the Ogwen Valley in Snowdonia.

Scrambling means hiking up steep, rocky terrain using your hands, without the need for ropes or any other kind of protection. It's something between hiking and rock climbing.

Tryfan North Ridge
Tryfan's North Ridge silhouette next to lake Lyn Ogwen.

17 people died on Tryfan the past 30 years, and 516 parties had to be rescued. While the scrambling on Tryfan is rarely technically challenging, it can be dangerous and difficult at times (video of Klaas scrambling), especially when carrying heavy backpacks. Tryfan shouldn't be taken lightly.

It took us five hours to make it to the top — and it's taking me four days to recover so far. After we reached the top, we descended a few hundred meters and found a patch of grass where we could set up our tent.

Our tent setup on a small ridge on Tryfan
Our campsite on a ridge on the back of Tryfan. The views were spectacular.

Carrying those heavy backpacks paid off not only because we were able to bring our camping supplies but also because Klaas carried up a steak dinner with cocktails — a late birthday surprise for my 40th birthday. Yes, you read that correctly: a steak dinner with cocktails on top of a mountain! It was a real treat!

Grilling a steak on a small ridge on Tryfan
Making cocktails on a small ridge on Tryfan

During dinner, the weather started to turn; dark clouds came in and it started to rain. By night time the temperature had dropped to 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit). Fortunately, we were prepared and had hauled not only a tent and a steak dinner up the mountain, but also warm clothing.

Klaas wearing multiple layers of clothing when the night sets on Tryfan
The temperatures swung from 20ºC (68ºF) during the day time to 2ºC (35ºF) during night time. In the evenings, we were forced to put on warm clothes and layer up.

What didn't go so well was that my brand new sleeping pad had a leak and I didn't bring a repair kit. Although, sleeping on the ground wasn't so bad. The next morning, when we opened our tent, we were greeted not only by an amazing view, but also by friendly sheep.

A beautiful view from our tent
A sheep in front of our tent

The next two days, we hiked through the Ogwen Valley. Its wide glacial valley is surrounded by soaring mountains and is incredibly beautiful.

A stone wall with a step ladder
Dries standing on a cliff
Klaas resting on some rocks looking into the distance after scrambling up Tryfan
Refilling our water bottles on a creek

After three days of hiking we made it back to the base of Tryfan where it all started. We felt a big sense of accomplishment.

Klaas and Dries at the end of their trip
Selfie taken with Klaas' iPhone 8. Me pointing to the Tryfan's North Ridge where our hike began just three days earlier.

We hadn't taken a shower in four days, so we definitely started to become aware of each other's smell. As soon as we got to Klaas' Volkswagen California (campervan), we showered in the parking lot, behind the car. I ended up washing my armpits four times, once for each day I didn't shower.

Dries washing his hair

For more photos, check out my photo album.

db