Flying Butt, Spiral Stairs, and Tryfan

Friday, 15th July 2016 (travel)

Left around 7 pm and due to a road closure, and somewhat confusing phone-based navigation, we ended up in Whitchurch for curry at 10 pm. Which worked out okay, since we had an absolutely exceptional curry for <10GBP per head. And, I got to sleep the rest of the way to Capel Curig. Woke up on arrival just long enough to put up the tent, crawl into a sleeping bag, and fall asleep again.

Saturday, 16th July 2016

Helen, then later Chris, came to find us (Janice, Markus, Neil, and myself) sometime around 8-30am next morning. Leisurely breakfast in the Bryn Tyrch camping field, after which we decided it was a bit too wet to go climbing, so we’d go scrambling up Tryfan instead.

Parked next to Llyn Ogwen, just off the road, and then set off up the north face of Tryfan, around 11 am. There are almost endless options for unroped climbing (scrambling). We mostly chose moderate options – I needed my bag hauled up twice to be able to make it up a section. It was not very dog friendly, so Helen + Mya, decided harness shopping in the village was perhaps a better bet – they left after the first 150 m or so.

The top (913 m) was a bit grim. But, despite the rain, it was still very nice to have lunch (2 pm, perhaps?) then we headed down off the south side and doubled back on the main path, east of the mountain, and got back to the car around 4 pm.

We found Helen and Mya, complete with a beautiful new doggy-style harness in Capel Curig. Helen announced she was going a-la-Howard for a lake swim – it had just about stopped raining by then.  So we all went : – ).  Without first Helen, then Neil going in, I might well have bailed – it was a little chilly. But five of us ended having a rather refreshing 15 min swim – with some even managing it true a-la-Howard style : -).

The Bryn Tyrch Inn in Capel Curig for a dinner and a few pints. But, arggh! Its gone all fine-dining-gastropub-y.  Will probably try elsewhere next time. We discussed plans for the next day, and the sky had cleared by the time we got back to the camping field.

Sunday, 17th July 2016

Sunday was sunny and calm. Had another very leisurely breakfast, including fried sausage and melted cheese sarnies and a good few cups of tea before packing up the tents and heading off towards Dinas Cromlech on the Llanberis pass around 10 am. Perhaps because of the gorgeous weather, getting a parking spot was really difficult. After some debate, eventually Helen decided Mya would prefer to do some more waterfall walking/harness training and headed off, whilst Chris and Markus dropped J,N,&I at the foot of the Dinas Cromlech approach, and then headed off to find a parking spot elsewhere. 12ish we were assembled to walk/scramble up to the bottom of the climb.

Chris’s choice: Flying Buttress, rated as a top 100 climb in the UK. The last party were just about to head up it as we got to the foot. Chris led it once they had cleared the first pitch, starting at 1 pm, and I followed him up. Absolutely perfect climbing conditions, so of course no-one took a camera(!). The parties ahead were however very slow. So what we thought would take an hour or two, turned into four, as we sunned ourselves for a veeeeerry looooong time at the belay points, waiting for those ahead to finish. This was J’s first multi-pitch climbing, and she made a fine job of following up M, alongside N.

Eventually we got to the top of F But. Chris and I then scarpered down to the bottom to eat lunch. Which it turned out someone had, ahem, forgot. But two muesli bars in the bottom of a pack sufficed and the weather was still beautiful, so we decided we’d have a go at another multi-pitch route: Spiral Stairs.

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Spirally spirally stairs. A much more exciting route. Our version in blue dots, courtesy of Chris. Ta.

This one is difficult to get the route right. Neither Chris nor I knew it, and it has quite a lot of horizontal sections. However having made pretty much every possible mistake in route finding, I think we will both probably remember it rather well if we ever have the pleasure of doing it again : -). With the extra down climbed sections, and Chris’s additional 20 m ascent of a HS somewhere in the middle, SS in the end took an F.But.-like 4 hours. Ooops. We were at least back down in the light, and drove off around 9 pm. Thanks to M,N,&J for very kindly heading off to collect cars whilst C&I looked all over Dinas Cromlech for the actual SS route.

Many many thanks to M – for doing all the driving – on a heroic amount of caffeine infused drinks. Whilst I again managed to sleep : – ) Lets do it all again sometime soon, guys! I might even lead something…

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