With a good forecast and a drop in temperatures since Sunday night, we were eager to make time to get out today (which means we will now be working late this evening!) It was a case of seeing what was about and, after discounting Snowdon for a change of scene, it was Ogwen’s turn to provide some entertainment. Driving up the A5, it was Cwm Lloer below Pen yr Ole Wen that caught our eye. ‘Head of the White Slope’ is one of the accepted translations of this Welsh mountain, and it was very apt today – the whole cwm looking much more inviting for our objectives of playing on steeper ground and searching out snow gullies for soloing, than our other options of Y Garn and Cwm Cneifion.
Snow was pleasantly like sugary to hard neve – firm enough now to take weight throughout and consolidating well in the colder temperatures, but still some ‘give’ for the slopes we were on not to be too intimidating. There were choices of well trodden steps in the gullies we visited or you could take your own line elsewhere, loving the crampon work! We scoped out Hourglass Gully, down The Headwall, up Col Gully and followed Pen yr Ole Wen’s classic ridge down. Just a lovely day out.
I was pleased to ascend Hourglass, as I’d not revisited the area since January 2011 and seeing the sad outcome of a climbing accident from the gully. There are of course many other people who would have been affected by this accident in more immediate ways, but I still do think of this tragic episode when I’m on steeper ground, so today was my way of paying respect to that climber, his family and friends and building my confidence again to enjoy our winter mountains.