Glyder Fawr, having been resurveyed in 2010, tops out at 1001m making it the fifth highest mountain in Wales over 1000m (it had previously missed out at a mere 999m). There are several ways to reach the summit and we had planned to go via Tryfan and Bristly Ridge, but with a combination of strong wind, low cloud and snow we decided to leave this route for another day. Instead we started from the car park at the western end of Llyn Ogwen (where we marvelled at the low flying skills of the RAF pilots in their Tornado planes) and followed the ‘tourist’ route to Llyn Idwal. Halfway along the shore of Llyn Idwal we turned left (east) and climbed a steep slope to reach the start of Y Gribin ridge.
Y Gribin ridge is a grade 1 scramble in normal conditions but can be a grade 2 winter ascent. We encountered snow and ice at about 700m elevation which necessitated the safety of ice axes from there onwards (in more severe conditions crampons may be necessary). The final part of the ridge involves some pull-ups on rock until the slope flattens out to reach the col between Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr. Here the conditions were artic with high winds and white out conditions. We quickly proceeded westwards to the spiky summit of Glyder Fawr before descending towards the small lake of Llyn y Cwn and the steep man-made steps down the Devil’s Kitchen to reach Llyn Idwal again. From there an easy walk led us back to our car.
Some points to note. There is a fee for the use of the car park at Llyn Ogwen. We stayed the night before our walk at the newly refurbished YHA hostel at Pen-y-Pass. This excellent 5 star hostel has on-suite rooms, great food, wine and bottled craft beers, all at a reasonable price. Mallory stayed here (when it was previously a hotel) prior to the 1924 attempt on Everest.
A video of the trip is on Youtube http://youtu.be/grEJtd9-aj8