Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cold and snow

Yesterday I hied me off to Wales, the drive took much longer than I expected - 2.5 hours, and parked the car in some mud and walked off up Aran Fawddy.


It was breezy in the valley, so I expected things to be a little windier up high. After walking up the valley;

and onto the first slog up to Drysgol, at 700M, I realised just how windy it was. I had to struggle upwards into a howling gale. I haven't felt such a strong cold wind before. The wind was making little snow devils;


But what a brilliant day out ! After slogging up the long boring slopes to the ridge, it was fun ! Some really deep drifts, I went up to my thighs a couple of times, and ice-covered rocks made it exiting, I actually had to use my ice axe, and thought about putting my crampons on.
(Camp crampons, very camp). But doing anything in that wind was a struggle. I had to put the hood of my jacket up to keep my hat on, and help keep my face warm. Not felt such a cold wind since a ride down to Evesham in January 2003 ! That was the first time I had worn my Rab jacket on a real mountain. It did pretty well, almost perfect. The cheap Decathlon climbing trousers with their strengthened knees and bum performed well also. The Salomon boots were fine on snow, warm and felt good on steep rocks, but the treads are crap. The heels are too narrow and the tread on the toes too shallow. I'll look for a pair with a decent commando pattern sole next time. I almost slipped over a couple of times on the muddy walk in.

The summit trig point, covered in cold stuff;


It was far too windy to take pictures from the top. Some brilliant views of surrounding hills, This is looking West to Cadair Idris:

The whole thing took five hours, so going up 800 Metres and along 5 miles and back meant 1 mph and 160M per hour. As my rucksac was moderatly heavy (I nearly fell a couple of times coping with it) this is hopefully good training for my planned escapade in the Pyrenees.
Next step, climb a long way, camp and back. I guess the only Snowdonian mountains I haven't climbed yet - The Carneddseses - will be the site for this feast of fun. Sleep, in a tent, in a crappy bit of matierial lying on the ground ? Me ? Cog of that ilk ?
Ha hahahahhaahahaha. Ha. etc.
Did 30 miles around Uplands etc on Saturday. Then put front disk on mtb. Didn't go out Sunday, went to Dads and took out rotten stump of Rowan tree from his front garden.
Back at the car (still there and not broken into) I changed and off I drove. Didn't feel tired, just slightly sore feet and achy legs. Long, meandering drive home.
Bored and pissed off as ever, must get my arse in gear and do something, like, err, what ?

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