Saturday, 9 January 2010

Pen-Y-Fan - 9/1/10

Sounds like it was a busy day out on this hills today, as can be expected with this current weather. Snowboarders, climbers, dog walkers, and kids with sledges out in force.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of anyone to climb with and the aforementioned frustrating lack of transport, I didn't get out today and instead sat around indoors miserable for most of the day. Can't make it out tomorrow either, but hopefully can work something out for Monday, I quite fancy trying to get to torpauntau again after last nights fail.

Anyway, I digress.

Steve Fry has kindly sent through this report of the conditions on Pen-Y-Fan this morning.


So, having decided that Central Gully was going to be the objective of the day and having never been on the NE Face of Pen-y-Fan before I woke up with great excitement this morning. However no sooner had the 5am alarm gone off (I needed to be back for lunch!), I checked my phone to see my partner had gone down with food poisoning overnight.

Not to be deterred, and I have to say I enjoy soloing, I jumped in the car and headed to Storey Arms. -5 at the car park and I was away up the tourist path by 6.30am. Having left the car park under a starry sky it wasn't long before that turned into thick mist and a strong North Easterly wind. Got to the summit at 7.45am and the first challenge was going to be finding the North Ridge as visibility was now down to 20m. Navigation skills served me well and soon I was traversing onto the face, and decided to go for Central Rib. Thankfully the shelter of the Cwm now meant ther was no
wind at all, bizarre!

Snow conditions on the rib were as expected, a hard crust about an inch thick on top with then powder underneath, on top of generally frozen turf. The rib gives continuous enjoyment and basically you can make it as hard or as easy as you want dependent on what line you take through the rock bands. Highlight of the route is unquestionably the last 50 metres when you're picking your way through the headwall giving the route a real alpine ridge climb feel.

Topped out at about 11am to be greeted by hoards of skiers, snowboarders, and fellow winter climbers gearing up on the summit.

Route is probably worth its one star in the guidebook, but unquestionably needs the snow to firm up a bit more for it to be in top condition.
Here's hoping!

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