Trail (UK) - - SNOWDONIA -

1 SH668605 An early start will bet­ter yield a park­ing spot on a long lay-by on the A5’s south side. With a care­ful eye on the traf­fic, cross and reach Glan Dena club hut (please do not park in the grounds here). De­pend­ing on its lower reach, you may en­counter snow some­where above this lo­ca­tion, and your di­rec­tion is al­ways ‘up’, northerly and aim­ing for a stone wall/stile cross­ing at 550m height. At this point, bear­ing in mind the con­di­tions, you should con­sider whether cram­pons should be put on.

2 SH666617 Cross the stile and now keep close to Afon Lloer on your right. The route steep­ens as you carve round a spur and then flat­tens out again en route to Ffyn­non Lloer (llyn/ lake), within Cwm Lloer. Leave the stream in a west­erly di­rec­tion at 630m and head for the base of the east ridge spur, and a lit­tle to its northerly side, where the rocks are quite bro­ken and al­low good pas­sage. At SH662618 the ridge steep­ens for a short sec­tion where hands, and a win­ter axe pos­si­bly, will be needed for added se­cu­rity through this short sec­tion.

3 SH662618 Exit this steeper sec­tion of ridge and clam­ber over some fur­ther boul­ders on the path (the ‘path’ may be snow-cov­ered, but this is an ob­vi­ous spur/ridge­line now). Now the as­cent is bro­ken up into sec­tions of rock and flat­ter ground, al­ways with a steep drop on your right/to the north. At 900m al­ti­tude the route heads in a north-west­erly di­rec­tion to­wards the sum­mit plateau of Pen yr Ole Wen. Lo­cat­ing the sum­mit cairn in low vis­i­bil­ity may take more fo­cus, as the sum­mit area flat­tens out some­what. Flat stones and boul­ders strewn around the area can prove slip­pery when icy! There are ex­cel­lent views to the rest of the route from the top.

4 SH655619 From Pen

yr Ole Wen’s sum­mit area, curve north-west and keep the lip of the cwm on your right- hand side. De­pend­ing on con­di­tions, it’s cer­tainly worth ob­serv­ing the po­ten­tial for snow cor­nices to have built up any­where along the top of the Cwm Lloer. For ex­am­ple, if winds have been blow­ing from the south-west, then ex­pect any north-east slopes to be hold­ing more snow as it’s ‘dropped’ by the wind whip­ping over the moun­tain from the south-west. When us­ing a ridge edge to nav­i­gate by, keep fur­ther back than usual and away from any cor­niced edges. Fol­low the now flat­ter and broad ridge along to the rise of an an­cient Bronze Age cairned burial site, Carnedd Fach (Small Cairn – al­though it’s not!) at the 960m con­tour. 5 SH658626 Once on the north side of this im­pres­sive site, keep track on a north-east bear­ing, gain­ing height grad­u­ally, to­wards an­other an­cient cairn site (now a shel­ter) at SH661629. In poor vis­i­bil­ity, it is all too easy to pre­sume this is the sum­mit of Carnedd Dafydd. But the true sum­mit cairn lies about 100m north-east.

You will note the ground still ris­ing from this ‘im­poster’ cairn. Carry on to the sum­mit of Carnedd Dafydd.

6 SH663630 This is the ‘Cairn of Dafydd’ – Dafydd ap Gruf­fudd, the younger brother of Lly­we­lyn ap Gruf­fudd, a 13th cen­tury Prince of Wales. His cairn is the higher moun­tain to the north-east, the sec­ond high­est in Wales – Carnedd Llewe­lyn. Now head in an east­erly di­rec­tion, gen­tly los­ing height, for about 750m. In 200m you will no­tice the ridge line to the north (your left) be­comes closer and you’re walk­ing above a clas­sic win­ter climb­ing venue ‘Ys­go­lion Duon’ (Black Lad­ders). Again, keep a few me­tres (at least) back from the edge, de­pend­ing on the ev­i­dence of cor­nice build-up above this steep ground. 7 SH669630 Walk­ing 750m from Carnedd Dafydd, you are now on flat­ter ground, with im­pres­sive views to the bulk of Carnedd Llewe­lyn and a fan­tas­tic an­gle on Try­fan. Eas­ier ground to the south pro­vides a steady de­scent to­wards a flat knoll at 750m. It’s wise to take a bear­ing in poor vis­i­bil­ity, but the ground un­der­foot is nowhere steep. In cer­tain snow con­di­tions, this as­pect of slope is en­joyed by skiers. Note the fine view of the Gly­derau range to the south. De­scend for 900m. 8 SH669621 Just be­fore reach­ing the large knoll, you will no­tice a shal­low (grassy) gully de­scend­ing south-west. This of­fers a de­scent route to­wards Afon Lloer at SH666618. Once at the stream, keep it to your right to de­scend to a stone wall with stile across. A cou­ple of rocky out­crops can be avoided if they are kept to your right.

9 SH667617 Cross the stone wall via a stile at this point, and keep­ing the river on your right de­scend to SH667611 where you orig­i­nally crossed the stream on your as­cent. Then keep go­ing to the stile at SH667606, to reach Glan Dena club hut and the road again.

7.4km/4½ miles 6 hours

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