Friday, January 18, 2008

Wonderful Tryfan

(Thanks to Mr Mackay for the photo, of the North Top from the summit)

Tryfan was the first real 'mountain' that I ever climbed. Prior to a week in Snowdonia with a group from Strode's College, I had spent many happy days wandering across the North Downs, trekking up scarp and down dip though the rolling English weald, and also a week staggering through the peat bogs of the Peak District. Scrambling up Tryfan's North ridge to the summit stones (known as Adam and Eve) was my first exposure to, well..... exposure, nearly 3,000 glorious feet of it down to the loch below. Though the scrambling is generally straightforward, Tryfan was a new an exhilarating experience.

Going back to Tryfan again - twenty years later was great. The first time I climbed it, I was young, light, and very fit and healthy - and it was a glorious summer's day. This time, I was the oldest, fattest and weariest member of the group - and not only was it Baltic, but the top 500ft or so were covered in ice. By the time we reached the ice layer it was too far to turn back - not out of sheer stubbornness, but because it actually safer to climb the last few hundred feet and then make the easier descent route - than to try and descend the slippery North ridge! In addition to this, on previous attempts on the hill I have avoided the North top, and skirted it up the gully to the east - but Alan and his pals (several of whom are hardened Alpinists) spent a lot of effort researching the hardest routes up the thing!

When we returned to Pete's Eats in Llanberis for a well-earned cuppa I was very satisfied with the day. My fears of being left languishing as the young-fit members of Alan's climbing club disappeared over the horizon had been unfounded, and I had managed not to fall off anything too significant. Along with meeting the array of fascinating characters with whom I was walking, it was especially good to be back on Tryfan - a wonderful hill.

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