Hills: Y Garn, Foel Goch, Elidir Fawr and Carnedd y Filiast
Date: Sunday 20th April 2014
Company: Just myself
Distance: 19.8km, Ascent: 1940m
Time: 7Hrs 25Mins

My plan A for today was to undertake the Snowdon Horseshoe. Given forecasted 60mph gusts I opted for Plan B instead. Plan B was to ascend Y Garn and Elidir Fawr i.e. two of my three remaining British >3000ft hills. After another outstanding breakfast in my B&B (I skipped two of the five courses) a long walk was definitely required. I drove to Ogwen where I parked at the roadside.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

From Ogwen, I followed the well-constructed track leading to Llyn Idwal. Unfortunately, all of the hills were capped in cloud throughout the morning.

Track leading from Ogwen to Llyn Idwal:

Y Garn and Foel Goch from track to Llyn Idwal:

On reaching Llyn Ogwen, I was aware of two options: i) skirt to the left for an ascent via the Devil's Kitchen or ii) ascend the NE ridge of Y Garn. I opted for an ascent via the Devil's Kitchen as this would take me below the Idwal slabs and I was interested to find out what the devil was cooking.

Cwm Idwal from Llyn Idwal:

The Devil's Kitchen is the dark chasm above the line of boulders in the next photo.

Cwm Idwal and Y Garn from Llyn Idwal:

I made fast progress up the hill as the track is excellent.

Looking back to Llyn Idwal and across to Pen yr Ole Wen:

From a distance, I could see other people ascending towards the Devil's Kitchen.

Track ascending towards Twll Du (zoom):

I stopped briefly to watch climbers on the Idwal slabs. There were three different groups already climbing shortly after 09:00.

Climbers on the Idwal slabs:

Looking back to Llyn Idwal:

After skirting round below the Idwal slabs I followed the track winding its way up through numerous large boulders towards the Devil's Kitchen.

Ascending towards Twll Du (Black Hole / Devil's Kitchen):

Looking back during ascent towards Twll Du:

On reaching the base of the chasm, I started scrambling upwards. This was to be a mistake!

Having heard of people ascending via the Devil's Kitchen what I didn't realise was they meant the easy path to the left of the chasm and not directly up the chasm itself.

I scrambled up the chasm getting wetter and wetter as I progressed upwards. Given the strong wind, the stream inside the chasm was like a power shower. The scrambling was awkward given the wetness of the rock but not unduly difficult. However, on reaching a really large chockstone, which I stood underneath, I could see no safe way up. From the waist down I was soaked through to the skin. I could see two slings on karabiners above me but one was out of reach. Anyway, I didn't want to risk pulling myself up on climbing gear when I had no idea what it was anchored to. As I could see no safe way up, I retreated slowly and with care back down to the base of the chasm. On getting back, I checked UK Climbing to find the chasm is graded VDiff and today it was a VDiff with water flowing down it. I'm glad I retreated.

From the base of the chasm, with water-filled boots, I squelched my way up a really well-constructed path up onto the ridge.

Wall on well-constructed path leading to Llyn y Cwn:

I had to stop a couple of times to pour the water out of my boots but opted to carry on as Smartwool socks tend to keep your feet warm even when wet.

Looking towards Y Garn from near Llyn y Cwn:

Looking back to Llyn y Cwn and cloud-capped Glyder Fawr:

The ascent of Y Garn was a straight-forward walk but was made difficult owing to the strength of the wind.

Ascending Y Garn:

On reaching the shelter I continued on without stopping.

Shelter at the summit of Y Garn:

During the descent from Y Garn, I encountered the strongest winds of the day. Strong enough to blow me off the path. However, one minute there would be really strong winds and the next no wind at all. It is quite bizarre how the wind can change force and direction so quickly.

Descent from Y Garn towards Foel Goch:

As I made my way towards Foel Goch the cloud started to lift above the summits.

Looking towards Elidir Fawr and Mynydd Perfedd:

The summit of Foel Goch teeters on the edge of a precipice. The cairn was quickly visited before moving back away from the edge.

At the summit of Foel Goch:

Looking back to Foel Goch:

Once back onto the track I made my way across to Elidir Fawr. Elidir Fawr was definitely the most impressive hill of the day.

Heading for Elidir Fawr:

The ridge out to Elidir Fawr was nice. I passed two other walkers who were coming back from Elidir Fawr and met one other at the summit. These were the first walkers I had met throughout the day. A complete change from the crowds on Tryfan the day previous.

Ridge leading to Elidir Fawr:

As I made my way along the ridge I got good views down to the Marchlyn Mawr reservoir.

Marchlyn Mawr reservoir:

Looking back to Foel Goch and Y Garn:

Looking towards summit cairn of Elidir Fawr from shelter:

Looking across Marchlyn Mawr to Carnedd y Filiast from Elidir Fawr shelter:

The chap I met at the summit offered to take my photo and I returned the favour. It was nice to chat for a short while before returning back along the ridge to the junction of paths.

Myself at the summit of Elidir Fawr:

Heading back from Elidir Fawr:

Next I ascended Mynydd Perfedd. On checking my GPS during the ascent I was surprised to find that I had already ascended more than the height of Ben Nevis.

Looking back to Foel Goch and Y Garn from ascent of Mynydd Perfedd:

Looking towards Carnedd y Filiast from Mynydd Perfedd:

Looking back to Elidir Fawr from Mynydd Perfedd:

From Mynydd Perfedd I continued on to Carnedd y Filiast. At the summit I chatted briefly with a couple of walkers. One was worried about me walking on my own in the mist. I assured him I have been up a few hills over the years and was happy enough on my own.

Summit of Carnedd y Filiast:

Next I descended to the North top before following a ridge leading down towards Bethesda. I wasn't sure if this was a normal ascent/descent route but there was a faint path along the ridge so I knew I would find a way off.

Looking towards descent ridge from Carnedd y Filiast (North top):

Descent ridge from Carnedd y Filiast (North top):

After descending a few hundred metres I decided to leave the ridge to descend via grass/heather slopes.

Descent to Nant Ffrancon:

I then had to walk circa 5-6km back along the road to Ogwen.

Walk back to Ogwen:

Walk back along road to Ogwen:

Walk back along road to Ogwen:

It was great to get back to the car and take off my wet boots. According to my GPS this walk involved an ascent of 1940m. I will be having an easier day tomorrow .