0 to –8°C. April northerly. Mostly clear sky.
Full mountain day, after packing up camp, I heard the car rumble by, my colleagues had arrived. We convened a meeting around an outside table to decide which route.
Choices ranged from 7 to 12 miles. The big one got the go-ahead. Initially, there is a climb out of the valley along well maintained paths. Meltwater ran down and exposed ice on top of slate. Slate can be slippery at the best of times, but with ice!?
Before the first kilometer, it was apparent that we’d headed up the wrong valley. We wanted north and faced West. Oops.
I proposed that we take a quad bike track over the spur and intercept the path. Good.
Route mended, white summits poked above the grassy ridge.
From this point, the walk became fantastic. Fantastic in the sense that we strode out into a wonderland of snow and ice sculptures. Crunchy snow like this offers good grip and filled over those hollows between tussocks.
The higher we got, the more fantastic the scene became. Wind was the sculptor here, and it had been very creative. Grid wire fences had long crystal growths of water ice, razor sharp and pointing downwind. Either the ice grew quickly, or the north wind had remained this way for days.
Worrying about time, we decided to skip Cadair Bronwyn and descent from the Bwlch before.
The walk out was a considerable distance along sheep filled valleys.
Getting dark, we made camp at about 6pm. I was tired, partially my own fault. I didn’t eat enough. My boots repeatedly unlaced, the laces had iced up and slid loose.