Carnedd Dafydd

Crib Lem Spur ascent of Carnedd Dafydd

“The preparation and the suffering, for those moments of elation high up in the clouds. I’m a mountaineer”

Seeing the weather looked good for Snowdonia in mid September it didn’t take long to decide a day out was in order. All Summer I’d wanted to take a look at the Crib Lem Spur on Carnedd Dafydd and with good weather, a route in the Carneddau would also be a perfect to escape the crowds. So I was up at 4:30am on Saturday the 12th, to drive over to Snowdonia, where I parked in a space in Gerlan (it’s a small part of Bethesda you reach by going West on the A5, driving down a tiny road past mining cottages and then at a sharp right going back up the hill). Out on the road, you just follow it and then over a couple of styles into open ground…

Into the Cwm the path goes from clambering over rocks in boggy ground to a nice easy faint trail. There was one opening to the right I passed which I almost considered but it’s fairly obvious from mid way in the walk that the huge outcrop off Carnedd Dafydd is the Crib Lem Spur. Best piece of information from the Cicerone book was to look for an area with large boulders, with a view up to Carnedd Dafydd like this…

view up Carnedd Dafydd

The walk up is actually quite steep and with the sun not hitting the rock yet it was a little slippery on the looser sections. Not much fun. But anyway after a steepish start/middle it flattens out and you quickly ascend around the corner of the crag and up. Then it’s as though you hit a wall where you could climb higher but the trail seemed to take me to the left naturally and there’s an obvious grassy platform going up back out toward the valley, which is what you want to follow. Reaching the end of the spur by taking this you then need to ascend a section of steep grass and some small rocky scrambles to make it to the start of the climbing proper…

I stuck to the crest throughout and had fun doing so. There is however a decent trail that runs through the scramble that you can almost always drop down to if you don’t fancy climbing it all. The scrambling is mostly simply stuff, although as usual I perhaps didn’t do things the easy way a couple of times and so found a few moves more demanding, but nothing too bad. Whilst not quite the quality of what you’ll find in the Glyders, the setting of this scramble is great and you’ll feel very much on your own, unlike the other classics which become very crowded. Descent would be fine through the scramble although the walking either side is a little steep and over some loose rock, so if you’re not keen on scree be aware of that.

Up on top of Carnedd Dafydd I started to see I wasn’t quite so alone on the mountain with people littered across the ridge. Picking up my pace I was soon over at Pen yr Ole Wen and then back over Carnedd Dafydd before a short stop to drink a little more, eat a cereal bar and look at the spur from the side.

Carnedd Dafydd Summit

I carried on the fairly long ridge walk toward Carnedd Llewellyn where I met another walker intending on a similar list of peaks. On top of Carnedd Llewellyn, with clouds coming in and drinks in particular running low I decided it would be best to just ascend Yr Elen then descend back toward Bethesda, so we walked out together, descending via Yr Elen’s North Ridge that I’ve been up a couple of times this year, which again is a tiny bit steep but nothing tricky at all.

It was a fantastic day and great to finally check out what turns out to be a good, fun route in the Carneddau. I’m not rushing to go back but it makes for a nice change from the more crowded peaks/routes in the region and so is well worth doing. I was a little disappointed to not see the 3000s I’m yet to ascend, but the day felt fairly long and the weather did close in when we descended, so I guess I wouldn’t have seen much of them had I carried on. My watch recorded (most of) the day at over 8hrs, more than 13 miles of walking and with over 5,000ft of altitude gain, so a pretty good day out! With a lot of running coming up (I’m preparing for the New York Marathon) I may be a little quiet for walking in the coming month or so, which means a couple of posts relating to bits from my past, but don’t be too surprised to see photos/videos of me being battered by sideways rain on Snowdon… you can’t beat it.

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