We down-climbed an exposed 6ft vertical section onto a 3ft ledge in hope of a route around one of the huge pinnacles that stand tall around us and make our route further up the ridge impossible. As we look around for a way out of this current section, a man we’ve never seen before pops round the corner from the place we were hoping would lead to a way out.
“Are you going that way?” We asked, pointing in the direction we came from. “No, I’m looking for a way out of here”.
That was definitely not what I wanted to hear after down-climbing one of the sketchiest sections of the route.
Further round Nick and Simon are attempting to climb over the next Pinnacle up an exposed crack, “There is no way I’m going up there” I thought.
Luckily, I didn’t have to. We walked further round and discovered a gully that climbed out of our tricky situation and put us safely on the summit of Glyder Fach.
Scrambling never fails to push my fear of heights to the absolute limit, and Bristly Ridge did not disappoint. I promised myself that I would never go back there. As a few days have gone by and I think about it more, I realise that I probably will end up there again, albeit with a little more knowledge about the route, and a bit more reassurance that we won’t be stuck up there waiting for Mountain Rescue.
Prior to this we had climbed the magnificent North Ridge of Tryfan, a stunning route which involves some moderate grade 1 scrambling. I’ve done the route four times now and never have I gone the same way up. After a difficult section which kick-started the scrambles on the route, we climbed up without great difficulty and managed most of the sections fairly confidently. Little did I know then that in an hour’s time we would be up on Bristly Ridge, doing some of the worst scrambling I’ve ever done.
We completed the day via the long walk that follows the ridge across the Glyders, ascending 4-500 vertical metres and back down several times. By the time we reached camp we had been out for over nine hours, three of which were scrambling and one of which I was crapping myself for.
Exhausted, but incredibly satisfied with the day we’d had, we fought off the midges and cooked steak on the BBQ.
I have some GoPro footage of our ascent but most of the scary Bristly Ridge stuff isn’t on there. I had packed the camera away on the summit of Tryfan and was too busy staying alive to be thinking about the GoPro once we’d started the left hand Gully at the foot of Bristly Ridge. I will compile this footage together with the next trip and put a North Wales edit together at some point.
Our next trip to Snowdonia is likely to be in September, where I’d be keen to climb Crib Goch, spend the night somewhere near the summit of Snowdon, then follow the horseshoe over Y Lliwedd before descending onto the foot of the Miners’ track.