Tryfan North Ridge and South Ridge (kind of) 4/8/2018

Carly and I had travelled to Wales on Friday and wild camped ( https://www.cogsandcrags.co.uk/wild-camp-adventure/ ) before heading to a campsite very early on Saturday morning almost at the foot of Tryfan. We found a fantastic spot on the campsite next to a little stream and pitched our tent and got the burner on the go for a coffee.

Carly soon realised that I literally don’t function without a good couple of coffees inside me in the morning. I could see Tryfan from where we were camping and the shape of the mountain was impressive. This huge ridge filling the view. I was excited and nervous all at the same time.

Carly and I switched our essentials into smaller bags than we had carried the night before and set off walking into Idwals in search of bacon. Unfortunately bacon was not meant to be and so we settled for a sausage roll and bakewell slice. We headed back along the a5 and decided to go through a gate that lead straight onto scrambling on some rocks rather than the gate further down that takes you to the steps that begin the ascent. We stopped a few times to look at the climbers along this stretch and then headed over a ladder stile over a wall to join the usual path up the first section.

As it was a nice day, there were many people out enjoying this fantastic mountain. The sun was shining but it wasn’t too hot and the majority of people had a smile on their face. We got chatting to many people during the day some of which I will talk about later in this post.

We headed up following small paths with many rocks to climb over before we got to the main scrambling section. We made our own way round and kept bumping into people who had chosen different routes but the routes always came back to similar points. A man and lady stopped us at one point and asked if the route we were following would take them to the cannon (a huge over hanging rock where many people like to walk out and have their photo taken). Carly and I were unsure and so we stopped a fell runner who informed us that we could take any route and that we would come across the cannon about half way up. He also then went on to mention it was his 3rd run up Tryfan that day (I thought we were bonkers). He has an injury in his heel and so he was working hard to keep it going. We said our goodbyes and continued along our way. The man and lady went on ahead of us and we mooched along at our own pace.

We later met back up with them as Carly and I were discussing which part to scramble next. They were round a corner and I heard someone shout down to them that the route we were looking at was the better option. This was “orange t-shirt man” as I called him for the rest of the day. We all headed up this section and again they went off ahead. The next time we saw them I popped my head up from a rock and saw the man standing on the cannon, about halfway along. I shouted “that’s not on the edge” which made us all laugh. The lady was taking his photo. Carly and I had assumed they were a couple however they told us that she was taking photos for his tinder page. We found this rather amusing and forever more, his nickname is ‘tinder dude’.

He said to Carly and I “right you both get on the cannon together and I’ll take photos”. I handed over my phone and headed to the cannon. I started off crawling along it and soon realised why he had only gone halfway, it really did feel exposed out on that rock. Carly followed behind as we are laughing about how scary it actually was. I managed to stand about three quarters of the way along. I was ready to get down and the decided to see if I could crawl to the edge. I did but there was no way I was standing so I laid along the top with my face over the edge whilst holding on for dear life. Carly came up behind me and laid on top. Much to not only our amusement but everyone around. Photos and videos done here and we once again continued on our way up.

We came to a spot which for me was the most exposed section of the day, a small overhanging slab on a corner which sloped downwards and we had to climb over and round it. Carly was faffing around close by (I won’t share too much information about that!) whilst I was hanging on, absolutely killing myself laughing because I couldn’t get round this corner. As Carly returned to me and found some good handholds I managed to follow her round. Shortly after we reached a section where there were some large rocks and a gully, from what I could see, we either needed to do a free climb or take a long jump down. I spotted ‘orange t-shirt man’ and asked how he had got round. He pointed us in the right direction over a certain rock which made getting into the gully easier and the climbing onto a rock shelf. Seeing as there was a tricky scramble where his mum had got stuck, he came and sat at the top and waited to make sure we were ok. We both got through this section fine and thanked him muchly.

The scramble continued to the top, I was absolutely in my element, climbing rocks and looking at the stunning views.

We reached the top just as ‘Tinder dude’ made his leap across Adam and Eve, 2 unique rock pillars at the top of Tryfan. Prior to heading off, Carly and I had a go at jumping the 1.5 metre distance thay we knew stoof between these rocks. Carly jumped just short and so we laughed that she would bang her chin on her near miss and I managed the distance however I couldn’t stop myself upon landing. With the vision in my head of me running straight off the side of a mountain, I decided I probably shouldn’t make the attempt. I kond of regret this decision now but I feel it was a sensible one. We took some time to watch everyone else do the leap and encourage some that were struggling. ‘Orange t-shirt man’ was there with his mum and they managed to get a mid air photo of ‘Tinder dude’ and his leap.

We started to set back down but I decided to look for the geocache at the top (after high fiving one man for being one of the only men we had seen this day with dry shorts, it was a revelation). We couldn’t work out where the geocache was supposed to be. Orange t-shirt man was interested in what we were doing as at first ge thought we were lost and trying to figure out our way back down and spent a good 20 minutes searching with us and laughing as he thought perhaps we were having him on. We weren’t but we didn’t find the cache (well Carly did but we didn’t realise it was the cache and so another trip for this purpose is needed.) and so we set off down the South ridge with orange t-shirt man and his mum and partner.

Eventually, they took a shortcut path and we continued along our way until Carly said that her knees were hurting. We decided to take the steeper and shorter route through the heather. There were lots of wild blueberry bushes which was nice to see. We had a sit down near some climbers and had a snack before making our final descent. Walking back along the a5, we saw orange t-shirt man’s mum and got chatting for a while. Orange t-shirt man it turns out was called Lee (who knew he had a name 😂 haha) and he had already set off home. We said goodbyes and headed back to the campsite for a well deserved shower and barbeque.

After having returned home I have realised that this scramble and ridge is probably my favourite so far. I look forward to embarking on more adventures but I definitely want to return here with the rest of the cogs and crags group.