Ascent of Pen y Fan on 2014-09-04

Climber: Marcus Lostracco

Date:Thursday, September 4, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pen y Fan
    Elevation:2907 ft / 886 m

Ascent Trip Report

I got booted out of my hotel due to the NATO summits going on, so I took the opportunity to book something close to the Brecons Beacons National Park and run some of the trails after work at the Royal Mint.

Drove up from Llantrisant (Clan-trihz-ant) to the Pen-Y-Fan (Pen-AH-Vahn) TH, which is right next to and outdoor educational center called Storey Arms, which apparently is the highest point on the A470 at about 400m elev. I got started at 6:40pm and hit the trail running up to Pen Y Fan... the trail is a steady ascent right from the beginning. Beautiful day, not many people out, probably saw around a dozen people during my time on the trail. I made it up the first significant peak (Corn Du) in about 30 minutes. From there I took in the view, and continued on to Pen Y Pass, which was 2 miles in, and I made it there about 40 minutes into my hike. It's a fairly humble summit with a nice plaque on top of a small rock pile. With still enough daylight left, I decided to continue on to the next significant peak in the Brecons, Cribyn. Made it there in another 20 minutes. I explored down to the bottom of the ridge it was on, and then came back up the way I came. I arrived back up Pen Y Fan and the sun had already set (10 minutes before I expected... 8:05)... so my last 10 minutes coming down were darker than I would have liked. Never lost sight of the trail, but things always look different when approaching from the opposite direction, and when visibility gets low, wrong decisions can become very costly.

The trail is mainly impacted stones that have been laid as a walking path. These stones seem like they had been there for ages, and whoever did that work, worked really hard to do it. It wasn't the best running surface, so I found myself going next to it on the mud where I could. The sheep are in full abundance out here, and on my approach to Cribyn, I basically followed a group of them up to the summit.

The Brecons Beacons National Park is a beautiful place. Such vast landscape, and not even that far from Cardiff (1 hour driving). The ridges to me resemble sand dunes, but in this case they are much more solid, grassy and rocky dunes, with sheep scampering all over them...

I stayed in nearby Merthyr Tydfil (Merr-thurr TID-vill) at the Glenthornes House - beautiful little estate for 55GBP, full studio with kitchenette and washing machine, run by a lovely lady named Claire. To find the place, I got a little lost in the town, so I walked into a pub (sweaty running shorts and all), asked the bartender if he knew the way, but luckily a couple of locals on their way out knew the way. One of the guys, probably about 60 yrs old, offered to get in the car with me and direct me... since it was not really obvious for a non-local. Great guy named Brian, gave me a bit of the history of the town as well. Amazing how nice people are here. Wales is a friendly and peaceful country.

Photos from the day

I tried to load my GPX file many times but it has not worked... so embedding my Strava upload instead:

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The marker on top of Pen y Fan at dusk on a hazy day in early September 2014 (2014-09-04). Photo by Marcus Lostracco.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3000 ft / 914 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2000 ft / 609 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3000 ft / 914 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1000 ft / 305 m; Extra: 2000 ft / 609m
    Loss on way in:2000 ft / 609 m
    Distance:3.8 mi / 6 km
    Start Trailhead:1907 ft / 581 m
    Time:1 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Distance:3.8 mi / 6 km
    Time:45 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Marcus Lostracco
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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