Ascent of Carnedd Llewelyn on 2015-01-10

Climber: Marcus Lostracco

Date:Saturday, January 10, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Carnedd Llewelyn
    Elevation:3491 ft / 1064 m

Ascent Trip Report

It was a late start to the day after I had not slept most of the night due to stomach illness – but I was able to get a couple of hours of sleep in the morning, which was enough to get my motivation to attempt my 10th Wales County Highpoint: Carnedd Llewelyn. I stayed in Bethesda on Friday night after having driven up from Cardiff the night before with Bethan from the Mint. She had never climbed a mountain before and offered to tag along. We made it to the trailhead off of the A5 around noon – we had driven all over in search of a map, but we were not able to locate one in Bethesda. Went into maybe 5 stores and none had maps or knew where to get any. So we decided we would just rely on my GPS watch… which was not my preference but we had no choice. We began walking at noon and took an unconventional approach to the mountain. After about an hour and a half we were able to see the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn. Our route would have to be changed to follow the ridge. This section was fairly intense due to the extreme winds (upwards of 60mph). I considered turning back at this point (it was 1:30pm), but we were so close to the summit that we decided to continue on. I gave ourselves a cutoff time of 2:30pm. We battled through the wind and made the ascent to the summit and reached it at 2:15pm. It felt like quite an accomplishment due to the difficult conditions, and having guided ourselves there without a map. We spent maybe 10 minutes on the summit – the winds were brutal and we had to get down. We decided to take the opposite way down and continue along the ridge. This was a great choice since most of it was out of the wind, which made it quite enjoyable. When walking up to Pen Y Helgi Du (Head of the Black Hound), we were intending on bypassing the summit to continue down on our descent. However, we bumped in to a guy (only person we’d seen all day) who was taking a tea break. After talking to him some, he revealed that he is a mountain training group leader and that he has climbed every mountain in Wales, as well as completed the Wales 3000 challenge in 12 hours… not a bad guy to bump into. He recommended that we didn’t do the bypass and do the easy scramble to the summit (which he was doing). Bethan and I decided why not – we were right there and this guy was a really good guy to pace with. We made it up, and we were glad to do so, as the views were spectacular. We then continued our descent and came down via the “arm” in direction of the A5. It’s an easy profile, and we were sure that it would have been much easier to ascend from this direction as well (I had originally planned on it). After making it near the bottom, the wind picked up again and all of a sudden it started hailing! We walked the last 1.5 km in the hail. I couldn’t help but think of how awful it would be to be on the summit with this storm going on. Wyn (our guide guy) offered to drive us to our car, which saved at least a 30 minute walk on the road. Great guy. We were proud of our achievement for the day and totally wiped out. The wind was a huge energy-drainer, having to battle it constantly while on the ridge. We were literally being blown around at some moments. We went and got some well-earned hot chocolate before returning back to Bethesda for some warm showers.

Lessons learned:
-ALWAYS have a map!!
-Extreme winds are dangerous.
-Headgear needs to be excessive in high winds
-It’s best to either face the wind, or face away from the wind. Being tossed side to side is difficult to stay balanced on.
-Wyn showed us a hand warming technique
-It’s hard to take pictures in heavy winds
Summary Total Data
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Marcus Lostracco
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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.

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