Snowy ground, cloudy skies in the Brecon Beacons
Saturday 14 January 2017
With more snow in the Brecon Beacons, I had to get up high and have a walk. I wanted to go as high as I could, all the way up Pen Y Fan. Now of course, snow and a weekend meant plenty of other people had the same idea. Most people climb Pen Y Fan from the Storey Arms - a route I've still not done as it seems so busy and that's not why I head for the hills. Instead I did a much bigger walk (described below the photos), for the majority of which I saw very few people.
The day started with some sunshine and a little warmer than forecast, staying just above freezing, although with a strong wind on some of the edges. I had taken an ice axe and crampons, but there was no need for them on the soft and deep snow. Later on I used microspikes, which helped me speed past many of the heavily laden Fan Dance competitors on the compacted snow climbing steeply up to Pen Y Fan.
A longer route up Pen Y Fan
Today I took paths I know well, starting at the top car park above (and to the west of) Talybont Reservoir. From there, the climbing begins immediately up onto Craig y Fan Ddu. The Beacons Way turns off the edge here after a bit, but today it was untrodden and to avoid trying to find the way and break trail in the fairly deep snow, I stayed by the edge of Graig Fan Las and then turned back on myself along Craig Cwareli. Fan Y Big was next, still below the clouds, although my next summits of Cribyn and Pen Y Fan and Corn Du were all covered in cloud. Eventually I dropped back out of the cloud, on the Graig Fan Ddu ridge south of Corn Du. It was getting fairly late by the time as I came down the slippery slope to the lower Neuadd reservoir, before following the easy Taff trail along forestry track and road back to the car park. A long day, something like 19km and 1000m of climbing - hard work in the snow and wind.
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