/ North Wales: Winter approach times?

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Lukeva - on 18 Mar 2013
This weekend we climbed Tower Slabs (Cwm Cneifion) base of the climb is a similar approach to Clogwyn Du, the guidebook said 55mins to Clogwyn Du. The snowline was high, perhaps 700m , and the going underfoot easy enough. We walked to base of Idwal Slabs and scrambled on the LH side to base of Cneifion ArÍte, then walked up the next Cwm. It took us perhaps 90mins to base of climb. That was Saturday.

Yesterday we walked into Trinity face (again a 55min approach according to guidebook) we approached on the Minersí Track and bailed just beyond the convergence with the Pyg Track. It took us at least 90mins to that point, with 300mm of power for last 2-300m of ascent. Now, we are fit enough to do these walks at a steady (conditions dependant) pace without rests. My mate has been winter climbing 7 or 8 weekends on the bounce and weíve had a week in Scotland. Iíve been out on the hill a fair bit, run at home etcÖ

Am I just soft or are these approach times a bit optimistic for these 2 crags, (guidebook is the Rockfax N Wales Classics). Surely with powder snow underfoot and heavy packs one would have to be very fit to walk in at that speed. Incidentally we didnít expect to reach our chosen routes in 55mins, just interested to know others experiences for these winter approaches. Must train harder next winter!
BnB - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Lukeva: Couldn't agree more. The approach times appear to be for very lightly loaded climbers IMO, certainly not for this 50 yr old with a winter pack, even one optimised for weight.
Simon Panton - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Lukeva: You've just got the wrong guide! - the North Wales Winter Climbing guide gives approach times of 90 minutes for both of those examples.

I normally walk into Clogwyn y Garnedd (Trinity face) on the PyG track - this can be done to the gearing up spot in about 1hr 15 minutes and a bit longer to the base of the routes.

The approach to Clogwyn Du/Cwm Cneifion doesn't look like much but for some reason always feels like quite a slog.
Lukeva - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Lukeva: Not just me then, that is good to know. Still well worth the effort
Mr-Cowdrey on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Lukeva: 90mins is about right for these places. Although, we approached Clogwyn du via Idwal Stream then dropped down into it. But the walk out took over an hour.
Webster - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Lukeva: yeh, as good as the rock fax classics book is, it is fairly terrible for the winter crags. the routes are all graded wrong, the pitch descriptions are often wrong and/or dont match the topos and the approach times are horrendously optimistic! even in summer with no pack it would be imposible to reach those crags in thoe times without running!
Lukeva - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:
> (In reply to Lukeva) 90mins is about right for these places. Although, we approached Clogwyn du via Idwal Stream then dropped down into it. But the walk out took over an hour.

Really? That is good going
Lukeva - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Webster: It is a great little book. I only get there once every 6 weeks or so, that gives me a lifetime of climbing. Wish it had Gogarth though! But you are right i'm getting the current winter guide for next winter, so much more to choose from
Webster - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Lukeva: yeh i agree it is a great book, i have and love it. just pointing out its innacuracies for the winter section. but it gives you more than enough info if you are an irregular vistor so is still a good buy.
G. Tiger, Esq. - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Lukeva:

The curse of the guide book metre strikes again! It's influence is spreading to the guidebook minute...

A fickle beast, the guide book metre can vary wildly from region to region, climb to climb, and even pitch to pitch, and probably depends on the fitness and/or myopia of the guide book writer.

Its spreading to timings is a serious business, it'll be altering grades next...
Misha - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Lukeva:
Clogwyn Ddu is about an hour and a half at a reasonable pace, you'd have to be going at a fair speed to be much quicker than that. It once took me about 2h 15m in deep snow. But my record slowest was over four hours to the base of the crag, that was breaking trail for much of the way in deep snow back in January, taking a very indirect line in poor vis and with a mate who wasn't that fit. Even so, I can barely believe it took so long! Still did the route of course, just had to lead half the top pitch by torchlight.

The real challenge though is to come down exactly the same way you've come up or the way you came down last time! I always seem to end up taking a different path.
Lukeva - on 19 Mar 2013
In reply to G. Tiger, Esq.: Heaven forbid ;)
Lukeva - on 19 Mar 2013
In reply to Misha: We descended Y Gribin, it took a little finding as it was low vis.

Ahhh January... It took us 3 hours to reach a route on Glyder Fach in Jan (19th)! Breaking trail in deep powder and we couldnít find the start, only to be caught up by everybody else, descended by torch light. A very long day. The route we climbed was Square Chimney Buttress, it felt hard, and I was on 2nd

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