/ Taking a Girlfriend Out to the Mountains in Winter (Snowdonia)

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bowls - on 29 Mar 2013
Any thoughts on this? Someone who would like to get out and experience the mountains, but no idea what to expect (I can carry full winter kit incl spare crampons and axe for two of us in a pack so no worries about that)

Was thinking drive to Ogwen (roads permitting) and maybe walking into Ogwen and if still keen starting out up Y Garn by the East Ridge - great views.. - easy to turn back and shouldn't be too tricky - have spare crampons etc.. Alternatively maybe up Pen Y Helgi Du (sp?) - must be the easiest walk in Snowdonia?

Want to give a feel for the mountains without overly scaring!

Can anyone recommend anywhere decent to eat in Bala?

Cheers
Dandelion - on 29 Mar 2013
Has she done that kind of thing in summer? Has she walked more than a mile or so before at all? Break it down into elements: the duration is one thing, the wilderness feeling/exposure; height gain in terms of legs/lungs, and then you're adding in winter conditions too. Since you're asking this now, I'm guessing she won't have ages to prepare. I took about 6 weeks to get ready to go over Helvellyn in winter (carrying a bit but she'll want to) and in the end there was no snow on the path.
paul-1970 - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to bowls:
Reading your question reminds me of Muriel Gray's anecdote in 'The First Fifty', about taking some friends out who were also interested in "experiencing the mountains" and had to have their first sit down rest while still in view of the car park.

Having done this myself with an ex partner, the best advice I believe is to have a plan that you can scale-up or down depending on conditions or how she responds. I've taken an ex up to the loch in Coire Ardair, and on another occasion, out over the river at Coiletir at the bottom of Glen Etive. Both walks could easily have taken in Creag Meagaidh or Ben Starav, respectively, but both still had the potential for great days if enthusiasm and stamina ran out pretty quickly.
bowls - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to Dandelion:

Only summer walking i.e. Malverns and Black Mountains, no nothing like this. Hence it may be restricted to a walk around Cwm Idwal but will carry double everything I would for a normal day out in the mountains in winter. It will be obvious from early on whether she fancies it or not, so was really just after a hill with easy ascent and descent (as previously stated I will take a rope, spare axe and spare crampons just in case) but looking for somewhere for decent views of Ogwen/Llanberis pass to just take in the atmos and if she is keen maybe ascend/patrially ascend something too...
danm - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to bowls: Not much point taking axe and crampons for her if she doesn't know how to use them. Why not plan your first day as a short intro walk including some nice views, and teach her some basic skills such as self arrest and walking in crampons? If she enjoys herself she can use these skills on the second day where you can do an easy walk together taking in a summit.
Moley on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to bowls:
Treat the trip with extreme care, or you will be sharing the car home with your ex-girlfriend. Flexibility for your plans, so you can carry on or bail out at any point, keep an ear open for "grumbling".
Good luck, could turn out to be the best day of her life......or the worst, all up to you!!
Dave Perry - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to bowls:

So she's done a little summer walking in the likes of the malverns.

And you are seriously thinking about taking a rope? Ice axes? Crampons? And where are you going to go to ensure she can safely use them beforehand?

I'd be thinking about somewhere lower down, snowy and not strenuous with views. Remember, great views from the tops of mountains are mostly of more mountains. My wife doesn't particularly like the views from the tops for that reason. But she loves the views from smalle5r hills because you can see things she enjoys such as villages, towns, valleys, fields, rivers and so on. Don't forget what appeals to you may not appeal to her. If she's not been into the mountainous areas of Wales then even being lower down is going to appear stunning to her.

As for not wanting to scare her I'd not bother take a rope 0 or crampons - or the axes. After seeing that lot she will be scared.
Dandelion - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Perry: I think I'd agree about a rope and axe, but not crampons. If you're going to be in snow at all they might be useful, and I found putting them on and using them brilliant fun - though they did seem scary at first. A major upgrade for the human body, I thought! Makes all the difference to have gaiters though- has she got them? - to keep your trousers out of the way. I would avoid ground where you could possibly want an axe or rope. If you see something you both really want to do that's like that, you can enjoy making plans to do it again another time, maybe after some summer scrambling.
Dave Perry - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to Dandelion:
Dandelion.

You'll only need crampons and./or ice axe on steep hard snow.

If you take or need crampons you'll also need an ice axe. How else will you stop yourself if youslip, trip or fall?

With decent footwear you can walk without crampons over quite hard snow but will still need an ice axe if you slip trip or fall?

Therefore if you are wanting to avoid ground where you might want an axe then you will not need crampons either.
Simon_Sheff - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to Dandelion:
> Has she done that kind of thing in summer? Has she walked more than a mile or so before at all? Break it down into elements: the duration is one thing, the wilderness feeling/exposure; height gain in terms of legs/lungs, and then you're adding in winter conditions too. Since you're asking this now, I'm guessing she won't have ages to prepare. I took about 6 weeks to get ready to go over Helvellyn in winter (carrying a bit but she'll want to) and in the end there was no snow on the path.

Jesus, man up
altirando - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to Simon_Sheff: Forget Snowdonia. Somewhere like the Offas Dyke trail along the top of the Clwyd hills will be quite alpine in the snow, give superb views, and be entirely safe without any need for axes and crampons. Almost an extended version of the Malverns.
Moley on 30 Mar 2013
In reply to bowls:
And don't forget to let us know if she's still your girlfriend after the weekend!
bowls - on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Moley:

Thanks for all your humourous, useful and not so useful replies!

Ended up just walking up in Cwm Lloer to the base of Broad Gully. Pretty succesful, just enough to give a flavour of winter in the mountains - already eyeing up North ridge of Tryfan for the summer! No axes or crampons required, but carried all the same.

As for the rope, pretty much always carry a short rope in the mountains, you never know when it may be required, -potentially by others...

Never seen Ogwen so busy, hence headed for the Carneddau which was busy for that range!
Darkskys - on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to bowls: I'll never forget taking my missus up the ridge on Crib Y Dysgal one year on NewYears Day.
She frightened the life out of me, wanted to take a route further round to the right on exposed ground as she didn't want to go direct, refused to use an ice axe and cried all the way to the top.

Once on the top....it was the most amazing day ever, although we were in full on white out conditions and stil had to get down whilst it was quickly turning dark!
Hirosim - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Dave Perry:
> (In reply to Dandelion)
> Dandelion.
>
> You'll only need crampons and./or ice axe on steep hard snow.
>
> If you take or need crampons you'll also need an ice axe. How else will you stop yourself if youslip, trip or fall?
>
> With decent footwear you can walk without crampons over quite hard snow but will still need an ice axe if you slip trip or fall?
>
> Therefore if you are wanting to avoid ground where you might want an axe then you will not need crampons either.


Completely agree.
Also why did it take you 6 weeks to get up Hellvelyn?
Scarab9 - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Simon_Sheff:
> (In reply to Dandelion)
> [...]
>
> Jesus, man up

ha! trust me she's capable of manning up and her second winter trip was a bit more adventurous!
Dandelion - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to Hirosim:
This was just over 3 years ago. At the time I typidally walked about 20 minutes, maybe half an hour, thought I'd done longer things ages ago. I'd got to know someone who was into hill-walking and climbing. I like skiing and I'm keen on snow, so he suggested a biggish winter walk. The hope was that we'd find quite a bit of snow cover, but we had to book it a good way in advance and weren't lucky. Anyway I reckoned I needed to be fit enough to do the height gain and distance with ease, to allow energy on the day for learning to use crampons and axe and coping with possibly some deep snow (I really hadn't got a clue what to expect). I also wanted (before I went) to remind myself how to use a map and compass. So I took myself off for some longer walks each weekend, - new walking boots (my existing ones I'd had since childhood and were worn out), first time I'd used a ruck-sack since I was about 15 too (I was away for the weekend so I had that stuff, plus what you'd take on the hill in winter). My friends thought I was mad; they all thought it a big deal. I guess it looks very different from the perspective of a climbing website. It's ironic (to me) that manning up was exactly what I was doing, to my eyes.
cat88 - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to bowls: I did tryfan, the glyders and devils kitchen on sunday with my bf, it was a good walk with the added bonus of getting to use crampons and ice axe and a bit of a suntan on the face from the snow!

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