Wednesday, May 10, 2023

take it to the ridge

The last post was a bit of a downer, wasn't it? Failure, frustration, fuckery: the three Fs. Not what you want. So it's fortunate that I found a walk in the archives (from October 2022) which I hadn't shared here, this one proceeding largely according to plan, just to provide a bit of contrast. 

So you'll recall I mentioned here the idea of doing a long one-way traverse of the main Beacons ridge, probably from east to west, making use of two vehicles, and you'll also recall we did a sort of trial run of that approach here (though incorporating a slightly shorter walk).

We didn't actually do any of that stuff in the end, but I mention it because the walk which Alex found in a copy of Trail magazine (it's route 3 here) replicates much of the route of that long ridge walk, although it does it out-and-back stylee starting and finishing at the Storey Arms car park. I generally find out-and-back routes involving retracing significant amounts of ground a bit frustrating but this one looked like a good strenuous challenge and offered the prospect of ascending Pen y Fan twice in a single day, something I'd never done before.

So, anyway, we camped here the previous night so as to be able to get an early-ish start the following morning, and broadly replicated the walk from the magazine, though exercising the option of using the paths which bypass Fan y Big and Cribyn on the way back. Route map and altitude profile are below (open in a new tab for bigger versions). 

Our only other significant deviation from the magazine route - apart from a bit of faffing about towards the end of the outward leg to find the "proper" summit of Waun Rydd, which is a bit indistinct and not on the main path - was to loop back from Corn Du to the car park on a different path, one that turned out to involve a bit of annoying descent and re-ascent which isn't really what you want at the end of a strenuous 15-mile walk. It would in hindsight have been better to either go back the way we'd come up, or to loop around and take the path slightly further along which follows the contours round. But, overall, a good and challenging day out in great company and generally benign weather. The most challenging bit of the day, as you might imagine, is standing in the pronounced dip between Cribyn and Pen y Fan and girding yourself mentally and physically for the relentless ascent of 220 metres or so that needs to be done to get up and over Pen y Fan for the second time. 

A few photos can be found here. I've replicated the two summit shots from Pen y Fan below; note that I also tacked them onto the end of this Twitter thread

No comments: