Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Crob Goch - Black Rocks & White Light

Crob Goch - Black Rocks & White Light

 

On a trip to Snowdonia shooting work for Black Dots, project work was put on hold for a day and Andy & myself decided to tackle the Crib Goch route up Snowdon. It's arguably the toughest route up and one of the most popular ridge walks the UK has to offer. It's a hair raising scramble in fair weather, so with thick snow and ice we knew this was going to be a pretty insane day on the hills! From the hostel window we could see the north-eastern face of the ridge; an imposing slope of black rock shrouded in heavy cloud. We packed light and set off on the Pyg Track. 

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For the less-beady eyed hill walker, the turn off for Crib Goch is easily missed; essentially a subtle gap between rocks and a modest signpost. From here, the ground gets increasingly more difficult to cover, made more difficult by the layers of snow covering the already faint track through the boulders. A combination of  a GPS and being able to trace crampon tracks, made for a relatively clean (but slow) assent up to the start of the ridge. The clouds were going through phases of breaking up -giving the sun a chance to illuminate the landscape below us - and closing back in again, plunging the mountain into a heavy grey fog. There was an abundance of photographic opportunities, but also a very limited amount of time to reach the summit and get back down again, so we did the best we could before continuing up through the snowline and towards the ridge.

Stopping at the snowline for an ego-boosting portrait by Andy Ford.

Stopping at the snowline for an ego-boosting portrait by Andy Ford.

Looking East back down onto the first ascent towards Crib Goch, standing over Llyn Llydaw and Llyn Cwmffynnon.

Looking East back down onto the first ascent towards Crib Goch, standing over Llyn Llydaw and Llyn Cwmffynnon.

Last light on Bryn Du.

Last light on Bryn Du.

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As we continued to climb past the snowline, the weather closed in on us. Waves of white and grey folded over the summit of Snowdon and we soon found ourselves in a white out. The crampon tracks were still visible, and we still had a decent GPS signal so we slowly edged our way across the ridge - acutely aware of the sheer drop on either side of us. Crib Goch is broken into sections of pretty standard  ridge walking, and some tricky pinnacles which require a bit of time to pass over. As we negotiated these difficult sections the clouds would occasionally part, offering a gentle reminder of how close to a 1000m drop we actually were. With visibility decreasing, light fading and the weather worsening, we successfully reached the trig point on Crib Goch. 

Standing on the edge of a sheer 1000 meter drop & surrounded by pillars of frost covered rock, we stopped to assess the route ahead. With the monolithic knife-edge of Crib Goch looming out of the clouds, we continued to pick our way across the ridge. 

Standing on the edge of a sheer 1000 meter drop & surrounded by pillars of frost covered rock, we stopped to assess the route ahead. With the monolithic knife-edge of Crib Goch looming out of the clouds, we continued to pick our way across the ridge. 

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Assessing routes through the pinnacles on Crib Goch

Assessing routes through the pinnacles on Crib Goch

Andy walking the ridge.

Andy walking the ridge.

Andy scaling the pinnacles

Andy scaling the pinnacles

Crib Goch Summit

Crib Goch Summit

By the time we put hands on the trig point, we were almost completely out of light. Starting a descent earlier than planned is a tough decision to make as we were only a short walk from the summit of Snowdon by this point. However with our headtorches on and the weather getting uglier, we made the decision to start our climb down towards the miners track. As we got lower, snow turned to sleet which turned to rain, and the slow trudge on the now level terrain was done in silence. The track snaked it's way around the foot of the mountain, until the lights of the hostel came into view. A decent day on the hills concluded by a fair few beers and a decent meal!

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Cairngorms Planning...

Cairngorms Planning...

Black Dots - Snowdonia, February 2016

Black Dots - Snowdonia, February 2016