LB, Chris and I caught the last of the snow this weekend in Snowdonia. At least I expect it to be the last of the snow we catch but I’ve expected it to end for the last couple of weekends away and it just keeps on coming.
We did a nice route up across Carnedd Dafydd but were beaten back from the ridge leading to Carnedd Llewelyn by a fifty mile an hour blast of snow that occasionally hit sixty-five (according to the Kestrel). We dropped into the cwm and camped at the foot of the Black Ladders. It was beautiful with the brilliant snow covering parts of the black rock forming the massive amphitheatre of Cwmglas Mawr.
Sunday saw the usual long slog out of a cwm. This time all the way to the top of Carnedd Llewelyn and back along the ridge to Dafydd. With the wind doing the same sort of speeds as the day before.
But what of the bionic legs?
Chris has super-human, bionic legs. He out-walks everybody. Whenever you walk with him, he disappears off into the distance and sits on a rock waiting for half an hour whilst everyone else catches up. Except for this time. This time we were ahead of Chris at almost every step. We couldn’t understand it.
We asked a couple of times if he was okay and he said he was fine but just finding it heavy going. It took a while to realize that of course Chris was wearing full winter boots, a B2 crampon fitting. Whereas we were carrying Kahtoola crampons and therefore we are able to wear lighter footwear. Mid-height approach shoes in my case and summer leather boots for LB.
So although we never actually had the crampons out, we didn’t need to carry as much weight in the pack. Also, critically, we had very little weight on our feet compared to Chris. And post-holing your way up the side of Llewelyn in those boots is just plain painful.
Intuitively it’s obvious, but to see such a graphic demonstration of the enormous difference that lightweight footwear really does make was very interesting (and quite gratifying, after spending the money!).
We just have to make sure Chris doesn’t get any for next season…