Damian Hall is currently 6hrs into a solo, unsupported winter Paddy Buckley Round. Given that he's already got the summer record I don't think it'd be unreasonable to say that he's after the winter one too.
The matter of what constitutes a winter round has been debated a lot of times before (i.e. whether it is simply a time of year thing, or if it's a snow thing), but from the reports it's looking like proper winter conditions, with the following ground conditions reported:
Area - Snowdon Date - 28 January 2020 Time - 13.00pm Snow Above - 350 metres Report By - Snowdon Warden Route Taken PYG and Miners track Conditions Depth of snow increases with altitude. Paths difficult to follow. Steep bank of snow at top of path. Essential Kit The following is a list of additional kit required based on the current conditions. Standard winter kit required. Ice axe and crampons recommended. For archived reports see - http://www.snowdonia.gov.wales/visiting/walking/ground-conditions
You can keep track of his progress via the following link: http://live.opentracking.co.uk/pb2020dh/
Just passed PYB going well
I must admit, when I checked in at 6hrs and saw that he was already through the best part of both the the Glyders and the Carneddau I did think to myself "wow, that is quick".
The time to beat, if memory serves me correctly, is Jim Mann's winter record - 21:37. Hopefully he'll be able to maintain the pace...
Curious about the line marked off Tryfan - I thought reversing from summit back to col then down main path to Ogwen then straight up PyOWen poss easier or am I missing something?
That is a very good question.
I certainly did it the way you described when I did it, and that is - at least from what I recall - 'the way' others tend to go, so maybe this is new beta (to coin a climbing term).
That said, having plotted the course in on OS Maps it looks like this method is a longer (3.3 miles vs. 2.3 miles and has more height gain (2,500ft vs. 2,200ft). Maybe my calculations are a bit out, but from the numbers it certainly isn't looking favourable, and I can't imagine that you'd get significantly better ground conditions whichever way you went.
With all that in mind, I too am curious as to the decision?!
When Colin Donnelly set the 3000s record he used the West gully descent to the road and the eastern route up Pen yr Ole Wen. Findlay Wild took the opposite view when he set the new record. We retraced our steps to the col and took the easy path east of Tryfan - I hated the west gully from a previous failed attempt. Findlay was 4 times quicker than us, though...
Looks like he's gone with Donnelly's choice
Exciting! I went W gully of Tryfan and his way up Ole Wen on my very modest 3000s. Found that direct route up from Ogwen Cottage a bit grim!
The route taken by Damian Hall is similar to that used during the Tryfan Downhill Dash. The record for which is 8 minutes set by local legend Mike Blake!
That presumably makes it the quickest route off Tryfan!! ;-)
The descent Damian took is the standard runners descent if you are heading for Pen yr Ole Wen via its East ridge. You go down a scrambly gully NW-wards then as you exit this at a grassier bit turn right and follow the gully that is closest to Tryfan's West side. You come out opposite the layby that is on the Llyn Ogwen side of the road. It is very direct but also steep, loose and moderately unpleasant!
As above the west gully is definitely the standard line for a quick 3000s, it's only a short scramble down the gully then a very quick drop to the road.
PyOW east ridge is also an increasingly common choice these days but if going via Ogwen Cottage (as I did, and Finlay agreed ;-) you can drift further west descending over the moor under Bochlwyd buttress to minimise the trot along the road.
> PyOW east ridge is also an increasingly common choice these days but if going via Ogwen Cottage (as I did, and Finlay agreed ;-) you can drift further west descending over the moor under Bochlwyd buttress to minimise the trot along the road.
I can certainly see the benefit of going up the east ridge, but - much like you - never opted to go that way during the 'main event'. Weirdly I quite enjoyed the south ridge when I did the Paddy Buckley: I just stuck my head down and got on with it. Crap though it might be, it does the job in a fairly direct + brutal fashion.
Besides, if it's good enough for Finlay it's definitely good enough for me!!
Thanks for this! Where did he start?
He started in Llanberis. There's splits on the Open Tracking site if you click on the sidebar (something that isn't immediately obvious).
I notice that record attempts tend to start very early in the morning, so runners start off with half a night's sleep. What is the rationale behind this?
Personally I've found that on massive days out in the hills, fatigue from lack of sleep can have similar effects on performance to lack of fitness, food or water. Elite endurance runners put a lot of thought and effort into getting the last three right on the day; but not sleep.
I can see that a very early start may make sense when day length is long, in order to make the best use of daylight. That doesn't seem to apply in this case; Damian was on the go for 5hrs before sunrise.
> I certainly did it the way you described when I did it, and that is - at least from what I recall - 'the way' others tend to go, so maybe this is new beta (to coin a climbing term).
> That said, having plotted the course in on OS Maps it looks like this method is a longer (3.3 miles vs. 2.3 miles and has more height gain (2,500ft vs. 2,200ft). Maybe my calculations are a bit out, but from the numbers it certainly isn't looking favourable, and I can't imagine that you'd get significantly better ground conditions whichever way you went.
It may seem odd to reply to your own message, but having had another look at Damian's route - and actually having re-read what I posted - I realised my original response made no response whatsoever, mostly because I was looking at the red line of the proposed route vs. the blue line that he'd actually taken (what an idiot...).
To further confuse matters I was talking total b*llocks about the line I'd previously taken, which was indeed the line down western gully (as opposed to re-tracing your steps back to the col).
This doesn't necessarily clear anything up, but given the gaff - and the level of internal shame I was experiencing - I thought I'd fess up.
Time for a coffee perhaps...
Interesting question, and one that I have been putting a lot of thought into lately, mostly because I'm unsure as to when to start my own BG later this year; however, given that mine is in summer - thus I have the potential to miss out on darkness entirely - it'll be a very different state of affairs compared to a winter round, where darkness is guaranteed.
As for the answer to your question, I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer. One thing I would say is that he's clearly timed it so that he gets through the Moelwyns leg whilst it's light. This is undoubtedly the most navigationally challenging, hence daylight is a major benefit. The others have their moments, but nothing like the subtly of the Moelwyn leg.
Is this chap a climber? He does seem rather keen on taking the steepest possible routes.
Lack of sleep the night before is often standard, whether that be through design or factors outside of your control e.g. nerves.
Assuming you’ve banked a solid number of good nights sleep in the days preceding, plus some daytime power naps, losing a few hours on the day of any long distance challenge probably isn’t that impactful for most.
> I notice that record attempts tend to start very early in the morning, so runners start off with half a night's sleep. What is the rationale behind this?
I can't comment on fell running specifically, but for walking big munro rounds in winter I often do this, particularly if I am solo. For me, the rationale is that psychologically I would prefer to walk in the dark knowing it is going to get lighter than walk in the light knowing it is going to get darker. If I can get to sleep early the night before, it's not so bad.
Of course, in this case he was always going to see a sunrise and a sunset whatever he did, so I suspect the point about timing it so that difficult navigation can be done in daylight is probably more relevant...
Looks to be going strongly still - that's a pretty impressive direct line he's taken between Y Garn and Craig Wen.
How's the weather up there?
This is very interesting now...... As of 2320, he has to run 8km with 370m of ascent over the last 2 summits and down to Llanberis in 1hr 17mins (9:37/km average).
Looks like he made it with 7 minutes inside the record. Great effort!
Thanks Rob (and apologies for initiating and continuing confusion)...
as not knowledgeable about said hills the Tryfan west gully to Ogwen cottage then s ridge PyOW (as marked on the Harvey PBR map) looks the obvious route - the red route on Damien Hall’s tracker map descending east then up e ridge PyOW seems to have a logic (or did he actually follow a slightly different line?)
ps - super impressive time esp solo in tough conditions.
pps - on BG (summer) start time mostly depends on target schedule + (if using) pacer availability. 23hr schedule people often seem to start at around 8-9pm so don’t run into 2nd night. Downside is having the start day awake before set off and some of the rougher (halls fell->blencathra and clough head ascent) terrain in the dark. On a faster schedule (~20hr) arguably better to aim for dawn at top of Skiddaw then end of leg 5 in the dusk/dark.
Really impressive, I was glued to the tracking link yesterday.
What would the logistics be on an unsupported run like this? Does that mean completely unsupported, ie no friends on the course with food and drinks, did Damian stash everything beforehand? Or does it simply mean no pacers?
> What would the logistics be on an unsupported run like this? Does that mean completely unsupported, ie no friends on the course with food and drinks, did Damian stash everything beforehand? Or does it simply mean no pacers?
Given that he arrived via public transport I wouldn't imagine that he had the time/means to stash, unless he has someone doing this separately, which seems to go against the 'unsupported' ethic. That said, don't quote me on this - I'll see if we can get an answer from Damian himself.
> as not knowledgeable about said hills the Tryfan west gully to Ogwen cottage then s ridge PyOW (as marked on the Harvey PBR map) looks the obvious route - the red route on Damien Hall’s tracker map descending east then up e ridge PyOW seems to have a logic (or did he actually follow a slightly different line?)
I think - if my reading of it is right - that everyone is agreed that the west gully off Tryfan is the way to go. This is the blue line that Damian took. The red line appears to be more of a generic line (and not one you'd actually take if time was of the essence).
The jury is still out regarding PyOW, with people divided between the east and the south ridges. Damian Hall followed the east ridge, but Finlay Wild followed the south during his 3000ers record. Without driving there specifically to test it out I couldn't say which is genuinely best.
> The jury is still out regarding PyOW
Not sure there'll ever be a definitive answer!
Regarding BGR strategy, back in the 70s and 80s more people used to go anti-clockwise for which one of the main selling points is you can start at breakfast time after a full nights sleep (assuming you actually manage to sleep..!) and still get the Helvellyn section in the dark.
From Finlay Wild's own blog, his decision to use the south ridge was based on the speed he could run down the road, and the rest he could get from power-walking the steep slope. Donnelly's choice was made because there was more running up the gentler slope. Six and two threes I reckon for the top runners, for a walker I prefer the eastern route (and hated the gulley on Tryfan, it finished me off on our first 3000s attempt this year - cramping in every leg muscle!)
Re BG start times - if you go anticlockwise, which common sense shows is the better choice (!), you get to start in the morning and are on easy mountains in the dark...
Thanks for the newsflash Rob. Impressive stuff!
Hopefully we'll follow this up with an interview once Damian has recovered a bit
Dave Taylor has got some thoughts on BG timing, which may be of interest:
That's self supported. I did it that way.
Carrying all for 60 miles is bloody impressive if he didn't drop anything and just took water on the route.
He's bloody strong and is one of the few elite runners making a stand and not traveling excessively for events.
I was hoping you might comment on this thread.
Thanks for the clarification. I probably should know this, but it's been a while since I run properly. I was trying to remember what your time was for the winter round and what exactly the conditions were like. Clearly it's a massive step up from the summer round irrespective of whether or not there's snow on the ground, as you're only likely to get a couple of legs done in the light.
As a final aside, Damian has agreed to an interview, so hopefully we'll hear back from him with more details soon.
25:30 ish, I deliberately set out in as wintery conditions as I could get as I wanted a true winter round, but I was due to leave North Wales and by chance that 1st Day of December (I think it was), was good snow, almost down to the valley floors. It was pretty good snow though. Snowdon was just a ladder of snow steps to follow up the south ridge, not much cloud, Nantlle Ridge had one icey bad step that was a bit scary but otherwise fast running early on. I was actually way up on my summer time (21:30) until Llanberis, well above Devil's Kitchen really (I started at Aberglaslyn), but slowed on the glyders' rocks but then hit a breaking crust on the Carneddau which slowed me a lot and really sapped me. I was still on for 24 hours but got hit by a snow storm coming off Siabod and slowed a lot across the bogs with very poor visibility and partially frozen bogs, I fell in numerous ones making my way over to the Moelwyns and made a few errors following fences for too long. I did that section in the dark which maybe wasn't the wisest choice but I felt I knew it, and once you've climbed siabod there's no real long climbs left. I freaked myself out a bit making my way from Moelwyn Mawr? (I forget which one is before Cnicht) with all the mine workings, so took a long way around to Cnicht, staying high, so put paid to any chance of sub 24. I was so tired having set off at midnight I'd had no sleep so wasn't thinking clearly so jus played it safe on the nav. Once 24 was gone I had a nice descent off Cnicht as it then cleared up and we had a massive blood/harvest moon or something at the end.
But I used food/water drops, I think almost at every leg but maybe I didn't use one at Ogwen. so Damian has done it in much better style than I did, quicker, and in proper winter conditions looking at the photos. Bloody impressive.
> But I used food/water drops, I think almost at every leg but maybe I didn't use one at Ogwen.
Given the paragraph that precludes this I don't think anyone would begrudge (or think less of you) for this. As per your own sentiments on Damian's round, I think yours deserves similar praise - particularly given the conditions. What an experience!
yeah thanks, it's a cool experience. There's something special about long solo days out and going through a sunrise then a sunset or vice versa. Damian is also doing less events and thinking how he's getting to events (he used public transport for this).
The return of large numbers of people to national parks and other upland areas in England has brought a spike in littering, wildfires and mountain rescue incidents. Some issues appear to be worse than during equivalent periods in past years.