Tuesday, 14 May 2013

#31 Snowdon

#31 Snowdon

8.51 Miles
1923 Metres

I had planned this trip for weeks, so had been watching the weather forecasts intently.  Up to a few days before, I was going to cancel.  Forecasts of heavy rain and snow on a mountain I had never been to, was not an inviting idea.  But thanks to the Mountain Weather Forecast at the Met office it became apparent that we might have a window of opportunity.  It would mean an early start but we should get up and down before any rain hit.  Still had high winds mind you!
Parking at Pan Y Pass (£10!!!) we had planned to walk up the PYG track and back down Miners’ track, however as the car park was nearly empty (8am) we had parked next to the gate to the Miners, so thought why not, there can’t be that much difference!  The first 2 miles or so was along good quality tracks and fairly flat, so a relaxed start.

Along Llyn Llydaw the path begins to climb, nothing too serious but enough to get my heart rate up.  The path is being repaired here and helicopter dropped bags of stone added a few obstructions.  The views were stunning as expected and the clouds high up round the peak of Snowdon.   At some points blue sky even appeared, giving (false!) hope that the high mist would be burnt off.

Alongside Glaslyn the path abruptly climbs.  It goes pretty much straight up.  Bits can be scrambled and too be honest I found it hard to pick the path out (it was easier to spot later on looking down).  Now this was steep and I was struggling, I might have been walking more recently but this was hard hard work. 

The path gains over 100 metres in height in little over 300 metres on the ground.  The good path was long gone and from this point on it was a lot rougher underfoot.  I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t as rough and scrambly as this.

The path joined the PYG track to continue its climb higher.  Hard work but I plodded on.  The blue sky was also long gone and blast of a very cold wind could be felt at some points (other points were well sheltered) and flecks of snow began to drop.  The path was quiet (only 2 other people on the Miners and 10 max on the PYG) so I could happily take my time taking pictures (Ok taking cheeky rests and breathers).

I was expecting high winds when the path joined the main horseshoe but was surprised by good (ish) views across the valley.  It was clear to the right, but the summit was still covered in mist.  Nearly there!  The summit is approx. 500m from this point with a little bit more climbing to do (100m), however it’s not as steep, so didn’t feel as bad.  The snow had stuck to rocks and under the cold mist gave an eerie feel.

The summit was covered in ice and the wind that had given hints of its presence was blowing in full force.  It was cold and gloves were a necessity.  The mountain had been conquered and just like Hillary and Tensing we popped into the café.  Now the café in contentious, and with the prices they charge, with benches you can’t sit on comfortably, I can see why!

Told you it was cold

We had a 30 minute break before the easy (!) way down.  It was getting a lot busier, with numerous youth groups on the way up, all looking knackered and asking were the café was!  I also spotted that nice Jenny from Country Walking, so am expecting a Snowdon article in a month or 2!

The way down is steep and rough.  The big steps on the way up are hard work coming down.  The PYG track is pretty rough all the way, and it was harder work than I expected.  The steps just pounded my knees and thighs and it was safe to say I was being slowly broken.  The last mile (or first if you do it the normal way round) was steep with lots more rock steps, hard work for going downhill!

PYG Track
Great walk and I’ll be back in September I think, but It was a lot rougher than I expected.


  1. Looks a great day out. You'll have to do it the other way round next time or try one of the other routes and pay less for parking :-)

  2. I'm tempted to try the same again, just to see if I'm getting a bit fitter!

  3. But you don't do hills?!

    Looks like a good day out, though, even if a bit tougher than expected!

  4. That's not a hill... that's a mountain! :-)

  5. Good read. Doing it the other way round, at night, in the not too distant future :-D

  6. On the right night I think it would be pretty amazing! Wouldn't fancy it at night in rain or fog mind you!