- Sunday 10th – Monday 11th March 2019
- Snowdon Mountain
We arrived late Sunday evening in Llanberis and this is where we will base ourselves until Wednesday before returning home.
Llanberis is a village in Gwynedd, northwest Wales at the foot of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. It is a popular destination for outdoor activities including walking, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking etc. It is packed with enough activities to keep you busy for weeks.
Our hotel is situated in a great spot surrounded by Snowdonia National Park, 100m from Padarn Lake and 500m from Snowdon Mountain Railway.
The reason we’ve came here is, yip you’ve guessed it, we are here to climb Snowdon, a peak of 3,560ft (1085m).
We are actually also here to do several other hikes such as Tryfan North Ridge but things are not looking good weatherwise.
So we had booked our accommodation weeks ago and as luck would have it picked not the greatest few days to visit Wales or even more so to climb mountains! The next few days are showing high winds (45-65mph) and tomorrow, Monday is the only day showing no rain until late afternoon…so tomorrow is our one and only opportunity to attempt to climb Snowdon!
I’ve been wanting to do this mountain for a while so if I’m being honest I would be gutted if we have to go home without achieving this….but as they say….the mountain will always be there for another day….so what will be will be.
So after dropping off our stuff at the hotel we wondered briefly through the village which looks like an amazing spot and I can only imagine this would be heaving in the summer months.
Thousands of people are drawn each year to this majestic mountain and ascend to it’s summit either by train, yes I said train…it’s got its very own railway line/train up and down, by foot or by mountain bike.
Mt. Snowdon, out of the three highest peaks in the UK probably has to be the friendliest for the novice walker.
Firstly there’s a cafe at the top and as mentioned before if your feeling tired after a strenuous climb you can always catch the train down (I believe from May-Oct)…or better still catch it up and down if it suits you.
In 1896 the Snowdon Mountain Railway Company started carrying visitors to the summit by train contributing significantly to the economy of the area
There has also been a building of some sort on the summit of Snowdon since 1820 offering shelter and refreshments.
Ascending by foot is our chosen method.
I read that this mountain was used by Edmund Hillary when he was training for his Mount Everest expedition and I can see why. There are more than six routes up Snowdon so plenty opportunities to be had with lots of different terrain.
Snowdon means ‘snow hill’, and today she sure is that!
So yes we have decided to go for it. Weather predicts by 2pm conditions are to deteriorate so we start of earlyish so that we can be off the most treacherous part of the mountain before the bad weather hits.
Snowdon Ranger Report
From the summit when conditions are right they say it’s possible to see Scotland, Ireland, England and the Isle of Man! Now that would be quite spectacular.
Today just to reach the summit would be even more spectacular!!
So we had originally planned to head up Snowdon via Crib Goch which is one of the classic British Ridge walks. However with snow and ice under foot and with high winds forecast we decided to ‘play safe’ and chose to head up via the Pyg Track.
There is some uncertainty about the origin of the word Pyg. It is believed that the path was named after Pen y Gwryd Hostel by climbers who stayed there. Another possible origin is that the path was named after Bwich y Moch (the pass of pigs) since the path crosses it, as it is sometimes spelled as Pig in English. Or it could have been named Pyg due to the fact that this was a path used to carry pyg (black tar) from Britannia Copper Works in Cwm Glaslyn. The guessing continues!
So the Pyg Track is quite a rugged and challenging path up Snowdon which leads along the foothills of Crib Goch. It meets the Miners’ Track above Llyn Glaslyn, zigzags up to Bwlch Glas and joins Llanberis Path before continuing to the summit.
It was actually a stunning walk up.
We eventually hit snow and ice just before the infamous zig zags, but all things considering we were setting a steady pace and keeping ahead of the weather.
As we hit the zig zags the snow and ice became more prominent and we toyed with the idea of sticking our crampons on but continued to walk on without them.
We eventually made the summit ridge with relative ease.
On getting to the top we had amazing views with very little cloud…I actually saw the railway line which I could not believe! I could only imagine a different summit view here in summer!!!
So after taking it all in, getting the photos it was time to head back down…we were pretty lucky with the weather so far.
On heading down it was crampons on and ice axes out as things were steep and slippy and slow going for a bit.
Views were still amazing.
We decided that once we hit the point where our path met the Miners’ Path we would take that route for various reasons.
One being that I always like to try do a loop when out walking, the other being I was intrigued at what the Miners’ Path had to offer and being from an old mining village and also including family heritage I thought I’d check it out.
So on hitting this track it was pretty slippy, zig zagging steeply down the mountain for quite a bit. Things were slow going for a while.
Eventually we hit a man made boulder type path. Once this ran out we were on to a gravel type path.
We passed ruins of what was an old copper mine.
This area in the 19th and 20th Century saw the bustle of mining activity on Snowdon. As well as the Britannia Copper Mine on the shores of Llyn Llydaw which was the most renowned, other minerals were also mined such as Manganese, Ochre and Calamine.Eventually the path widened and we were almost back at the car. Our time on Snowdon almost over.
We had managed the whole day with good views and best of all NO WATERPROOFS what-so-ever….total result all things considered!
It had been a good effort but if being honest we were slightly disappointed at not being able to do the Ridge Walk…however…excellent excuse to come back again!