Climbing Snowdon

Birthdays have this annoying habit of coming around every year, and it gets a bit difficult to think of something unique to do each time. 

My friend Nicola has trekked Snowdon several times and is aiming to complete all seven of the routes up the mountain. Inspired by her photos from previous trips, I was keen to come on her next adventure to Wales. 

Snowdon
Thinking it would make a great birthday weekend break, Nicola suggested we plan a trip to coincide with my 31st birthday. We were joined by her work colleagues Katie, Sandra and Anne-Britt. It was cause for double-celebration as Sandra was turning 60 in the same week! 

After a 5.5 hour drive, we arrived at the Padarn Lake Hotel in Llanberis. The hotel is fairly basic and dated, but was perfectly situated for our trip up the mountain. We spent a few hours exploring the gift shops and lake in the local village.

Llanberis


Early the next morning, we set off bright and early to catch the Park n Ride bus to the starting point of the trails. 


We chose to ascend the mountain using the Miner’s Track which is one of the most scenic routes to the summit. The footpath starts out wide and even with a gravel surface and picturesque views out across the valleys. The walk was fairly easy at this point with only a gradual incline. Snow flakes began to appear on the mossy mountainside as we progressed along the trail. 


Snowdon Miner's Track


Snowdon
Snowdon


We passed by the ruins of the old copper mine which sits beside a crystal clear lake known as Llyn Llydaw. Apparently the lake gets it’s blue colour from the copper salts which have leached into the water over the years. I dipped my hand into the water to feel it’s icy temperature, and wished I’d brought my wetsuit for a quick swim!

Snowdon



Snowdon


After this point, the ascent became tougher as the terrain is more rugged and the path is not so clear. The loose rock makes it tough underfoot and we had to watch our step on the uneven surface. We stopped for a rest every so often to look back at the views unfolding below us, and of course to take group photos using Katie’s selfie-stick! 


We were passed by a runner who exclaimed “Oh shit” as he spotted the rocky path ahead of him! We were all amazed at how quickly he shot up the hillside, and figured he might be training for the Snowdonia Marathon. 

Snowdon


Snowdon


Snowdon


The final portion of the climb is the most challenging as the path zigzags amongst the craggy rocks. We picked our way along the rockface using our hands to haul ourselves up the steep gradient. The climb was quite treacherous at points with slippery surfaces from the melting snow. It required quite a lot of focus and concentration, to figure out the best route to take. 

Looking up at the mountain towering above us, it was difficult to see the summit through the mist and impossible to tell how much further we would have to climb. The runner passed us by on his descent, telling us he’d reach the top in 1 hour 15 minutes- again we were amazed at his speed! 

Snowdon


Snowdon


Snowdon


Snowdon


The temperature dropped and the wind picked up as we approached the final push to the top of Snowdon. We had all dressed appropriately in layers and hiking boots, although we did see a few people freezing in Converse trainers and T-shirts! 

Finally reaching the summit, we were blessed with spectacular views of the dramatic landscape below us. The mist had dispersed and we had a perfectly clear view from all angles. It was quite crowded with people (and dogs) as all seven of the paths meet at the very peak of the mountain. 


Snowdon


Snowdon Summit


Snowdon Summit


Snowdon Summit


Unfortunately the cafe at the top of the mountain was closed, so after spending some time admiring the scenery, we decided to head back down.

We descended along the Llanberis path, which is the longest and most gradual of the routes. The route follows the tracks of the small steam-train which serves Snowdon in the summer months. The train only runs from end-April, so we couldn’t take the easy option down! 


Snowdon Llanberis



This side of the mountain is far more exposed to the elements, so we were battered by strong winds as we walked. Spotting the half-way house cafe, we were glad to get out of the wind to refuel with hot soup and Welsh cakes.

I had the hic-cups for most of the descent, which quickly got annoying! Nicola tried to scare it out of me, but it didn’t work! 

Snowdon Llanberis


Snowdon Llanberis

Arriving back in Llanberis village, we headed to the bar for a celebratory drink! The walk had taken just over 6 hours and we had covered 9.5 miles with 2640ft of elevation gain. It was a great sense of achievement to realise I had summited two mountains in one month, after cycling up Haria in Lanzarote a few weeks ago. 

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience and there was even talk of taking on the Three Peaks Challenge next!

Have you ever climbed a mountain? Or fancy attempting Snowdon?

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