This post follows on from the previous Travelogue entry, Our Trip To Snowdon- Starting Out
We awoke bright and early, and after a good croissant breakfast and a warm shower, we were ready to conquer snowdon. I couldn’t wait to get back out into snowdonia and explore it’s beauty, let alone it’s highest peak!
As we made our way along the 45 minute drive from penmachno village, we watched as the landscape turned more and more epic, opening out to the peaks surrounding snowdon!
Excited to start, we pushed on as I snapped out the car window!
We arrived at the car park, even the view from here was stunning, with valleys down below, and road winding around the edges. I found it incredible that people created all this in such a difficult environment!
As we got to the parking machine, we realised we had no change! It takes notes, so make sure you have some with you. Luckily we were able to get change from the nearby restaurant and continue on our journey.
This is where it really started!
We decided to take the Pyg track up to the summit, and come back on the miner’s trail. I’d spoken to friends who had been before and they all advised that as a first timer, this would be the easiest and most enjoyable way to go. After actually doing the trails I think I agree with them and we’d decided on the best route for the day.
When we arrived at the very start of the trail (go right at the car park for pyg) we came across this sign:
“Snow showers above 400m, wind upto 45mph, Snow above 500m, Recommended to carry ice axe and crampons. “
Oh no! We don’t have ice axes or crampons!
We decided we’ll keep heading up, and stop if we feel it’s getting too difficult, or we can’t find safe footing. I think we made the right choice, but please do consider this before you head off. There were some people we met on the way up, who had decided it was too dangerous and they were heading back. The climb would have been much easier had we packed proper snow equipment, but it never reached a point we considered dangerous to ourselves.
We also saw many signs around the start warning NOT to climb the closest peak you see in front of you. It isn’t snowdon! It’s a very difficult climb named crib goch, and should not be attempted unless you’re very experienced. It looks extremely difficult even from the bottom, and we didn’t even attempt it! It certainly wouldn’t have been safe in these conditions.
As we walk up the stone steps, the sheer size already sets in. You’re really climbing a mountain! With crib goch out ahead, and giant valleys spanning to the right and behind you, it’s difficult not to stop and marvel at the landscape!
That last pic is crib goch looming overhead.
So as we continued on, I realised I was getting tired much too quickly. I had packed on the layers and was wearing a giant pea coat over everything. I realise now this was stupid – but I just didn’t have the gear I needed. The coat went into the bag and I continued on – my body heat was more than enough and kept me warm without that huge thing. I wish I’d left it in the car, but it became extra weight on my back!
As you continue up the stone step, you eventually reach a bend, and get to peer down at the beautiful reservoirs below. It serves as a good indication of how high you’ve climbed already!
It’s absolutely stunning, and S wanted to visit just this incredible view alone!
We pushed further onward and up, slowly getting higher and higher, into the snow and wind! It was a bit worrying without ice axes and crampons, but luckily I have the karrimor snowfur boots I bought for our norway trip – they kept my feet nice and toasty!
We met a few people travelling in both directions, we stropped for a chat to everyone on the way down to ask how they managed. Most said it was possible without snow equipment, and seemed confident we could continue! Great news!
Because of the snow, it got a little difficult to find the trail sometimes! We even ended up climbing a treacherous face that we didn’t need to, because we went off track!
As we got to the top stone steps, things got much more slippery, and we had to hang on to the fencing to keep our balance. This was the only part of the trip I felt was risky without Crampons – but we continued on slowly, being very careful of our footing and making sure we kept holding ourselves up! Although, as the point in the picture above, we stopped for a bite to eat, and S’s glove flew down to the bottom! Unbelievably we found it on the way back down!
The very top of the pyg track, where it meets the railway, was the hardest part of the climb – It became extremely slippery and steep, and we had to crawl upwards, being careful not to slide at all. It’s difficult to show in pictures just how steep this section was. As we reached the top of this short section, we were pleased to see flat ground and the top marker! It was incredible to see how the extreme winds and cold had made icicles that stuck sideways to everything around us!
I wish I could say that the view from the summit was the best I’d ever seen – but the cloud cover was too great! We were left with this!
We had no shelter up here – S’s hair was literally freezing, with bits of ice in it, and the wind was very fast, so we decided to keep moving and head back down before we warmed up!
It was an absolutely incredible journey, and it’s got us hooked – next stop Ben Nevis! It’s already booked for mid June!