Twice before I had attempted to climb Mt. Snowdon and twice I had failed. Both times were in February and on the miners track and both times I had wanted to push on but was forced to retreat. Snowdonia in the north of Wales is a beautiful wild and rugged national park, the highest point at 1,038 meters (3,406 ft) is Mount Snowdon. It’s not that high certainly but a great climb depending on what routes you take. Most people take the long and gradual Llanberis path which is a great introduction to walking and there’s also some pretty serious ridge routes such as The Snowdon Horseshoe. The miners track that I’ve attempted twice before lies somewhere in between and finally on my third attempt, and my dads third attempt, we made it. Note: we had not tried to climb Snowdon together before now.
[AFG_gallery id=’15’]So this time my Dad, Sis, Mel and I were well equipped for bad weather, my Sis and Mel had made the summit before on the Llanberis path in the summer but for my dad and I the stakes were high, we didn’t want to have to turn back again it was becoming a sore subject, it’s not supposed to be that hard.
Snowdon map tracked with my Garmin 310xt
The climb was fantastic, previously I had only made it as far as where the Miners Track meets the PYG about 3/4 of way up and the rest of the walk turned out to be steep and interesting. The top was deep into the clouds and the visibility, extremely low, perhaps 15 to 20 meters at times. Snow lay on the ground in various stages of melting making every surface slippery and later adding extra excitement to the decent, melt-water trickled down over the rocks and steps of the path turning snow to icy slush.
It was a great day and I enjoyed spending time with family and doing something new, these trips seldom cost much but are incredibly valuable in hindsight. My dad had proposed this climb years ago and though it took some time with busy schedules etc. we finally managed to stick to our plans and summit Mt. Snowdon as we said we would.
[AFG_gallery id=’16’]Snowdonia is a fantastic landscape and the many mountains in the region make a great introduction to walking and mountaineering. It’s easy and cheap to try some routes here, partly because there are plenty of campsites, hotels and hostels. We stayed in The Legacy Royal Victoria Hotel in Llanberis which was good value and included a self service continental breakfast which we fully utilised before our climb.
Many of the walks can be done with minimum gear in the summer, the Llanberis path is safe for novices in good weather and has a train running along side it which you can board at various points. I would suggest to anyone climbing for the first time that they find and learn how to use an Ordnance Survey map and compass before they go. If you can navigate properly you’ll be better able to keep on the right path, avoid danger and retreat if necessary. Navigation skills are essential for all but the tamest of tourist routes and will give you confidence when out in the wild.
Trivia; Llyn Llydaw, the second and largest lake along the miners path, is one of the supposed locations that the Lady of the Lake offered King Author the sword Excalibur in Arthurian legend.