Climbing Yr Wyddfa/Mount Snowdon - tips
Image: Visit Snowdonia
Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) is the highest mountain in Wales and England. Trekking up this 1,085 metre (3,560 feet) giant is extremely popular - Snowdon is the busiest mountain in Britain. Here are some tips for enjoying your adventure.
Plan your route carefully. There are several different paths to take when climbing Snowdon which all start from different sides of the mountain; the Llanberis Path, Pyg Track, Miners’ Track, Watkin Path, Rhyd-Ddu Path or the Snowdon Ranger Path. You can read more at: www.visitsnowdonia.info/snowdon-walking-routes
This is the easiest and longest of the six main paths to the summit of Snowdon. The Llanberis path is the most popular of the Snowdon routes and also the busiest. The route starts in the village of Llanberis which has plenty of parking and amenities. If this is going to be your first mountain walk or you are coming with children then the Llanberis Path is the ideal route.
Following the opening of the Llanberis pass in 1832, the Miners Path was built to carry copper from the Britannia Copper Works near Llyn Glaslyn to Pen-y-Pass, where it was then transported to Caernarfon.
Both the Pyg Track and Miners’ Track start at Pen-y-Pass. The routes run pretty much parallel with each other, the Miners’ Track starts lower, but both paths join at Llyn Glaslyn. Walkers normally climb Snowdon via the Pyg Track and come down on the Miners’ Track. This circular walk is one of the classic Snowdon ascent routes and probably the most popular.
You now have to pre-book parking at Pen-y-Pass car park. There are public toilets there. If you can't get in it’s worth parking in Llanberis or Nant Peris and making good use of the Sherpa Bus.
The Watkin Path is a particularly challenging route to the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). Walkers considering their first hike might benefit from trying alternative paths. It can be quite steep at the end. The toughest of the Snowdon routes. You start from almost sea level which mean you are climbing almost the full 1,085m height of Snowdon. Spectacular waterfalls too.
Rhyd Ddu Path
This path used to be known as the Beddgelert Path since it was from this village that walkers started their journey to the summit. The quietest of the Snowdon routes, with stunning views.
The path begins near the ‘Snowdon Ranger’ youth hostel, near Llyn Cwellyn. The Ranger Path is one of the easiest routes and also much quieter than the Llanberis Path.
Everyone I spoke to had a different opinion about which was the best path. A lot recommended the Llanberis path if this is your first time climbing Snowdon. But I decided to do the Pyg/Miners circular walk - one of the classic Snowdon ascent routes and probably the most popular. It usually involves ascending via the Pyg Track and then returning along the Miners’ Track. The total distance is 7.4 miles (11.9km) and you should allow 6-7 hours. In hindsight I found the Pyg trail too hard and I would have found the Llanberis easier for my first time!
Crib Goch is the hardest route to the summit of Snowdon. It starts and finishes at Pen y Pass and should take between 4-6 hours. This route follows the Pyg track for a short period, before scrambling onto the Crib Goch ridge, then the Crib y Ddysgl ridge, the Snowdon summit and descending via the Pyg track.
To some it is known as one of the best scrambling routes in the country. You will need to have a head for heights for this exposed and challenging route up Snowdon. A Grade 1 Scramble - which means that the competent scrambler shouldn’t need ropes - in snowy conditions you will need crampon and ice axe skills though. Crib Goch is the site of many accidents - many unfortunately fatal. According to Llanberis Mountain Rescue; 'the route up Crib Goch and along the ridge is extremely dangerous and should not be attempted by novice walkers'.
Image: Visit Snowdonia
Here’ are some hiking basics:
Supportive walking boots
Comfy walking socks Walking trousers
Layers - moisture wicking t-shirt, long sleeved top and a fleece Waterproofs Hat and sunglasses/warm hat and gloves Spare socks Rucksack First aid kit, including an insulated foil blanket and any medication you might need Whistle Charged torch Map and compass, plus details of which route you plan to take Charged phone and power bank Food – high energy snacks plus lunch Plenty to drink
Adventure Smart Wales has been developed in partnership by the many organisations who want people to enjoy the great Welsh outdoors safely. They have some advice abut the right gear on their website. #BeAdventureSmart
Things to Remember
Check the weather forecast from the Met Office and choose a good day, for beautiful, clear views as well as safety. Look up the parking/climbing conditions situation on the Snowdonia National Park website or their Twitter feed @visitsnowdonia.
Hafod Eryri (the summit cafe) is closed until 2023.
There are no public toilets at the summit.
Use OS maps app on my phone to track the path. You can use it on flight mode to ensure battery lasts and take a power bank too.
Pre-booking is now available for Pen y Pass Car Park. Please note that you cannot park at Pen y Pass without pre-booking a parking space. If the car park is full and you are keen to walk from Pen-y-Pass you can use the Snowdon Sherpa Park and Ride Service running from Nant Peris and Llanberis car parks. Full timetables can be found on the Gwynedd Council website.
Visit www.visitsnowdonia.info/ for up to date information.
Image: Visit Snowdonia