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What are your Snowdon options..
As the highest mountain in Wales, with its many faces, ridges and trails, Snowdon, or in Welsh Yr Wyddfa, is for many the perfect mountain, dominating North Wales, and playing host to stories that are told throughout the whole country and beyond. As a famous peak, Snowdon is considered a considerable challenge for those getting into hillwalking. If you’ve already been up one of the paths to the top, why not take it a step further, and if you’re thinking about a challenge this year, Snowdon offers all sorts of opportunities.
Summiting Snowdon is one of the all time great mountain days in the UK, and by summiting I mean walking up, not taking the train. The three classic routes for first-timers are the Llanberis path, because of it’s more gentle angle and it’s easy access to the town of Llanberis, and the Pyg and Miner’s tracks, which start at the highest point possible on a road and so have the least ascent. These are all excellent routes, and just because they’re popular certainly doesn’t lessen the dramatic scenery and the sense of achievement on reaching this iconic peak.
If you’re keen to make your challenge different, or have already done one of the more popular paths, why not head round to the quieter western side and take the Ranger’s path, or even the south ridge. You’ll see a side of the mountain you won’t glimpse on the other routes, and you’re day will be even more unique. It’ll certainly be a good story to tell back in the office to those who have ‘only’ been up the Pyg track.
For those people really willing to push the boat out, wait until the sun goes down and attempt Snowdon at night or better still a Snowdon Moonlight Experience. The mountain has a totally different feel after dark, with the drops and precipices hidden from view, or if you’re lucky, the moonlight giving a silver sheen to the rocks of this ancient volcanic peak. You’ll need a good torch and an adventurous spirit, but you’ll have good company, as Wordsworth himself summited Snowdon at night, an experience immortalised in his Prelude. You could even plan to be on the summit for sunrise as part of our Snowdon Sunrise Experience, before heading down for breakfast before most people have even woken up.
After the ascent itself, possibly the greatest challenge on Snowdon is the Snowdon Horseshoe, which has been described alongside the Cuillin of Skye as the greatest ridge walk in Britain; and it’s certainly the most accessible. The traditional route starts and finishes at Pen y Pass and traverses over the ridge of Crib Goch before climbing Garnedd Ugain and Snowdon before completing the circuit via the long arm of Y Lliwedd. Much of the route is a graded scramble and the descent from the Snowdon summit is infamous for loose stones and a steep drop. The Horseshoe is a test of your ability to handle heights, use your hands when necessary, and be up for a big day out. The knife-edge ridges give spectacular views, and in winter conditions the route is a serious mountaineering expedition. In all conditions it’s certainly not forgettable!
Beyond these excellent challenges, Snowdon plays host to a role in two great British multi-peak challenges, the National Three Peaks and the Welsh Three Peaks. For these challenges most people use the Pyg or Miner’s tracks because of the ascent, though of course for variety you could go up one and down the other.
Whatever your goal for Snowdon, a day out on this brilliant mountain is one to enjoy and remember. With a guided walking group your challenge can become much more than just a slog up and down a hill, and you’re far more likely to succeed with someone to show you the way. For any challenge, remember that climbing a mountain is a serious undertaking, and knowledge of equipment and mountain weather is needed, as well as a plan B. Mountain leaders can do all this while you enjoy the view!
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