It was the first time for me and my group on a Saturday in late April.
We started at Pen Y Pass car park at 9am. 'Nice and early'. Which was a great decision.
We all were in agreement that made it more peaceful and relaxing and more like a personal adventure and less like a tourist destination.(Or maybe im just selfish and wanted it all to ourselves).
The views just get better and better as we turned every corner or reached another 20 feet higher.
This gave us oppurtunities to take quick breaks for 30 secs- 1min or so to take pictures and skimming a few stones at the reservoir and at one of many mini waterfalls to taste the rocky tasting water, sheep jokes. etc.
Miners track (the obvious one from the carpark)- (the lowest one initially walking between the reservoirs pass)
So far there was some sun and abit of wind - we started with hat and gloves and 3/4 layers, we frequently took them off and on depending on shade/breezy places and gradients.
Then after 45 mins in, we finally we reached a slightly higher reservoir just as beautiful as the last with some small building ruins on the side of the path - which was a good place to take a 10 minute snack break -Nothing heavier than fruits, biscuits, crisps, chocss, nuts, sandwich/es, juice and protein drinks etc.
The climb immediately ahead was visibly steeper then anything we had experienced so far. We took a unobvious path up to the higher track (pyg i think) - But we soon got the hand of knowing the path as there are more unnatural locations for stones or treaded paths (you will know what i mean when you do it).
Then we joined onto the pyg track after having a 3 min break - 30 mins since the last - the pyg which had a handful more people who started off that way probably or a few real early birds who were on their way down- obviously more experienced climbers.
Then it became abit more challenging - having to use your hands now and again to help yourself to the next step or layer - we called it scrambling like climbing 1,2 and 3 house steps at a time.
This was abit more narrower and more was care needed and all good little sweat on and all breathing a little heavier. higher altitude and effort - great leg workouts/calorie burner all the way.
Luckily we had no rain or snow apart from the snow already there around 200m from the top.
We reached the top of the climb where i think all the paths meet. where you can go left to the snowdon summit - or right to the other peak - it was in 3 -5 inch snow(crunchy and non slippy). No issue.
My least enjoyable part was the final ascent as it was not natural to the snowdon summit - there were big steps -sleeper like steps. and obviously more people
The summit in the clouds now and again, was quite busy but plenty of space to easily find a spot to have a 20 min rest and enjoy the summit after the intial self me pics and group pics at the summit. Out came the pasta pots,sandwiches,bagels, crisps, protein drinks, celebratory sips of vodka(only a few each but warming) - The cafe was closed but we thought it may be because the train wasnt running. Due to snow at the summit, or because it was just before busy season.
Then we decided it was only a10-15 mins detour to the other summit (probably 50 mtrs in height lower than the summit) - so we did that seeing as it was our first time - alot less people as its snow covered and less popular.
Then the descent down - when we walked back to the path you could see the snake of people zigzaging the paths below. Not too busy that it was unenjoyable. We had 1- 2 min breaks every now and again for more jpgs - chats or just to enjoy that particular angle/view.
On the way down was obviously easier but still more a litlle strain on the knees and ankles. Deciding to go the pyg track -was or felt the longer way but we didnt mind as it was a different route - more views and a different experience. Luckily still no rain at all!!!
Some could actually hop down the paths from stone to stone like a game planning the next 2-3 steps in advance but never being stupid about it. (It seemed the two with running trainers found it so easy due to cushioning of them - rather then the sturdy soles of the walking boots or walking trainers)- more on that below.
If we went the way we came - we would have completed it in 5 hours maximum.( but were in no hurry and no slouches either) but we completed it in 6 hours approx. If id done 5 times prob 4 hrs.
The Pyg track- (i think), took us on the other side of the mountain with totally different views which led us to the car back (the back way) walking down where you can see the brown cafe and the few buildings opposite with car park behind it.
Then the drive home - i had a little 1/2 hour sleep thanks to the 4am wakep up time and a tough week at work. Then Finally it starting raining when in the comfort of the vehicle. So all in all a great group 10 of us - 7 lads 3 girls aged 20-35
NONE OF US DID ANY SPECIALISED TRAINING OR PRACTICE - Most of us do some sort of excercise generally like football, gym, jogging etc. NONE OF US WERE 'OVERWEIGHT' or unfit enough to complete this - Id give it a 6/10 for challenge as to not disrespect it considering this was our first attempt. 10/10 for beauty - I saw active kids/people doing it no probs -maybe as they are so light and energetic but not lazy or big people- Though a fit big person could do it imo.
There is a less demanding route i - but we didnt do that one - route on the other side of the mountain which most cyclists take - the train route way from the top but not to PenYpas.
The views make it worth it - the wonder of having this in the UK - None of us are strangers to international travel but even this climb had us saying WOW etc at least 10 times.
Recommended clothing -
HIKING TRAINERS/BOOTS ******- with hard soles and anke support if possible
(Comfortable - hard soles - water proof). At least RUNNING TRAINERS ** with thick soles.
WATERPROOF TROUSERS **** - If it rains you will be so grateful * - (well fitted and comfy).
Stay away from anything restrictive - like tight jeans and trousers.
Minimum COMBAT TROUSERS which was what i wore. Ot TRACKSUIT BOTTOMS
Optional underlayer - shorts or boxers -
AT LEAST ONE of the next three - i wore all 3 and had a spare tracksuit top *in my bag incase.
Optl Underlayer tshirt vest **
Optl Tshirt- Vest top ***
OPtl Hoody- Fleece top jumper ***
WATERPROOF /WINDPROOF JACKET***** with hood £15 upwards(internet) i had a semiwaterproof - Underprepared if it rained.
HAT - ** to cover ears and wind break (waterproof maybe)
scarf - in the bag
small hand towel
TISSUES we all had the sniffles - wet wipes.
spare socks - in the bag
TORCH - You never know- but busy and good weather and always had good daylight
LIGHTER - You never know Hardly anything dry enough to burn except clothes .
FOOD & DRINK ***** ALL OF THE BELOW - Everyone shared which was nice to try different things
Light sugary snacks eg Biscuit bars - dried/fresh fruit - nuts - bag of crisps - biscuits -Olives/Cheeses.
Main carbohydrates - BREADED eg sandwiches/bagels/wraps or Pasta pot- add meat to pref.
DRINKS - WATER Min 330ml bottle. Juice-squash drink/s 330ml min. Protein drink. Energy drink.
I TOOK A COMPLETE CHANGE OF CLOTHES AND LEFT IT IN THE MINIBUS
AND SOME FOODS i didnt want to take up with me - Chicken Drumsticks - Samosas - Fairy Cakes etc but could have easily took it up with me if i wanted.
A CAMERA **** and /or PHONE. Try and capture the beauty but a pic cant do it justice.
Please do it but plan properly and take your time - some places a slip could do u damage or worse.
Take a break before you need to. We stopped probably 15 times which prob added up to 50 mins. inc top 20 & 1st stop 10 mins. So the rest where 1-5 min stops.Drink liquids - and small snacks - gum -biscuits -chocs while walking now and again to keep you going.
The chats and talks you would never have elsewhere - the achievement - the challenge - the views the clean air - the back to nature - the fun - the other climber passing comments and chats/jokes.The anticipation, the fitness, and much much more. and finally the want to it again or a different challenge - eg Ben Nevis - possibly the 3 peaks next year.lol. maybe.
PS. PARKING AT Pen Y Pass Car park (pay n display) -approx. 50 spaces. Was prob full by 9.30. Other people had to park lower down on the roads -safe - but extra 15-20 min walks on a road. up and down.
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