This weekend, I embarked on a trip to summit the highest peak in Wales, Snowdon. Located in Snowdonia National Park, this mountain has a rich history and some of the most visited mountain trails in the country. The majority of traffic comes in the summer when the weather and views are more favorable for tourists. A steam train runs from Llanberis to the summit in just under an hour. There are several tracks up the mountain, allowing anybody, from skilled mountaineers to day hikers to summit this majestic peak. I have visited Snowdon many times with my family and friends, starting when I was just a little lad. This particular time, I went up the mountain on the Pyg Track. This is one of the faster tracks, labeled as a moderate climbing level.
We started our climb quite late in the morning, around 9:30, and headed up the Pyg Track. Before leaving, I had conversed with some hikers who had gone up the day before, and they said that there was 'snow and Ice' on the top. Having never been up Snowdon in the winter before, I was desperately hoping for snow! As we started climbing up, it became clear that we would not have a very good view up at the summit. We were down below the clouds for the majority of our hike, right up until the last few hundred meters. As soon as we entered the clouds, we began seeing ice and snow everywhere. Luckily I was prepared with ice grips so the ice did not present a danger. Soon, the temperature began to drop, to a moderate -1*C. This soon became much colder as the wind picked up. Visibly quickly reduced and the trip (in my eyes) just got a whole lot more exciting! With winds strong enough to lean on, we continued our ascent. Very soon we reached the top of the ridge we were traveling across and got on the other side; we were now lee to the wind. Ice and snow began appearing everywhere you looked and hikers were descending with tales of high winds and slippery ice on the way to the summit.
20181124_143631.jpg My apologies, but for some reason the image I wanted to include rotated every time I included it. This link will allow you to see it.
As we reached nearer to the end, the railway, which takes people up during the summer, appeared into sight; a sign that we were almost there! Soon, the summit came into view! It was quite different from what I was used to in the summertime. Usually, it was simply a small beacon that people stood around in sunglasses, taking selfies. This time, because of the dangerously strong winds, you all you could see was a huddle of people in big puffy jackets holding on to the beacon for dear life! The image below shows the stunning views we had at the summit! We could see for tens of feet!
Our view from the Snowdon summit!
Soon, we had lunch and headed down. As we began descending, we took the 'Miners Track' down; a much easier and calmer track to follow back to Penn-y-Pass. As we got out of the clouds it was a massive relief. Once again, we could see! The wind calmed down and the temperatures rose again. This is when it got easy! As we headed down the miners' track, we came across a large lake, where we stopped for some snacks. We discovered a large cave system of an old abandoned mine in the heart of the mountain. I would include a picture, but the cold weather seemed to stop my phone's capabilities of using flash! After our break, we continued and finished our descent.
All taken by myself (forgive the poor quality!)