Ascent of Snowdon on 1993-06-27
|Others in Party:||Jan R.|
|Date:||Sunday, June 27, 1993|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Hitchhiking|
| Elevation:||1085 m / 3560 ft|
Ascent Trip ReportToday was a beautiful, warm, sunny day, completely unlike the previous day's downpour and, I would imagine, very uncharacteristic for Wales. Jan and I ate the hostel-served breakfast, a chaotic scene of waiting to get one's food and then waiting to wash dishes like we were supposed to. Our plan was to hitchhike up to Pen-Y-Pass, climb up Mt. Snowdon, and then hike back to Llanberris, since that avoided doing the same trail twice. There was no morning bus on Sunday up to Pen-Y-Pass, so we walked out past the edge of town, found a wide, grassy shoulder, and started thumbing. Jan said it was the first time in her life she had ever hitchhiked.
A couple in a small car picked us up after about fifteen minutes, and we barely fit in their back seat, and the ride only took us two-thirds of the way up to the pass--we were let off on the narrow mountain road, with stone walls on either side, as the couple stopped to do another hike. We started walking up the road, finding that very dangerous due to its narrowness and curves, but there was no safe place to stand, and we figured we'd walk up to the pass if no cars came.
Fortunately, a guy in a mini-panel truck stopped for us after passing us--he hadn't even seen our thumbs, but thought he'd stop anyway. We happily climbed in the roomy back, and I talked to him about my hobby of doing high-points for the ten-minute ride to Pen-Y-Pass, where I had spent a rainy hour or so yesterday. Jan and I slathered on some sunblock, got our packs together, ate a little snack, and set off up the trail. The terrain was rocky and totally above timberline from the start, and we easily hiked up to Llyn Llydaw Lake, where I convinced Jan that we could make a detour from the main trail over the subsidiary summit Y-Lliwedd. So we climbed up steeply from the lake--I would stop to pick up pictures, Jan liking the way I was able quickly retrieve my camera from my pocket.
The crest of Y-Lliwedd was steep and jagged, and we carefully climbed our way to the summit, where we had a nice rest. Descending was tougher--the trail virtually disappeared, and the only way down was on very steep broken talus. Jan did pretty well on this stuff, which I was more used to. While descending we saw a bunch of "fell runners", practitioners of a British sport that was basically running up and down mountains--those guys were fast, and a bit crazy, we thought.
At the Y-Lliwedd-Snowdon Col the route became easier, and we followed a broad, rocky ridge among increasing hordes of hikers to the summit of Mt. Snowdon, 1085 meters (3560 feet), the highest peak in Wales. The whole area reminded me of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire to a strong degree--the rocky terrain, the number of hikers, the cog railway to the summit disgorging even more tourists, and even the general topography of the summit region. At the top Jan and I took pictures, went in to the packed visitor center/cafeteria, and quickly left to escape the mobs.
We hiked down more or less parallel to the summit railway, a more crowded route than our way up, but an easy trail. We talked to each other more on the way down to Llanberris, soon reaching trees, farms, and fields.
Near Llanberris we took a slight detour up a steep road to look for a waterfall we had heard about, but initially we couldn't find it, even after roaming around several fields by the brook. At last we discovered it, having to cross the train tracks just as a train had passed us to get the best view.
The youth hostel didn't open up until 5 PM, and it was only 3, so Jan and I ate a big lunch/dinner at a restaurant on Llanberris's main street--I had a burger and fries and glanced through a newspaper when not talking to Jan, both of us sticking out somewhat amidst the Welsh-speaking locals. After our meal we walked up the hill to the youth hostel, meeting a Norwegian kid (Ronnie) one-third the way up, who we talked to for the rest of the way and as we waited outside the hostel for it to open.
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