Ascent of Snowdon on 2014-08-30

Climber: Marcus Lostracco

Others in Party:Jeremy Schmid
Date:Saturday, August 30, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:3560 ft / 1085 m

Ascent Trip Report

A day-trip to Snowdonia from South Wales with my buddy Jeremy - checking in the prior night at the Pen-Y-Pass youth hostel (very nice) for 19 GBP (very nice). The drive up was fairly exciting, considering it was my first real drive in the UK. We made it no problem, with only 30 minutes to spare for check-in (midnight). After about 5 hours of sleep, we got up to be first in the breakfast line (7AM). The parking for the day at Pen-Y-Pass was 10 GBP (not very nice... that's what you get with an inelastic demand curve).

We hit the trail at 7:45AM. We were told the prior night to avoid the Crib Goch approach due to the wet/misty conditions. So we followed the advice and opted for the Pyg Track, which was very scenic and dramatic for the first 45 minutes or so, then we were in the clouds, and had no views. The trail was busy, many people out to enjoy the day. The hike is fairly moderate, with some "all fours" sections on the more vertical rock (nothing technical). The trail is fairly obvious to the top, about 3.4 miles from the TH, which we achieved in 1 hour 45 minutes. On the approach to the summit we witnessed the train on its way down, emerging through the clouds. Not very long afterwards, some mountain bikers came down the main trail (pretty technical stuff) - my guess is they took the train up and rode from the top.

The summit has a very cool cylindrical spire with a brass circular plate on top indicating what you can see on a clear day. It was almost mocking us, since we were pretty much whited-out. At the summit the winds were pretty intense, a good windbreaker is required up there. To our disappointment, the cafe at the top does not open until 10AM, so we "cracked on", as they say, for our descent, which we had intended to follow the south ridge back down to Pen-Y-Pass. The sheep are still abundant at this height, but those up here have very thick wool coats... probably haven't been shaved in years.

Although it was our intention to take the South ridge that continued back to Pen-Y-Pass, this is not what we ended up doing. We made a wrong turn and took the Rhyd Ddu path instead of the Watkins path. About 45 minutes down our descent (when the clouds cleared) we realized we were not anywhere near where we were supposed to be. Oops. We decided to cut across to the Watkins path which continued down to a very beautiful approach trail, and took it right down to the road. Watkins path has some very cool waterfalls near the base of the trail. We walked down to a nearby cafe for some lunch and a beer, and then made the move to hitchhike back up to Pen-Y-Pass (it was going to be a 6-mile walk). A super nice old couple from Bangor picked us up. They were very proud Welsh folks and were happy to give us a ride. The man informed us that he had hiked up Snowdon 11 times, and he was only able to get a view on 2 occasions.

The overall hike was 8.5 miles, not too hard, but we definitely felt exhausted afterwards. We winded down at Pen-Y-Pass hostel, leaving our clothes in their convenient "dry room" and gave ourselves a 2PM depart time to go attempt Tryfan.

It's always impressive to think on what can be done in one single day.

Lessons learned on this hike:
- triple check the map before continuing
- sheep are better climbers than humans
- there is an 18.2% chance you will have a view from the top of Snowdon
- the landscape in Snowdonia is incredible and there are many easily-accessible hikes that can be done
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2379 ft / 725 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.5 mi / 13.7 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Very Windy, White-out
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2379 ft / 725 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:Pyg Track
    Start Trailhead:Pen-Y-Pass  1181 ft / 359 m
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km
    Route:Watkins Path
    Time:3 Hours 0 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Marcus Lostracco
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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