At 1,085 metres in height, Snowdon is the tallest mountain in England and Wales and as such, a magnet for climbers and walkers of all levels of experience.
There are five major walking routes up the mountain, and we’ve pooled together a checklist of what you need to consider before you take on the challenge, so you can keep yourself, and the rest of your family safe throughout the adventure.
Mind Over Mountain
If you’re afraid of heights, climbing Snowdon may not be for you, although there are less high routes than others.
Being physically fit is only half the battle. You need to be mentally tough too as some routes will draw on your inner determination resources.
But being well prepared for your climb will definitely bolster your confidence and support your efforts, so here are your dos and don’ts.
You need to give over a full day for climbing Snowdon – mountain climbing really isn’t something you can rush. Routes vary but take between 3 to 5 hours to ascend and 2 to 3 hours to descend.
With an estimated one hundred thousand people a year scaling Snowdon there are, in addition, many other visitors to Snowdonia as a whole and, worryingly, in 2015 the Llanberis Mountain rescue team had to respond to around 250 calls for assistance in the area.
So the better prepared you are, the better!
To be safe, make an early start, preferably in good weather. Take a map and compass with you so you follow the correct route – and definitely don’t think you can rely on your smartphone as there are many areas where you won’t get any signal at all!
Also, be honest with yourself. You may like a challenge, but to stay safe match your skills to the route you choose.
Choose the Right Route
- Llanberis Route
As the main tourist path up Snowdon, the Llanberis Route can be very busy in the summer months, but it’s an easy path to follow. During peak season you can stop at The Half Way House café – although don’t be fooled by the name. It’s actually only a third of a way up the mountain! But if you’ve only had a little hillwalking experience, or children in tow, this is probably the route for you.
- Snowdon Ranger
This is another of the easier routes, although you should be forewarned there is a short steep section with loose scree. It is, however, a good choice if you want to avoid the crowds and you will feel quite isolated until you join the main Llanberis Path.
- Pyg and Miner’s Route
This is a good almost circular walk covering much more serious terrain, so you’ll need to be a more experienced hillwalker to tackle this one. You’ll encounter some uneven surfaces and you’ll also need a bit of a head for heights – but the views of the summit of Snowdon from the Pyg track are just spectacular.
4. Rhydd Ddu
This is another fairly quiet path but with a much more challenging section in that you have to traverse along the south ridge. If you’re not an experienced hillwalker, this route should be avoided unless the weather is perfect, because when the wind picks up, the south ridge can get nasty.
5. Watkin Path
This is probably the longest route in terms of distance, starting from the lowest point of Snowdon. It’s also a fairly quiet route which may be because of its length, and since the top of the path traverses a very loose scree slope which is not easy terrain.
Whatever kind of adventure you’re after it’s always advisable to research it thoroughly to stay safe – and you can never underestimate local knowledge.
If you’re in any doubt at all about your competence to climb safely you should consider a guided walk up Snowdon available through Snowdonia Adventures, for example.
Given this is going to be a challenging activity, consider your own comfort before you go – starting with your feet, because they’re going to be doing all the hard work.
You’ll need sturdy walking shoes or boots, although in the summer you can get away with more lightweight variations – but definitely not street shoes… Or high heels!
Your choice of appropriate clothing is important, too, because whatever the season, mountain weather can be very changeable, so it’s important to have clothing for all occasions. Pack waterproofs and an extra sweater – just in case.
Also, consider food and drink. Take plenty of food and water and, if you ever needed an excuse to pack chocolate into your picnic, here it is: chocolate gives you a good quick energy boost if you need it. Mind you, so do healthy energy cereal bars.
Take around two litres of water each to be safe, although in an emergency, walkers have been known to drink fast-running stream water.
As a springboard to all of your adventures in Wales, caravans for sale can be found in stunning beauty spots across Snowdonia. Please get in touch with us for more information.