The Not Snowdon In The Snow trip 2017

Llanberis path on Snowdon In The Snow trip

The last few years have seen me join a trip to Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa (traditionally called ‘Snowdon In the Snow’) with a group of friends – some old, some new. I’ve organised it a couple of times too, if my unreliable memory serves me well.

The trip this weekend comprised seven of us and was organised by Jenny.

The annual (to date) trip originated before I first attended in 2012.

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Snowdon In The Snow 2016 jaunt

Snowdon In The Snow hike trip Llanberis Path

Last week was that time of year again for the annual pilgrimage to Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon summit: Snowdon In The Snow. Pilgrimage? Well, the same route repeated each year, albeit with varying group composition and often with a physical / meteorological challenge to get to a snow-capped pinnacle feels like a pilgrimage to me. I’m not religious but I was praying for decent weather and the chance to see (for once) some views from the top. Hallelujah (ok, I’ll stop now) – the weather was with us and we had great views in the biting air on the summit.

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A Snowdon jaunt

I headed over to Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon on Saturday with some Marsden mates and my son (also a mate). I knew them all but (stick with me) they didn’t all know each other before the walk. I forget how a big a village / small town Marsden is.

Five of the guys hadn’t walked up Snowdon before so there was a nice sense of excitement. I’ve been on a few ‘Snowdon in the Snow’ trips over the last 4 years, always sociable fun and a good day’s walk. But being in January or early Feb, they had all been susceptible to poor weather. In fact, last year saw four of us battle a blizzard and turn back (sensibly) just before the Clogwyn Coch area.

So this year’s trip, falling as it did in the third week of March, could have brought clear skies and amazing vistas.

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(Some of) Snowdon in the Snow 2014

Llanberis Path Snowdon

‘Snowdon in the Snow’ has become a bit of a tradition – it’s surprising how quickly things become that. It was my fourth (I think) year (the outing has been going longer than that though) although I’ve walked up Snowdon on other occasions too.

Like last year, we didn’t get to the top this time – very sensibly turning back near the long slope parallel to the Clogwyn Cliffs area (and not on the railway line / near the edge of course!). That was when the gale force wind, slippery compacted snow, stinging wind-blown ice crystals and low visibility all turned it up another notch. Snow Hill (Snow Dun in old english) / Yr Wyddfa (The tumulus / grave) lived up to its name.

We later heard that two other parties (one was a solo walker) had got into difficulties on the same day, due to avalanches above the Pyg Track and also the lone walker straying onto a cornice. Very sobering, as I think they had all the right clothing and gear and I hope they are / will all recover well. Mountain Rescue were involved in both rescues.. we saw the helicopter swing around the back of Snowdon as we were descending. I donated to LLanberis MRT whilst writing this post, seeing them in action (albeit from a distance) remind me what an essential, great service this is.

We were right to stop when we did and to use the Llanberis path but even walking up that path becomes risky in poor conditions, pretty much from the point you go through the railway tunnel and emerge out into the Cwm Glas Bach (cliffs) area.

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The Misty Mountain .. a walk up Snowdon

Hiker Snowdon Pen Y Pas

I planned  for a while (along with son Joe) to have a walk up Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa, to ‘rectify’ not going all the way to the top in snowy February. Joe wanted to get the top as he’s never been to the summit and I wanted to see it in actual sunshine. All of my trips to the top have seen mist, rain, sleet or snow (or all four!).

And I also wanted some training for my forthcoming Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge.

We headed off early on Saturday in the hope of getting a space in the Pen-Y-Pass car park and then starting up the Pyg Track nice and early (7.30 ish). So, we left the house at 5 a.m, we did indeed get to the car park at 7.30 a.m – but it was already full. I parked further down the hill towards Llanberis in one of two large lay-bys. And we then walked for twenty minutes back up hill to the Pyg Track start. It’s all good Yorkshire 3 Peaks training exercise I guess 🙂

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Snowdon In the Snow 2013

Joe on the path up towards Cwm Glas Bach

About this time last week I was two thirds towards the summit of Snowdon (just above the railway bridge and with the cliffs of Cwm Glas Bach on my left as I looked up hill to Clogwyn Coch). And that’s as far as I got. Standing with son Joe and a couple of other mates (from a much larger group strung out above and below us on Llanberis path), I was ho-humming about completing the final section to the top. Some time with Joe and a cup of tea back at the Pen Ceunant Tea House won out. Down through the snow storm (and then sleet) we headed. More of that later, I’m getting ahead of myself…

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