Lessons learnt from this trip:
• Dry feet are worth more than gold
• Scotch atop a mountain is about as good as it gets
• Being over-equipped makes one look a fool
Tackling The Tomb:
The Pyg Track is one of three main routes to the summit of the mount; the first, The Miner's Trail is a long winding route, through the valley with a steep incline at the end, considered rather boring. The other option open to us was Cryb Goch, a path along a horseshoe ridge leading to the peak, the path is about 3 feet wide with enormous drops either side. In the forecasted windy conditions, it was agreed that this might be a bit beyond us. So we opted for the Pyg; somehow a path had been hewn into the rock and a giant's staircase of well placed rocks provided a steep and exhausting path straight up the side of the south face. Randall was lagging behind, probably due to his carrying a small reservoir in his pack. Adam marched on ahead looking distinctly like his father, wearing his new boots, thick woolly socks pulled high and, remarkably, shorts. Eventually the path levelled out and we saw the first of many lakes deep in the valley below us. What appeared to be a colourful ant trail winding along beneath us was a horde of the unambitious walking along the flat path of the Miner's Trail. Our path began to grow steeper and before long we needed to use our hands to clamber over rough steps too big for human legs.
|Looking down on the Miner's Trail and reservoir|
|Walking into the clouds|
The gradient increased and we found ourselves venturing into the clouds. The temperature dropped considerably as we approached the 3500 foot mark. Snowdon has been described as the busiest mountain in the UK and we saw this first hand when we were trapped in a bottle neck.
|Left to right: Luke, Adam, Randall, Hugh, Ryan and Marcos|
“You don't want to up there long but..." his words trailed off in the wind as his marching took him beyond audible distance. Ski poles, I thought, they must be the trick to speed. Standing in the queue we witnessed one climber in a bright orange coat took an ice axe from his pack and attempted to make his own path. Quite why he brought such extreme equipment to an amateur’s mountain like this, I don't know. He stumbled about in deep snow for a bit, hacking at the ice like Trotsky's assassin before half walking half falling back into line, red face and hopefully embarrassed. Eventually we got passed the blockage and we didn't have to make fools of ourselves in doing so. The end was now in sight; we marched the last few sections and arrived.
For that brief moment we were the highest band of miscreants in all of Wales. We celebrated with the usual photos, some scotch which went some way to warm us up and the remains of our lunch. Mr Ski-Poles had been right, it was bitterly cold and we were soon on our way back into the shelter of the ridge for our descent.
|Plaque at the summit|
The descent was uneventful, and was taken at less of a charge. We stopped at a lake for Luke to take some stunning photographs and Ryan to prove himself as the worst skimmer of stones in the history of opposable thumbs. While Adam, Marcos and Randall boasted records in excess of 15 bounces Ryan managed 3, on one occasion.
|Snowdonia National Park|
All photos provided courtesy of Luke Doyle