The Snowdon climb via the Llanberis Path. In all we walked 14.5 km with around 991 mtrs of ascent!
The third and final day of the challenge was soon upon us!
I checked the weather forecast the previous evening and it was looking very poor. Predictions were for 100% rain all morning, with storm force winds coming in for the afternoon. Apparently Wales was about to be hit by the remnants of a hurricane. Perfect weather!
We decided that evening that if we were to climb Mount Snowdon, we would have to start very early so as to avoid the predicted high winds in the afternoon.
The hotel manager was very flexible in this regard. He allowed us to check out much earlier than we would have been able to and he got the Chef to make us all Bacon Sandwiches! Perfect!
The climb was one that I had not done at all. I had been up Snowdon, but had never done it via the Llanberis Path. In fact, until this walk, I had no idea that this path existed!
When we got to the car-park for the climb, the parking attendant warned us about the predicted weather, which at the time I thought was a little ominous.
However, the weather for the morning was actually very good. Negligible wind and no rain – in direct contradiction to the forecast! Never the less I was still quite guarded about the weather and its prospects going forward.
The climb was on a single track with no possibility of getting lost. As such I decided to stay in the back marker position to make sure that we had everybody.
One thing that the team seemed to like was my hiking GPS for it’s elevation reading. Every now and then I’d get stopped to ask how high we were and how much further there was to go. In the case of the Snowdon walk it always seemed that we were making much better progress than we were expecting – which is always good for morale!
I have never used the GPS in this way when hiking solo, so this was a little new to me. However, over the three climbs it did prove to be beneficial to know just how high we were. Maybe on future solo walks I will start to use this facility too.
Once again, I’ll let the pictures tell the story!
The Llanberis Path starts off on a minor road…
To the North East is a slate quarry – a relatively common sight in Wales.
A quick look behind shows that we have already gained a modest amount of elevation.
This is the point where we turn off the road and start climbing up the Llanberis Path proper.
At the lower levels the path is quite well made and relatively shallow. Compared to our previous two climbs, this one is a breeze!
As we ascend we get our first view of the mountain railway in action. Here it is taking water waste down from the cafe at the top of the mountain.
The weather has been pretty good, in direct contradiction to the predictions. The climb has gone pretty smoothly so far. We will soon be at the bridge that goes under the railway.
*Zoom On* The view to the West is excellent. In fact the views we have been getting have been some of the best of all three climbs. It seems that for once the weather is on our side!
We are now at the bridge which is just up ahead. We all have a short rest here before proceeding upward.
The view down to Llyn Dwythwch from the rest spot.
Once we go under the bridge the views become even more impressive!
The view back down on to the railway!
This part is one of the steepest parts of the climb. I jokingly tell everyone that this is the hard bit and that it all flattens out. By now this phrase is being met by a combination of laughs and derision! 🙂
As the track curves around, it does indeed flatten out. The overriding impression at this point is that the hard part is well and truly behind us.
The train service for passengers has now started. Snowdon is one of the few mountains that one can get to the top of without doing any climbing!
The rest of the climb is now very easy!
As the track rounds the corner around Garnedd Ugain we get this beautiful view onto Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw. Down below is the Miner’s Track.
Finally we get to see the peak, or least some of it! It seems the views from the top are going to be a little constrained
The views to the West are excellent. But there is a tangible sense of the weather starting to move in. As such I take the opportunity to take in the views whilst I still can.
A look back up to Garnedd Ugain. The Llanberis Path goes around its Western Flank. Just looking at it brought memories flooding back of my climb up it last year.
The final ascent. It is steeper here, but who cares when the peak is so close at hand?
To our right is the cafe on Snowdon’s peak. This was closed the last time I was up here.
The view to the South from near the peak.
Woooooooot!!!!! The very top of Mount Snowdon!!!! We have all made it!!!! It looks like we have cracked the Three Peaks Challenge! 😀
The view from the peak! Down below we can see the clouds starting to roll in…
A close up of the brass plaque on the Mount Snowdon’s trig point.
We decide to pop into the cafe for some food and drink. The view from its windows are very impressive. However, it was a very surreal experience entering such a civilised place after our long climb! It’s almost like it shouldn’t be here!
The team takes a well deserved rest. There aren’t many mountains where one is presented with such opportunities. Occasionally we spot visitors who have arrived by train – they are obvious by their attire.
I decide to pop outside to admire these doors that were hand-crafted by one of our team members! There must be a certain amount of pride knowing that something that you have made is up here in the harshest of weather conditions.
The cafe is directly serviced by the railway. This means that visitors can pop straight into the cafe without being exposed to any of the mountain elements.
We leave the cafe, but the predicted bad weather has moved in. The winds have picked up and it is starting to rain. However, this doesn’t stop us from taking a team photo at the top of Snowdon!
The descent has now started. The weather is now much more like what we are used to!
I was hoping to get some great photographic views on the way down, but alas…
There was a lot of happy banter on the way down despite the weather. I guess that spirits were high, thanks to the knowledge that we had achieved what we had set out to do: Crack all three mountains on the Three Peaks Challenge – despite the marginal weather.
We soon get to the railway bridge. It should now be plain sailing all the way down!
It’s still raining, but we are now shielded from the worst of the winds by the hill on our right.
Eventually we descend below the cloud layer resulting in much better visibility. Even the rains have eased off!
Soon we get to see the familiar Llyn Padarn lake. It means that our walk will soon be over.
Finally we get back on to the road. Luckily for us, one of our team had forged on ahead and had brought the mini-bus up to us 🙂
So that’s it for the Three Peaks Challenge!
Given the poor weather conditions, I think that we did very well to make all the summits of all three mountains.
In retrospect I’m really glad we climbed the mountains in the order that we did – from hardest to easiest. This is by far the best way to do the Three Peaks.
When we got to the top of Snowdon, we had met another Three Peaks team, but they were going the other way – this was their first mountain. I kind of felt sorry for them, as they had the much harder climbs still ahead of them.
And don’t forget that this challenge was completed to raise money for Jo. So if you want to donate, please pop over to Paul’s Place JustGiving Page.
I’ll see you all tomorrow when I post about the start of my next jaunt!