Friday, July 26, 2013 @ 5:22 PM in 2013 Europe
What a day. When I left the hostel in the morning it was absolutely pouring down rain. I waited a few minutes for it to calm down and then made my way down to the bus stop. The plan was to catch the Snowdon Sherpa bus over to Pen-Y-Pass where I'd catch the Pyg Track trail. The Pyg Track would take me over Crig Goch and onto Snowdon.
I got into town (still in the rain) and picked up a sandwich and some fruit for lunch. I wasn't really sure what to do so I said "screw it" and hopped on the bus. I figured I'd head over to the trialhead and at least see if the weather would clear up.
Fortunately I made the right choice. By the time I got there the skies were clearing and I could actually see some peaks in the distance. When I was talking to the employee at the outdoor shop last night he mentioned taking the alternate track up the Crib Goch for some better views and a more intense hike. I didn't know quite what he meant until about 45 minutes into my hike.
The trail I was on basically ended and expected you to climb a few hundred feet up what were essentially vertical cliff faces. Flashbacks of climbing at the gym were flooding back. Make sure your feet are well planted. Lift with your feet. Balance with your hands. The only difference is I hadn't ever had to do that on wet rocks, with a backpack and without rope.
There was a group a few hundred feet ahead of me so I knew it could be done. I chugged along and finally made it to the peak! The next challenge? Hiking a long an extremely narrow ridge with several hundred foot dropoffs on either side. And when I say hiking a long the ridge, I'm using that term loosely. It was more of a straddle/climb/scramble over the ridge for a good mile.
Edmund Hillary used Snowdon as his training ground when preparing for his ascent of Everest. I kinda laughed at that fact yesterday when I read it but after hiking along the crazy ridges and scree fields, it seems like a very good place to do some intense training.
I got to one point where I lost the trail and rather than risk continuing along this relentless ridge I bushwhacked my way down a mile long scree/boulder/creek/sheep shit filled obstacle course until I caught back up with the original Pyg Track. When I started my abandonment of the ridge in favor of living a long life, there were two guys ahead of me that carried on along the ridge (more on that later).
Having my feet planted on solid ground and on an actual trail again, I made good time hiking up to the top. This trail is actually pretty busy and Snowdon is one of the most trafficked mountains in the UK with over 500,000 visitors a year. The views along the hike were absolutely incredible. Unfortunately the peak of Snowdon was in a giant cloudbank when I got there and I couldn't admire any of the views. On a clear day you're supposed to be able to see over 140 miles from the peak including several countries. I got to see fog.
I ate lunch near the summit and the clouds broke a few times so I could take some photos. For my descent I took a path directly back into the town I was staying in. It's a very steady and uneventful path with views that are good, but nothing like the ones from the Pyg Track. I made pretty fast time back into town and decided that my adventures for the day would be better with a few pints. I went to a pub and had a couple and relaxed on the patio for an hour or so.
I came back to the hostel, showered and started uploading photos. I'm going to have some more ravioli for dinner and probably pass out early. I'm also going to check and see if the hostel has availability for tomorrow night as well. I'd like to do a few of the other hikes around here since the scenery is so amazing.
Posted from: Wales