What an awesome day! It has to be said, as can be seen by the title, that I bottled Crib Goch. The weather looked so sweet on the way in that you almost had to do it, but the cloud had closed in a little by the time we got there. I was carrying a lot of weight, and wearing brand new four season boots, and basically felt that I would slow down mes comrades. That is the official line and I’m sticking to it!
As I have mentioned above I was carrying a lot of weight. Particularly problematic were the new four season boots on the initial ascent. To be totally honest I was convinced the weather would be the usual crap. If I had known it would be a decent day, I would have gone light and gone for the horseshoe. I have said before that I had been avoiding Snowdon, and the reasons for that were all too apparent. There were hordes of people on their way up in trainers, jeans, track suits, leather jackets etc. Some Canadian tourists bumped in to some WBMC members who had just gone over Crib Goch and Crib y Ddysgl, asking if they were nearly at the summit of Mount Snowdon. When they were told rather curtly that they were on the wrong top they rather wisely decided to descend – but over Crib Goch (-:
Anyway, rant over for all of another paragraph, I had decided on the coach that I would decide whether to go for Crib Goch or up the Pyg track at Bwlch y Moch. I looked at the sharp ascent up to the ridge, and just felt that I would be far too slow, and didn’t want to risk aggravating the thigh strain gained on the Brecons last week (which I did anyway). We proceeded up the Pyg track, which has a nice easy gradient all the way to the top – not dissimilar to the path from Glenriddings to Raise. We knew that at about 950m we would be entering a cloud as Crib Goch was clear – but only just. As we got nearer to the cloud it got colder, and suddenly snow started to appear on the ground.
It was not at all long after this that we topped out at Bwlch Glas. The Llanberis path that we picked up reminded me of exactly why I had avoided this mountain for so long. You could quite easily get my gearboxless Punto up it, well this section in any case. The photos show how much snow was lying on the ground and flying around in the air. It was not too slippy until we neared the summit, and even then only the final 5 or 10 metres of ascent were quite treacherous. I met one couple who had never climbed before, who had got this far, but just could not get up the spiral staircase on to the very top.
I slowly clambered up to the trig point, being joined quite soon after by Barbara and Anthony. Maybe the key to climbing Snowdon is not getting up at 5am as we had in July! Having said all that I have of disliking this mountain, I did feel a massive amount of satisfaction, even vengeance, for completing what I had turned back on in July.
The cafe was shut, I thought that I was being wound up on the ascent, but no, it was shut. We had lunch in the snow, using the cafe as a windbreak. It was -°5 with the windchill on the summit. This was the first time in a long while that I had not felt cold on a mountain. I wore gloves, which I have not done since Cadair Idris last march, and I also wore my fleece ski balaclava. I wore a fleece lined pair of salopettes which were absolutely wicked (thats excellent for the older gen.) and didn’t overheat at all, which I feared that I might – not bad for £29.99 from TK Max.
We weren’t going to be hanging around on the summit for long, we had arrived on top at about 13:15, we left at about 13:30, heading straight back in to the wind. My body didn’t feel cold, on top I only had my windshield and a thermal base layer, but I could feel the wind biting in to my face. The group split in to 2 here. One group decided to head back down the Llanberis bath and sit in a cafe all arvo. Us younger ones decided to go and bag a Marilyn on the way in to Llanberis.
We came to a junction on the Snowdon Ranger where we could either walk around a hill, or walk over it. It just had to be bagged. I knew it had to at least be a marilyn, just by its appearance, and that it was also probably a nuttall. The hill was Moel Cynghorion, and the incline was agony. It was on this incline that I aggraved the thigh strain. I could only move about 5 steps upwards before I had to stop again. Eventually I got to the top, and we descended down to Llanberis. I was fine on the level and downhill, but even the slightest uphill movement was hurting. Fortunately there was very little uphill movement hereafter.
Eventually we arrived in Llanberis, and I had managed to keep up with Mike and Emily, which is an achievement at the best of times. We went in to the Quality hotel there, I think it was called the Victoria. The driveway must have been built especially for me, it was bloody agony, I was overtaken by an old local on a stick! An awesome day, though I do feel rather sore today, I did enjoy it, which I didn’t expect. Camera is still playing up, it only seems to like the memory card in the house. It works fine here, but when I get it on a hill it only has a capacity of 20 on my normal resolution, whereas it should be 80! I’ll be asking Argos very kindly to provide me with a replacement next weekend pending investment in one that kicks some serious butt.