I don’t know whether it was bravado or ambition, I would like to think that it was the latter, but it was probably the former, when on the Saturday evening myself and Anthony decided that we would ascend Snowdon and return before our respective rides left at 1200. We rose at 0515, and had left Plas Gwynant by half past. Nev had assured me that we would be back for breakfast at 0830. I was a little more sceptical, predicting a finish at around 1000.
It wasn’t long before I was regretting going at all, I had my usual slow start, but my legs were very heavy from the exertions of the previous day, and I was carrying virtually all of the equipment that I had taken with me on the Friday, as we had to empty the rooms by 1030. Concurrently I could feel my throat burning and was struggling for air. I suddenly remembered that I was actually ill.
Strangely I began to feel better once we began the steep ascent after the old slate piles. We seemed to find the top of the ridge very quickly, and we were making very good time. By now we were in the clouds, but the rain was not too heavy, and we weren’t too cold. We carried on untill we came to a section with about ten paths to choose from, all covered in scree. The weather was closing in, and we could not find an obvious route. We decided to turn back.
Only on our return to Plas Gwynant were we to be told that any one of those tracks would have taken us up on to the summit. We knew that we had been very close, although we still had over 100m of ascent left, it would have taken at most 30 minutes more from where we had turned around. Once we turned around though, we noticed how much the weather had changed in the cloud. The path that we had been on half an hour earlier was by now completely water logged, but we quickly descended out of the cloud, and enjoyed a nice walk back in the sunshine, passing a ridiculous amount of people – we didn’t see a soul until about 0900, and were duly back at Plas Gwynant for 1000.
With retrospect it would have been nice to have attained the summit, but we had a good climb, we didn’t get lost, were still here, and Snowdon will still be there next time i’m in the neighborhood – and next time I’m ascending via Yr Aran and the South ridge, have a look of the photographs I have taken of that route, it looks fantastic.