GYM & TONEIC

Scaling Snowden

Me, Heath and Oliie

On Saturday 18 February I scaled Snowden and made it to the summit in under 2 hours! 1hr 45 to be precise… impressive for a newbie, novice mountaineer (wannabe winging it!). Snowden had been on my bucket list for a long while… I took on the challenge with my other half, Heath, who’s climbed it a number of times, and his beloved dog, Ollie, who’s also completed a number of climbs alongside his master and bestest bud – look at the love in the pic above; man’s best friend, my man… and me!

We didn’t really prep and plan in much detail, Heath picked the route we walked (Snowdon Ranger Path), we picked a weekend we were both free and went for it, whatever the weather! Luckily the weather wasn’t so bad the weekend we picked… when I say wasn’t so bad, I mean it wasn’t torrential rain or snow. It was however blowing a gail, with 32mph winds whipping at us from all directions, and virtually zero visibility once we were up in the clouds, you could barely see 50 feet in front!

We parked and set off from the Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel, with only one other couple in sight. I was a little nervous before we set off, with no idea how tough the climb would be, and seeing that we were pretty much the only ones on our route didn’t help matters… The higher we climbed the colder, windier and mistier it got, not being able to see how steep we were climbing and how close we were getting to cliff edges made me a nervous wreck. I almost lost my head a couple of times, convinced we would get blown off a cliff… and when the other couple passed us as we were having a very brief picnic stop (trying to shelter from the wind behind a boulder) and the woman said ‘are you writing your last will and testament’, that was it, I was ready for throwing in the towel and turning back!

Masked mountaineers
Masked mountaineers

Heath reassured me that we weren’t the only ones walking up and that once we got nearer to the top we’d see loads of people, so we pressed on… head down, mind over matter, concentrating on staying upright and putting one foot in front of the other. Sure enough, as we got closer to the summit we saw civilisation, it was like Piccadilly Circus up there! We walked at snail’s pace, queueing to climb to the very top and couldn’t see a thing… we / I made it though – wahoo! In a decent time (for my first time) too. We stayed up at the top for no more than 5 minutes, it was cold and you couldn’t see a thing… the cafe was closed, so a much needed coffee to warm the cockles was out of the question and conditions were too bad for the train to run, so we had no other option but to start our descent, which we completed just as quick, we practically ran down!

All smiles at the summit
All smiles at the summit

I didn’t appreciate the climb as much as I would’ve done had we been able to take in the stunning scenery and scale of the challenge from the summit. However, I’m glad I’ve done it and ticked off one of my to do’s, and I’ll definitely return and scale to the summit again some time over summer. I know I’ve made this sound more of a chore than a challenge, but it’s an awesome achievement and I did enjoy it, despite my tale of treacherous conditions.

Life’s a climb, but the view is great!

Here’s what you can see at the summit of Snowden on a clear day.
Here’s what you can see at the summit of Snowden on a clear day.

Taking on a challenge in tricky conditions makes it all the more satisfying upon successful completion!

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