I realised the other day that I hadn’t walked up Snowdon for a while. I don’t know why, it is only four hours from south Wales with quite a pleasant drive up the coast as long as you don’t get stuck behind farm machinery or an HGV. Two weeks ago, while I had a few spare days, I set off to Snowdonia National Park to walk?up Snowdon?and explore a few places that I hadn’t been to for a while. I also realised that I hadn’t taken that may images on previous walks, so that was something I wanted to rectify as well. The weather forecast was okay for my first day in Snowdonia, with the weather getting worse from then on. There was still enough cloud and low enough temperatures for snow to fall at higher altitudes, so being prepared was essential.
My chosen route was to walk the Miners Track from Pen y Pass car park to the summit and return by the Pyg Track. Snow was visible above where the two tracks meet just below the main summit ridge. First thing in the bag was an ice axe and crampons, followed by all my safety gear. I tend to be the type of person that travels with two kitchen sinks, just in case one isn’t enough, so at times I felt a bit over prepared compared to some of the other walkers. Was I taking it too seriously or over complicating the situation? When the tube on my water bladder froze at the summit with a temperature of -2 degrees Celcius, I decided I was probably correct with my packing of sleeping bag, emergency storm shelter, spare clothing, extra food, first aid kit and bivi bag, plus the camera gear. I did leave behind my trekking poles, but used my tripod to help out instead.
It never ceases to amaze me what people wear for their waking attempts. Here were people trying to walk up Snowdon, the highest peak in England & Wales, in trainers, canvas shoes, track suit trousers and hoodies, with no thought to what would happen if something went wrong. They were slipping on the compacted snow and ice and shivering from the cold wind that was blowing. I’m surprised that I didn’t see somebody wearing flip flops and shorts; that seems to happen every where I go at the moment. You can see why the Mountain Rescue Team gets called out so much!
The wind at the summit was very strong, so standing at the stone cairn at the top was pretty dicey. The most sensible way of getting off the platform was to crawl done on your bum. Not elegant, but safer! It was impossible to make any photographs, but I found a sheltered spot just down from the summit to grab a bite to eat and make an image or two of the snow covered rocks along the ridge to the summit.
Below the summit, the wind had dropped and after getting below the snow line, the clouds cleared exposing the summit and giving wonderful panoramic views for those who were up there. For a moment I thought I would head back up again, but I changed my mind and carried on the Pyg Track back to Pen y Pass?car park. The weather had really cleared and warmed up, so although tiredness was kicking in, I managed?a few more images as the sun came through highlighting the texture of the rocks in the mountain pass. I had started walking at 7:40am and arrived back in the car park at 5:00pm to enjoy a nice flapjack from the caf? to celebrate. Not my quickest attempt of Snowdon, but certainly my most productive photographically.
Typically the heavy rain and lightning that was forecast for the rest of the week didn’t materialise and we were blessed with clear blue skies most of the days and some warm temperatures as well.?I?was tempted to walk back up Snowdon again to get a summit panoramic, but blue skies are a bit boring, aren’t they?