Walking

What you’ll need on your Snowdon Trek

Snowdon is the tallest mountain in England and Wales, standing at an impressive 1,085 metres, it’s a phenomenal climb. It is also a popular national park, with over 10 million visitors each year. 

Snowdonia National Park has breathtaking scenery, unbelievable hikes, and countless mountains. The national park includes the largest natural lake in Wales, and quaint Welsh villages such as Betws y Coed and Beddgelert. With only 26,000 people living in an area that is 823 square miles, you are in the heart of nature.

There are many things that you should consider before you climb Snowdon. And much of this is dependent on the time of year. This article will give you a guide on what you’ll need before your Snowdon trek.

Equipment and Clothing

Before you travel to Snowdonia, it’s essential to check the weather. Hikers know Snowdon for extremes depending on the different seasons of the year. It isn’t uncommon to hear of people catching hypothermia during winter because of inadequate clothing. Bringing the correct clothing and equipment is very important.

Waterproofs

You must have waterproofs on hand before climbing Snowdon. This is particularly important if you are trekking in the winter. The strange thing about mountains is the weather can rapidly change when you least expect it. 

If you’re climbing Snowdon between October to March, make sure you pack some solid waterproofs, even if it looks sunny. Getting wet clothes on top of a mountain isn’t comfortable, and is hazardous during the winter. 

Plenty of food and water

This sounds cliche, but it’s critical to remember to take adequate food and water, especially in the summer months. It’s not unusual to see hikers suffer from dehydration whilst climbing Snowdon. It can be a gruelling climb at times, so make sure you have lots of water.

A great option is fresh fruit like Bananas. They offer brilliant sources of carbohydrates and are lightweight and easy to carry. You could also take chocolate with you on the trail, this offers some needed energy to replenish the calories you burn.

It’s a great idea to take a drink like Lucozade or Powerade. They will offer electrolyte replenishment whilst you climb the long trek. 

Warm clothes

If you’re trekking between September and April, then you should always bring warm clothes with you. Hikers who climb Snowdown during Autumn and Spring may experience a weird mix of summer or winter-like weather.

This can trick a lot of climbers, who may decide that it feels warm, so they decide against wearing warm clothing. These seasons are incredibly unpredictable. 

So make sure you bring some warm clothes like a sweater, or jacket even if it feels warm. Chances are that it feels significantly colder at the top during Autumn and Spring. You can even pack them in your rucksack just in case.

Sun cream and a hat

We have all been there, right? Decided to take a trip out, and thought it wasn’t hot enough to bring sunscreen. And then we ended up getting sunburnt. 

Snowdon is open to the elements, and if you’re climbing in the summer months, you should take sun cream. 

You should take a good sun hat. Getting burnt is very serious, but getting sunstroke is worse. It isn’t rare to hear stories of climbers getting sunstroke because they didn’t pack a hat. 

Walking boots

It’s essential to wear walking boots to trek up Snowdon. Although the climb is relatively safe, it’s wise to wear suitable footwear during the climb that will protect you from falling and give you a steady grip.

Walking boots are absolutely essential if the weather conditions are bad. If you’re trekking during the rain, then you must have good boots to help you on the descent. 

Moreover, if it’s snowy, then walking boots are equally as essential to protect your feet from the bitter cold and potentially slippery conditions.

Orange poly survival bag

Bringing an orange poly survival bag is a fantastic idea if you’re looking to trek up Mt Snowdon. These are critical survival kits if you are climbing mountains in potentially adverse conditions.

Orange poly survival bags come with a sleeping bag that is essential for preventing hypothermia if you get into trouble. The bags are small, lightweight and can easily fit into your rucksack. 

They are a relatively cheap investment but could be an invaluable lifesaver on hazardous treks.

A 20-40 litre rucksack

It’s a great idea to bring a rucksack with a capacity of 20-40 litres. You will be able to pack all of your essentials in the bag. 

This size should be adequate to fit an orange poly survival bag, waterproofs, replacement gloves and socks, food and water, and anything else you consider essential.

A rucksack of this capacity shouldn’t affect your physical fitness levels or hamper your ability to trek Snowdon. 

A spare set of clothes

So now you’ve decided on what to pack in your rucksack. Now it’s time to talk about the next most crucial thing, how you climb the mountain.

Snowdon has six different trekking routes that offer a vastly different experience. Some take longer, and some are harder, but either way, let’s discuss the best treks in Snowdon and which one is right for you.

Map and Compass

We live in a digital age where we can get maps and compasses on our smartphone. But that’s not always reliable. 

It’s not uncommon to get no signal when you’re trekking up Snowdon. If the battery of your phone dies, then there could be issues navigating your position, which can be dangerous if conditions are poor and visibility is reducing.

You can easily place a map or a compass in your rucksack. You might never use it, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Tell someone about your plans.

If you’re planning to climb Snowdon, it’s a good idea to tell someone about your plans. Climbing a mountain like Snowdon can be dangerous. And if you get lost and injured, someone must know where you are and can possibly raise an emergency if they don’t hear from you.

Snowdonia National Park has an excellent mountain rescue team, but if nobody knows you’re there, they wouldn’t be able to assist you. If you’re going solo, then it’s key to tell someone your plans.

Check the weather forecast.

As you know, the weather in the United Kingdom can rapidly change. It’s possible to have great weather for one hour, and then horrendous torrential rain the next. 

Be sure to check the hourly forecast before trekking so you know what weather conditions you will face.

Which trek is the best one for you?

So now you’ve decided on what to pack in your rucksack. Now it’s time to talk about the next most crucial thing, how you climb the mountain.

Snowdon has six different trekking routes that offer a vastly different experience. Some take longer, and some are harder, but either way, let’s discuss the best treks in Snowdon and which one is right for you.

Llanberis Path

Let’s start with the easiest one, the Llanberis Path. This trek is the easiest of the six routes to the peak of Snowdon. Many years ago, tourists would take up this trek on ponies. How times have changed.

Although it’s the most comfortable trek, it’s the least adventurous. It’s also jam-packed during the summer.

This trek is

  • 9 miles in distance.
  • 3,199 feet in height.
  • Takes about 6 hours depending on fitness levels.
  • Is straightforward, but a little steep at times.

 

Watkin

Named after Sir Edward Watkin, this trek is relatively easy. It starts lower than the other five treks on Snowdon. It’s also the oldest trek of the six routes to the peak.

There are parts of the trek that do urge caution. There is a loose scree slope near the top, and hikers should be cautious around this part. Due to the length of the trek, it’s better suited to hikers with high levels of fitness.

This trek is

  • 8 miles return
  • 3,330 feet in total height
  • About 6 hours in time
  • Longer than the others, but still relatively easy with good fitness levels.

Pyg and Miners

These are superb treks, but ones that should be used by more experienced hikers. The hike has challenging parts, and it can be challenging to navigate at times. You should take a note of where the Pyg and Miner paths join, it can be easy to miss this and get lost on the descent. 

The origin of this trek is unknown, and nobody knows where the name originated from. It has a mysterious history, but it offers great views on the way up.

This trek is

  • 7 miles in distance
  • 723 metres in height
  • 6 hours return
  • Challenging at times, but overall straightforward

Snowdon Ranger

Perhaps the oldest trek of them all, Snowdon ranger is a fantastic option. And it’s relatively easy compared to many of the other treks up Snowdon. Another significant positive is it’s quieter than the Llanberis Path until the two join halfway up the mountain.

There are parts of the trek to watch out for, which include a steeper section on some loose ground which could be dangerous if hikers aren’t a little careful.

This trek is

  • 8 miles return
  • 936m in height
  • About a 6 hours trek overall
  • Quieter than many of the others

Rhyd Ddu Path

This is the quietest trek out of all six. Although the trek isn’t popular, the ones who have done this trek hold it in high regard. It offers fantastic views of the surroundings and gives you another perspective of Snowdon.

The trek is generally very safe. However, there are parts to look out for such slight exposure when you cross Bwlch Main. 

This trek is

  • 4 miles in distance
  • 3 hours in time
  • 859 metres ascent
  • The quietest trek of all.

Conclusion

Climbing Snowdon is incredibly rewarding and offers some of the best views in the United Kingdom. The mountain can be dangerous at certain times of the year. But, as long as you plan correctly and prepare yourself, you should have no problem at all.

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