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Month: March 2017

Snowdon – Crib Goch & Pyg Path

Snowdon – Crib Goch & Pyg Path

Crib Goch – Mount Snowdon

Area: Snowdonia – Mount Snowdon
Starting point: Pen Y Pass
Date of walk: 25th March 2017
Walkers: Me
Distance: 8.36m
Difficulty: Hard
Terrain: Rocky
Weather: Sun, blue skies, clear

Crib Goch, A walk? (or ‘scramble’ should I say) the only part of this walk is on the Pyg path on the way down! has been one to certainly write home about. It’s been a hazy week, some niggling thoughts of worldly nature have taken a firm grip, so what best to go for a long walk and shrug it all off. As Hippocrates stated ‘Walking is mans best medicine’, I agree with the Greek Physician.

Bets Y Coed

The long drive is taken on the day prior to stop of in Bets Y Coed for the night with the intention to head off early. Upon arrival I realise I am short of a few supplies so pop into Cotswolds to grab at least a good ol’ OS map. After a brief discussion with the store assistant, I’m urged to buy crampons & an icepick as apparently a walk up Crib Goch at this time of year without them should be ‘interesting & dangerous’. I ignore his ploy to try and sell me stuff, nether the less the seeds of doubt have been planted…

Oriental and American tourists are in abundance in this village, I imagine in the summer months this place is heaving with visitors all across the world hoping to spot themselves a dragon. Bets Y Coed in general, is a forested region, perhaps next time I will venture into the surrounding woodlands for a forested walk. A campsite is found right next to the Swallow Falls and I drift asleep to the gentle gush of the waterfall.

A bitter spring morning
A bitter spring morning

Pen Y Pass

Alarm bells ring and off I go to Pen Y Pass (starting point). The peaks are seen from afar, and I try and look up as much as I can to see if the ice and snow will prove a serious problem. The car park is unsurprisingly full, so I head further down to park on the side of the road. Dozen and dozens of groups congregate ready to climb this Welch beast. Pen Y pass is the starting point to 3 routes, Pyg path, Miners path & Crib Goch. I make steady pace up the Pyg path, even at the beginning stages this way up is simply beautiful.

Pyg Path
Start of the Pyg Path with the ascent to Crib Goch seen in distance

A feeling of respect is felt, respect for the mountain itself and the knowing of how treacherous it can be is never forgotten. The elements can change rapidly on any mountain & as with anything in this life, preparation is key. I’m wondering after about 15 minutes, when will I encounter this Crib Goch. The Red ridge in English. Red = danger, red = blood. Basically, proceed with caution.

A mile or 2 later I reach the path up to Crib Goch. This path up itself is a climb. I’m trying to get my head around how this is a level 1 Scramble… I mean parts are near vertical and even on this path, a slip up could leave anyone injured or stuck. On the way up I bumped into 2 unprepared Americans struggling up wearing skateboarding trainers. After a brief chat, they than proceed to tell me this is their first mountain they are going up. I slow my pace and adjust my rhythm to take up the rest of this ascent with the nervous looking pair. I worry for them as mountain rescue usually come out for those who are not well prepared. If you thinking of taking up this walk, this is where you turn back if you don’t wish to proceed. As once your up on the ridge it will prove very tricky backtracking.

Climb upto Crib Goch
Climb upto Crib Goch
the scramble up
the scramble up
looking back from the scramble up

The Red Ridge

After 50 minute or so the top of the ridge is reached. Wow, what a view. I’m pretty sure Ireland, Isle of Man & Holyhead are seen from here. However, now is not the time to take it all in. There is a queue behind me, and loads in front doing the ridge so I better get on it with. Exposure levels are high, and it is actually the exposure that makes this scramble seem a lot more dramatic and harder than it actually is. At places the ‘path’ is no bigger than half a metre and it becomes clear why there have been so many fatalities up here. A helicopter circles around the peaks, which is the mountain rescue as this is probably the busiest day on Snowdon this year. Still with the Americans at this point, however there pace is taking me off my stride so I stay focused and plod on. Some hairy moments do follow, and hands are needed aswel as my legs for pretty much the whole ridge. After the first stretch there is some relatively flat land and a perfect opportunity to tuck into my sandwich and a couple of oranges. I’ve run out of gas on my burner so a much needed cup of tea won’t be possible right now. Oh well.

Crib Goch
Crib Goch
Looking back on Crib Goch - you can see the 2 Americans nearest to camera hanging for dear life
Looking back on Crib Goch – you can see the 2 Americans nearest to camera hanging for dear life
stopping off for lunch at the end of the 1st ridge
stopping off for lunch at the end of the 1st ridge

Crib-y-Ddysgl

Crib Goch itself is only around 200 metres. However up on this exposed airy ridge, it seems alot longer. After Crib Goch, a descend it make until you reach the foot of the ridge to come, Crib-y-Ddysgl. Now they say this one is alot easier, but I beg to differ on this day. It seems a steeper climb, and a harder walk as there is ice & stone laying on the rocks. This is a full body workout. From this ridge looking back on Crib Goch and seeing the walkers walk along like is much like playing the game lemmings.

lemmings on crib goch
Sun falling back behind Snowdon summit

The end is near, and I feel like I’m not just getting warmed up. As I reach the trig point at the top a sense of achievement is felt and I sit down to enjoy the oranges I have left in my bag. There are hundreds off people up Snowdon today, and Snowdon is certainly a mountain I have avoided in the past due the amount of people on it. It can be a solitary walkers a nightmare, but today it isn’t. I sit in peace amongst the herds of people & the chitta chatta. The chaos of the world below seem insignificant, and my worldly worries which I have held throughout the week have been lifted and surrendered. Right now, at this moment on top of this mountain, there is nothing, but now. Here and now.

The Descent

After some time off soaking in the subtle energies of this mountain, I begin my descent down the Pyg Path. My intention was to actually take the miners path back, but that didn’t happen. I’m practically jogging back down past the mass’s of people moving in both directions. I’m moved when I observe a couple sitting in silence also soaking in the mountains energies. As I continue, I reflect on today’s walking, and am once again reminded how spending time in natural environments, alone has a purifying effect on the spirit. An effect that can often be forgotten in daily life. I also contemplate the difference’s in ‘belief’ & ‘realization’. For today I have once again realized, freedom and peace are not far away, infact they are right here within me. Even in the midst of madness. Belief on the other hand can often lead to the opposite of self realization. When 1 of certain in ways of thinking it can lead to a stump on spiritual growth. Heck, conflict of belief is how wars are started!

Couple soaking it all in
Couple soaking it all in

6 hours later, today’s walk is now completed. What a cracker this one is. But please be careful & prepared. I drive back home, and stop off in Chester on the way for a Turkish kebab. Perfect way to end a perfect weekend.