HILL, DALES AND MOUNTAIN HIKING

26th December 2008: Snowdon via Miners Track    Web page by Bryan Benn

Start and Finish at Pen y Pass 359m

Highest Point: Snowdon summit 1085m via Miners Track

Distance: circa 12 kms

Weather: Cloud, clearing. Icy, v strong wind high up.

Vertical altitude gain: circa 800m

Time: circa 7 hrs 10 mins

Miners Track to Snowdon After the Christmas festivities a Boxing day walk seemed appropriate! So before dawn I was at Pen-y-Pass heading off to Snowdon via the Miners Track. No surprise I had the normally busy car park to myself at that time!

Snowdon via Miners Trackcontinued

Snowdon via the Miners Track Snowdon via the Miners Track Snowdon via the Miners Track Snowdon via the Miners Track

The start was easy walking up to Llyn Llydaw which is crossed on a causeway, before passing old mine working buildings.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

After leaving the lake the track remained well defined and in a good state of repair as the gentle uphill grade continued on a still very dull morning.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

A look back at Llyn Llydaw as the path continued the slow ascent.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

Before long I was at Glaslyn, a small lake higher up than Llydaw. Behind which was the very steep climb up needed to join the Pyg track.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued

Miners Track to Snowdon Miners Track to Snowdon

Initially the track up to join the Pyg track was well defined and easy to follow, albeit quite rocky in places.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

A look back down on Glaslyn as I ascended the steepest part of the Miners Track.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued

Miners Track to Snowdon Miners Track to Snowdon

Part way up I lost the actual route, but it was easy enough to find a route directly up to the Pyg track which I could see above me.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

Without too much effort I joined the Pyg track, and looked back down that track towards Pen-y-Pass.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued South Ridge Route to Snowdon

The lake Glaslyn was by now a fair way below me. But still visible in the slightly improving weather conditions.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued

Snowdon via the Miners Track Snowdon via the Miners Track Snowdon via the Miners Track Snowdon via the Miners Track

Onto the Pyg track, a route I had used a few weeks before. But on Dec 9th I had seen none of this as it was under deep snow!

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

No snow today, (yet!), but it was very cold at this height. So no surprise to climb into an area where the frost was still on the rocks.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued

Miners Track to Snowdon Miners Track to Snowdon

Some sections of the path were steep and rocky, with some ice on them. No wonder that in the deep snow and very poor visibility of 9th December we had been unable to stay on anything looking like a track.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

By now the weather was really starting to clear, giving a lovely view back down the way I had come.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

Ahead was the last stretch of the Miners/Pyg track up to the main summit ridge. And it was still covered in frozen snow and lots of ice! Conditions that were to cause a lot of problems to those descending.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued

Miners Track to Snowdon Miners Track to Snowdon

The last stretch up to the summit ridge was the hardest, over which I was to use crampons to descend safely.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

Once on the summit ridge it was but a short walk to the summit. Returning from which gave a great view of the iced up stretch of the top end of the track I had only recently asecended.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

The weather was now becoming crystal clear, with lovely views from near the summit.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

Perhaps the best view was back down to and beyond the two lakes I had passed on my way up. lakes I would pass on my return as I planned to follow the same route back.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

Initially I decided to miss the difficult iced up section that stared by the monolith, with Garnedd Ugain rising behind it. But decided that, with my 12 point crampons, I would be secure enough to get down that first section.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

With crampons it became a straightforward descent. Choosing between walking in frozen snow, or on the outside of the track which was iced up.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

I made a quick descent, passing a number of people really struggling in the very slippery conditions: indeed some ascending walkers just turned round and went back down.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

Leaving that section the ice was only sporadic, allowing time to enjoy the view below me.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued Miners Track to Snowdon

Above me was the West end of the Grib Goch route, one that no doubt also had significant ice on it making it a real challenge for those attempting that route today.

Snowdon via Miners Track continued

Miners Track to Snowdon Miners Track to Snowdon Miners Track to Snowdon Miners Track to Snowdon

Onto the Miners track by a small upright rock, and then down the steep route to Llyn Glaslyn.

Snowdon via Miners Trackcontinued Miners Track to Snowdon

Down at Glaslyn I was back on the very easy track back to Pen-y-Pass. With Y Llewyd, a mountain "on my list" towering above the almost still waters.

Snowdon via Miners Trackcontinued Miners Track to Snowdon

No on my list at present, until I can make progress with vertigo, is the awesome Grib Goch route. A route that was high above me and well lit by the clear late afternon sunshine.

Snowdon via Miners Trackcontinued Miners Track to Snowdon

As the sun sank I had agreat view of Moel Siabod. Another mountain on my list. And one that would have been ticked off less than a day after I got back to Pen-y-pass at the end of a great Boxing Day walk!