HILL, DALES AND MOUNTAIN HIKING

6th March 2009: Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain.    Web page by Bryan Benn

Start: Snowdon Rangers car park

Highest Point: summit of Snowdon 1085m

Distance: circa 14km

Weather: Cloud, snow, cold

Vertical altitude gain: circa 1060m

Time: 7hrs 20 mins

Rangers Path to Snowdon

Since "discovering" Snowdonia I keep a close watch on the weather forecast to see when conditions are going to be what I like to walk in. So the return of winter weather in early March saw me booking a room at the excellent Beddgelert Bistro, packing all my winter gear and heading up to North Wales again.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

The 6th March started mainly clear as I took in the views behind me, (previous page also), as I set off from the Snowdon Rangers Station and up along the Rangers Path towards Snowdon.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

I was expecting the snow line to be around circa 650m, and as the lower parts of Snowdon came into view below the normal winter cloud on that mountain I could see I was not going to be dissapointed.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

The start and finish of the Rangers Path is on fairly gentle grades. With a steep central section: part of which can be seen zig zagging up the steep side of Snowdon.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

I was a bit under the weather and slo it was a very slow slog uphill for me, especially when I got above the snow line. But the slow pace gave me chances to take in the views still available as the cloud cover increased.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

Then it was onto the frozen snow higher up. And on went my crampons: there have been some dreadful accidents on the mountain this winter with walkers sliding on the icy slopes and falling over the adjacent cliffs.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

Reaching the railway crossing indicated I was about to head along the summit ridge as the weather continued to worsen with low visibility, a strong and very cold wind, plus some driving snow showers.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

The effect of wind snow and icy conditions on a sign next to the railway.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

Visibility got worse and worse as I headed along the last part of the summit ridge. Walking conditions I love, but conditions that must only ever be walked in by those fully competent in dealing with them, including knowing when to turn back below a summit. As I has done myself a few weeks before in the Carneddau when I felt I was getting out of my depth in suddenly changing conditions.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

There were a few others on the summit ridge.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

Very close to the top now. With fresh snow on hard packed ice, and a strong cross wind blowing I felt fairly secure as I made sure my crampons bit into the ice on the ridge top.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

At last the summit! It had been a long hard slog up from the valley in my slightly unwell state. But it was all worthwhile as I completed my sixth winter ascent of the mountains in the 2008/9 winter.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

I was only on the summit a very short time before heading back down. With plans for another wintry summit to ascend!

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

I stopped to talk to a couple on their way up: one of whom kindly took my photo!

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

I also paused to take in the iced up rocks that lined the first part of the descent on the summit ridge.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

Just briefly the driving snow eased enought to see more than a few metres ahead on the summit ridge as it got near the point where the Pyg tracks starts it's steep initial descent.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

But the weather closed in again as I trudged up the final metres of Carnedd Ugain. The mountain that stands right next to Snowdon.

Rangers Path to Snowdon and Carnedd Ugain Rangers Path to Snowdon

It was a cold and lonely summit on Carnedd Ugain. From which I quickly descended before heading back down the Rangers Path. For my descent to the valley I led three guys who had come up the Pyg track, and who had very wisely decided that without crampons it was far to slippery to descend that route.