Walk • Trek • Travel
A photographic record and journal of our walking, trekking and travelling adventures.
Snowdon via Miners Track
Snowdon via Miners Track

Thursday, 05 April 2012

Today’s objective was Snowdon and after the terrible weather yesterday the MWIS forecast seemed to be in our favour with clear skies, no rain, 15mph winds, a wind chill of only -1 to -3, and a 90% chance of a cloud-free summit.
From the front of Craflwyn Hall there is a view of the summit of what I think is Yr Aran (747m) behind and I could see that it was still covered in snow from the day before and so packed my rucksack accordingly.
Our group assembled at the gates of Craflwyn Hall at 09:20 and caught the Snowdon Sherpa bus to Pen y Pass. When we arrived at the Pen y Pass car park we spoke to the Warden to find out the conditions of the paths. The Warden recommended that we take the Miners Track as the Pyg Track had already become treacherous because of the snow and ice having been compacted by the volume of walkers that had already headed off up the Pyg Track.
To be honest, I didn’t care which path we took. This was my first time in Snowdonia in the snow and even the view from the car park was fantastic!
We started off along the Miner’s Track at around 10:10 and before long had to contend with the fact that the snow had reduced the path to a narrow walkway of ice and mush. There were a few people already on the Miner’s Track ahead of us and even more seemed to follow us on to the path from the car park so it wasn’t long before a long line of people had formed all walking in single file. Occasionally someone would take a gamble and try and overtake the person in front but this usually resulted in them either slipping on the ice or dropping in to knee-high snow.
By 10:40 we had just passed Llyn Teyrn and the path had a sort of ‘lay-by’ so we stopped to let the line of people go past and to take a few photos.
We carried on over the causeway and reached the first dis-used mine at 11:05 where we rested for a few minutes. The path had been wider on this section and we had been walking in the sun since we had crossed Llyn Llydaw and so some of us were starting to get hot and so took advantage of the break to remove a layer or two before continuing.
At 11:35 we had reached the remains of another building just below Glaslyn and stopped for a drink and something to eat. I don’t think any of us wanted to stop again or felt that we needed to stop but we could see that this would be the last opportunity to refuel before reaching the summit so we stopped to eat our packed lunch and set off again 11:45.
Five minutes later we reached the edge of Glaslyn and surveyed the route up to the col. I worked it out to being around 400 meters of ascent and although I could see people making their way up to the standing stone that marked the junction with the Pyg Track they all seemed to be taking different routes up and I personally could not see a path and by the time we reached the beginning of the path up to the standing stone it had become obvious that the path was lost somewhere beneath the snow.
We started up the slope as best we could. Some sections where scree, some where snow and occasionally deep snow. Luckily, after about 50 meters of scrambling, we were able to pick up the path although we also managed to loose it again several times before we eventually reached the standing stone.
I had hoped that it would be easier from here but it fact it was much worse. The path seem to have alternate sections of snow, which I found hard on the knees and energy sapping, or ice, which was very slippery.
We reached the col around 12:40. From here the summit seemed so much more reachable and not quite so far away but the path to the summit was busy and slippery and by now I had pretty much decided that my walking boots were completely useless in these conditions.
We reached the summit at approximately 13:10 and were rewarded with fantastic views and very little wind. We had just enough time take a few photos, eat some chocolate and take a drink before we had to start heading back down – we had a bus to catch!
We went down the same way we came up only this time I found it even more difficult to stay on my feet. So much so that I tried to stick to the areas of knee-high snow rather than use the path as it was just too slippery for me and I think it is fair to say that the section between the col and Glaslyn was one of the hardest descents I have ever done.
This was a fantastic day with beautiful views and I learnt a lot about walking in these types of conditions.
Are you tired of being stuck in the office? Bored of being chained to a desk? Counting down the days until retirement?
Me too!!