15 Tips for climbing Snowdon (to ensure you reach the top!)
There is nothing more physically and mentally challenging than climbing a mountain. Yet nothing more physically and mentally rewarding! But the great thing about Snowdon is just how accessible it is. There are routes for varying ability levels which makes it the perfect mountain for seasoned as well as first-time climbers. If you fancy giving it a go, here are 15 tips for climbing Snowdon, to ensure you get to the top!
There is no better feeling than reaching the top of a mountain and feeling like you’re on top of the world. So, what are you waiting for? Everything you need is right here, let’s go!
1) Get there early
As the annoying but frustratingly true saying goes: “The early bird gets the worm”. But more importantly in this case, “The early bird will get a bloody parking space.”
Getting to Snowdon early is a must. I arrived the morning of my climb at 8am and two car parks were already full. This meant we needed to park further away and wait half an hour for a bus to take us to the start.
Getting there early is just practical too. Your energy levels are higher in the morning and it won’t be getting dark by the time you descend.
2) Designate a driver or stay local the night before
If you’re driving down to Snowdon, having more than one driver isn’t essential but handy! I climbed Snowdon with a friend and because I’m not insured on his car, he had to do all four hours of driving. This was fine on the way there. However it proved a lot more difficult on the way back when he was exhausted!
Alternatively, if you live more than a couple of hours’ drive away from Snowdon, I would advise staying somewhere local the night before. It just means you don’t have to get up too early or worry about traffic or potential blockers on the morning of your climb.
3) Pick your climbing buddy wisely!
Making sure you choose the right person to climb a mountain with is as essential as choosing the right life partner. Ok maybe not as crucial! But it is important to pick someone who has a similar fitness level and attitude as you. Choose someone you know will go the distance and not start moaning an hour in wanting to sit down every five minutes!
There are a lot of personal peaks and troughs as you attempt to reach the top of Snowdon. So choosing the right climbing buddy who you can chat to for hours and keep you spirits up will make it so much easier.
4) Get a proper pair of hiking boots
I want to start this point with, you don’t necessarily need hiking boots to climb Snowdon. It just makes it so much easier. I saw loads of families and kids wearing trainers, converse and even sandals on the way up. Although I didn’t see anyone who wore sandals reach the top! Hiking boots are not a pre-requisite to climbing Snowdon but it does make the climb a hell of a lot easier when wearing shoes specifically designed for the occasion. You’re also less likely to slip and hurt yourself.
You don’t even need an expensive pair. I got mine from Decathlon for only £44.99 a couple of years ago on sale but this pair have all the same features and are currently half price! They’re super comfy, waterproof and most importantly have good grip for scrambling over rocks.
5) Pack gloves with grip
No matter what route you take there are parts on every track where you will need to manoeuvre over rocks. At times you need to scramble over big boulders and loose rocks so having gloves with a bit of grip will help you past these obstacles and protect your hands.
You don’t need an expensive pair, I just ordered a cheap pair from amazon that did the job.
6) Dress for the weather
Ah, the unpredictable British weather. Well friends, times that unpredictability factor by 10 when you’re climbing Snowdon! The mountain seems to create its own weather and this is likely to change throughout the day!
You don’t need to pack a big coat or anything (unless you’re climbing in winter). You can buy a simple lightweight, waterproof jacket that can easily be rolled out of your pack back when the wind picks up and it starts to pour.
If you take just one thing away from this, tips for climbing Snowdon post, it’s this! Preparing for all weather inevitabilities will increase your chances of reaching the top.
I wore black leggings (waterproof ones are best) and a t-shirt. Then packed a waterproof jacket and jumper for when I got cold or the wind picked up. I climbed Snowdon during the height of the summer so was blessed with excellent weather conditions. However, no matter the weather, it gets colder the higher the altitude so make sure to pack layers.
7) Pick a trail before you start
There are six different routes you can take to reach the summit at Snowdon: Llanberis path, Pyg Track, Miners’ Track, Watkin Path, Rhyd-Ddu Path or the Snowdon Ranger Path.
I would recommend if you are climbing Snowdon for the first time to take the Pyg Track up and the Miners’ Track down. The Pyg Track is a little steeper but it’s a great view on the way up and you pass lots of scenic lakes. Whilst the Miners’ Track is more of a steady gradient which is the perfect trail to come down on. The Miners’ Track also has some beautiful views and waterfalls to check out which will allow you to see a different side of the mountain.
For more details on each path check out this great guide by Get Outside.
8) Drink plenty of water
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to get dehydrated when you’re hiking. Especially if you’re hiking in the cold and not sweating a lot. It’s estimated that we lose around 25% of our strength when we lose a pint of water in our systems. And friends, you need to keep up that strength to make sure you get to the top!
The great thing about Snowdon is that there are plenty of fresh water streams dotted around the trail. So take a spare bottle and fill up with water as you hike up. Ensure you drink enough water in the morning before you set off and carry an extra bottle of water to keep you going before you hit the first stream.
I have one of these bottles as they’re light weight, leak-proof and BPA-free. Perfect for hiking! I also use it at home to make sure I’m drinking enough water whilst I’m working. The bottles have handy time markings on them to show you how much water you should be drinking by which time.
9) Schedule breaks little and often
This is always one of the biggest conundrums when hiking – how many breaks do you take? You don’t want to have so many that it feels like it’s taking hours to get to the top but you don’t want to take so few breaks that you’re struggling to keep momentum because you’re getting tired.
As a general rule I would suggest taking breaks little and often. It’s far better than taking a long lunch which makes the latter half of the climb feel like it’s dragging. You’ll be full of food and will get comfy being sat down for too long.
Spreading out your water and food breaks throughout the day will also help keep your energy levels steady.
10) Eat a good breakfast and pack lots of high-carb snacks
Speaking of food – make sure to pack a carb-rich lunch and lots of snacks to keep your energy levels up. Start with a slow-energy release breakfast like porridge with oat milk, banana and some nut butter for protein.
For lunch, pack another carb-rich meal such as pasta, fruit and some energy bars. My favourite vegan protein bars are by Graze and Deliciously Ella but any are fine or you can even make your own if you prefer!
If you’d like the recipe for my vegan protein bars just let me know in the comments and I’ll make sure to write it up in a future post 😊
11) Take a light weight waterproof backpack
I can’t tell you how handy it has been having a waterproof pack back for hiking. Especially with the weather being so unpredictable here in the UK, it just makes sense to pay a little extra to ensure all your valuables stay dry.
But don’t worry – similarly with your waterproof jacket, you don’t need to spend a fortune. I have the older version of this Osprey Waterproof Hikelite Backpack and despite the £50 price tag, it’s lasted me over 10 years!
12) Pack a first aid kit
There are many of my tips for climbing Snowdon that I have marked “essential” and this friends is one them! By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail, so make sure you carry a first-aid kit just in case!
You don’t need to take a big hefty first aid box in your backpack by any stretch. But taking a little first aid pouch with essential items like: paracetamol, blister plasters, bug spray and antiseptic wipes will give you some piece of mind in case anything were to happen.
I bought this £2 first aid pouch to go backpacking with and I still take it on every hike, just in case!
13) Take some spare cash
Cash is still King in parts of rural Wales. Even during the pandemic, the bus and taxi drivers I came across didn’t take card. Put £20 in cash in your backpack just in case you need to take any public transport or might want something from the shop after you’ve finished.
14) Bring spare clothes to change into
Having a spare pair of clothes to change into at the end of the day isn’t essential but will make you feel so much more comfortable on the way home. Especially if you’ve been caught out in a rain storm or are super sweaty and don’t want to sit in dirty clothes all the way back.
Keep a separate bag in your car with spare clothes and snacks and it’ll save you carrying it.
15) Don’t give up and have fun!
One of my top tips for climbing Snowdon is to make sure you have fun! Yes, it’s challenging, yes, it’s tiring…yes you may think you can’t do it at several points during the climb. But embrace all those highs and lows because it’s all about the journey (don’t vom it’s true!). And there is no greater feeling than sitting your knackered bum on the edge of that peak and enjoying that breath-taking view.
I hope you enjoyed these tips for climbing Snowdon. Have you ever climbed Snowdon or any other mountain? Let me know in the comments below! If you have, I’d love to hear your tips too! 😄
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