Guide to Climbing Snowdon

Climbing Snowdon - Introduction

If you are looking to Climb Snowdon then this is the Blog for You... This Blog on Snowdon have been provided to give you every bit of information you will need to know when climbing Snowdon.

Where is Snowdon?

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Snowdon is a Mountain that is located in the UK specifically Wales. Its found in the North West of Wales within the Snowdonia National Park, Snowdon is the second highest peak in the UK and the most popular Mountain in the UK.

Above is an image that locates where Snowdon is in the UK.  You can check on google Maps how long it will take you to get to Snowdon from your location.   

How Can I Get To Snowdon?

There are Many ways you can get to Snowdon, however it all depends on where you are based. if you live within the UK and are not immediately local to Snowdon the easiest option would be to drive. Below are the different transport options on how to get to the base of the mountain. 

- Car 

There are Many different Routes up Snowdon and depending on what route you take will give you a different parking location.  Below are the parking locations for each route.

Llanberis Car park LL55 4TU - This Car Park is for the Llanberis Path route.

Pen Y Pass Car Park LL55 4NU - This Car Park is for the Miners Track the Pyg Track and Crib Goch.

Pont Bethania Bridge Car Park LL55 4NR - This Car Park is for the Watkin Path Route.

Rhyd Ddu Car Park LL54 6TN - This Car Park is for the Rhyd Ddu Path.

Llyn Cwellyn Car Park LL54 7YT - This Car Park is for the Snowdon Ranger route.

- Train 

Getting to the base of Snowdon by train is quite difficult due to the amount Starting points when climbing Snowdon. The nearest Train station to Snowdon is the Snowdon Ranger Train station however this is not ideal if you want to do one of the routes that goes up the east side of the mountain. The ideal way to get to Snowdon via Train would be to terminate at Betws-y-Coed and get a Snowdon Sherpa Bus to your desired starting point. The Betws-y-Coed station is 10.9 Miles From Pen Y Pass.

The Snowdon Sherpa Bus stops at all the main Car Parks to climb Snowdon, If going by train please check the Snowdon Sherpa Bus  website.

- Plane

If you are coming from overseas you will most likely be travelling by Plane, it is suggested that you would land in either Birmingham (134 miles) or Liverpool (79.5 miles) From there will will be able to catch a Train or a coach to the immidate area.

How High Is Snowdon?

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1085M

📸 @eleanor_eve

Snowdon is the Highest Mountain in Wales and the second Highest mountain in the UK standing at 1085m (3,560 ft). Snowdons parent mountain is Ben Nevis located within the Scottish Highlands.

How Long Does It Take To Walk Up And Down Snowdon?

The time it will take you to climb Snowdon will vary depending on your level of fitness and which route you decide to take up the mountain.

Llanberis Path

📸 @zen_explore

Distance -  14.5Km / 9 miles 


Time - 5 - 7 hours on average it will take 4 hours on the way up and 3 on the way down. 


Ascent - 975m

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Miners Track

📸 @josiemay96

Distance -  12.9Km / 8 miles 


Total Climb - 5 - 7 hours on average it will take 4 hours on the way up and 2 on the way down.


Ascent -  723m

Watkins Path

📸 @leehayesphotography

Distance - 12.9Km8 miles 


Time - 5 - 7 hours on average it takes 4 hours on the way up and 2 hours on the way down.


Ascent - 1,015m

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Pyg Track

📸 @flo_roundtheworld

Distance - 11.3Km / 7 miles 


Time - 5 - 7 hours on average it will take 4 hours on the way up and 2 on the way down.


Ascent - 723m 

Rhyd Ddu Path

📸 @petershoosmithphotography

Distance -  13.7Km / 8.5 miles

 
Time - 5- 7 hours on average it takes 4 hours on the way up and 2 hours on the way down.


Ascent -  895m

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Crib Goch

📸 @callum_glass_

Distance - 5.6Km / 3.5 Miles 


Ascent - 4 - 6 hours on average it takes 5 hours to reach the summit, you would normally take the miners track down or do the Snowdon horseshoe.


Ascent - 852m 

Snowdon Ranger

📸 @leesutton_photography

Distance - 12.9Km 8 miles 


Time -  5 - 7 hours on average it takes 4 hours on the way up and 2 hours on the way down.


Ascent -  900m

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How Many Routes are there up Snowdon?

There are 7 main routes up Snowdon each of them with varied distance and difficulties, below are the stages of each route.

.Llanberis Path Route

The Llanberis Path up Snowdon has to be the most popular and easiest route to the summit of Snowdon. In normal conditons, it poses no problems for the fit walker, with even the navigation being reasonably easy.  

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Stage 1

📸 @britishviewfinder

The Llanberis Path starts at the Llanberis car park. The initial climb is arguably one of the steepest parts of the whole trip, at the top of the hill Keep on the minor road which twists and turns through a gate and past some barns. you will soon approach  a footpath marker stone to your left that states Snowdon Summit (after around 1.5Km). 

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Stage 2

📸 @escapettes

The Llanberis Path winds its way steadily uphill, you will then reach another gate with the Summit in view, From the gate, the path levels out as it crosses a flattish area of moorland for around 1km. You will soon pass under the railway, at this point you will now be just over the 3km mark, and about 450m up. 

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Stage 3

📸 @thegopper

You will eventually reach a house, this will be the half way point. Keep going on the wide  path for another 1km.  you will come to discover the views ahead of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu also known as Cloggy among climbers.

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Stage 4

📸 @melissalangleyxx

The next part of the route is a hard Kilometer of over 250m of climbing. The next section starts off as giant steps, but deteriorates further up into a rougher path. The path continues to pull up steeply, before eventually levelling out. 

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Stage 5

📸 @theshutterninja

The path here is wide and easy, however is on a very steep slope, This is the black spot in winter known as the Killer Convex. There’s now under 100m of climbing and only half a Kilometer of walking to the summit! 

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Stage 6

📸 @carrierosalie80

It does get busier here as you join the Snowdon Ranger, PYG track and Miner’s Track towards the summit. The path continues along the wide ridge shared by the railway. The path then turns to smooth wide steps as you reach the summit.

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Llanberis Path

Miners Track Route 

The Miners Track is one of the easiest routes up Snowdon. There are some difficult parts towards the end of the route however the majority of this route is just a light incline, until you reach Glaslyn.

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Stage 1

📸 @apex.international

The Miners Track route starts from Pen y Pass, There is a gate at the entrance and there is an un-surfaced road for the first few kilometres and the gradient is nice and steady.  Keep on this path until you reach the First lake, The path then steepens as it reaches the far end and climbing up into the next hanging valley. 

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Stage 2

📸 @apex.international

The Miners Track then turns right as you approach the second lake, You will follow this lake around to the right and cross a bridge that cuts through the lake. Follow this path along as it goes around the second lake and steepens up towards the final lake. 

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Stage 3

📸 @apex.international

Finally you reach the lake Glaslyn, the path will follow the lake around to the right until you reach the steep steps up the mountain. The steps can be quite unclear and you may struggle to find the way up. This part of the route may require a bit of scrambling, visibilty does worsen at this point on the mountain on a bad day.

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Stage 4

📸 @lluniau_kath

About Half way up this climb you will be joined by the PYG track from your right. keep following the steps up, Towards the end of this climb the path starts to zig zag before you reach the final ridge to the summit.

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Stage 5

📸 @brentbischoff

Once you reach the final section of this route you will be joined by the snowdon ranger, the Llanberis path and the mountain railway, turn left at the top to follow the path to the snowdon summit, this final section is exposed and can be very windy, it is only a 20 minute walk to the summit.

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Stage 6

📸 @sian_m_wills

Once you are ready to descend, you will need to keep an eye out for stone markers labelled for the Miners track and the PYG track that peels to the right. This can be quite tricky to see in bad conditions and if you carry on down without turning you will end up going towards the start of Llanberis Path route. 

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Miners Track

Watkins Path 

The Watkin Path originally opened in 1892 as a donkey track and was never truly finished. Of all the official ascents, The Watkin Path starts nearest to sea level and so has more ascent than any other direct route up Snowdon.

The Watkin Path is definitely the most scenic of all the routes up, starting off through some ancient woodland before passing a spectacular waterfall and ultimately ascending to Bwlch Ciliau and Yr Wyddfa. 

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Stage 1

📸 @o5kward 

The Watkin Path starts at the Car park LL55 4NR. The track can be followed, but the new path is to the left and through the forest. This new track is not on the OS map, The Begining of this route is pleasant as you pass through the forest and the waterfalls. but you are soon on the rocky man made path climbing into the Cwm Llan valley.

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Stage 2

📸 @gilly_philly

The Watkin Path remains steady as it ascends to the old quarries,  There is plenty to see in the Cwm Valley, including the old ruins of Plas Cwm Llan just above the major waterfalls. You also walk past the Gladstone Rock along the way. When you reach the quarries you will take a right turn up the winding path.

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Stage 3

📸 @bigred_defender

This path can be difficult to see where it goes when you look up the slope, but the path is very easy to follow and should pose no problems. You will arrive at Bwlch Ciliau below Y Lliwedd quicker than you’d imagine. From this point you should be able to see the Glasyn. you will then follow the path towards Snowdon. Initially you are on a pleasantly narrow path above Cwm Llan, but soon this is to be replaced by an indistinct path up a sheer scree slope. 

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Stage 4

📸 @leesutton_photography

It is difficult to explain where the track goes from this point, keep to the left until  the path joins the South Ridge somewhat off to the south east of the top. The final scree path is very steep, but takes you to a large flat area which is marked by a large upright stone. From here it is but a mere pull up towards Hafod Eryri, along the steps and to the summit.

(This last section of the route can be very hard to navigate espically on a bad day, make sure you are fully prepared when climbing this route.)

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Watkins Path

Pyg Track 

The Pyg track is both the shortest walking route up Snowdon, and the one that involves the least amount of ascent. Despite this, the Pyg Track is not the easiest path up as it can be steep and rocky in places but the paths are generally very good all the way and reasonably straightforward to follow.  

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Stage 1

📸 @will.pilbeam

The walk starts from the Pen y Pass car park. there will be two gates to mark the start of two different paths, take the gate labelled Pyg track at the far right of the car park that heads upwards. Follow this track up for about 1.5km, You will now see the views of snowdon and the Llyn Llydaw Lake. carry along straight ahead and avoid the path to the right heading up towards Crib Goch.

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Stage 2

📸 @apex.international

The Pyg Track contours along the hillside below Crib Goch and above Llyn Llydaw and is a good path all the way, you will pass above the final lake until you meet with the Miner’s Track. 

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Stage 3

📸 @walk_aholics

Ascending slowly, the Pyg Track / Miner’s Track eventually reaches the sheer cliffs below Garnedd Ugain before the wire gabions mark the point at which the path turns right up the zig-zag section of the path, which is the last point until you’re on the crest of the ridge marked by a finger post, 

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Stage 4

📸 @misseadie

Take the path to your left, as the PYG Track now joins both the Llanberis and Snowdon Ranger paths to the summit.  The summit is now only a small 20 minute uphill walk. When decending make sure to keep an eye out for the route that peels off to the right that is marked Pyg and Miners Track.

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Pyg Track

Rhyd Ddu Path

The Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon starts off at Rhyd Ddu, it originally started there as a pony path. The Rhyd Ddu Path is one of the most quietest routes up Snowdon. 

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Stage 1

📸 @harriettui

The Rhyd Ddu Path starts off from the WHR station, which has a car park. Facing the railway and Snowdon, follow the car park left and to a gate over the railway. Follow the track which is wide and easy and take the first right junction. The track now meanders at a reasonably easy angle for a kilometre or so until you reach the track junction at Pen-y-Lon.

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Stage 2

📸 @daniel26c85

At Pen-y-lon, the Rhyd Ddu path branches off to the left, with a useful stone marking the spot. The Rhyd Ddu Path now becomes narrow, It continues at an easy gradient for around 1km before passing through or over a wall and arriving at a flat area known as Rhos Boeth soon after. 

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Stage 3

📸 @katlloyd89

The route becomes rougher and steeper from this point onward. once you reach the top of this section the views becomes much more pleasant. Following the top of Llechog, the views are extensive across to Bwlch Main and the Summit, from here you will follow a zig-zagging scree before you reach Bwlch Main. Bwlch Main is not quite as exposed as Crib Goch, but it’s probably one of the narrowest walking ridges in Snowdonia and provides the best walking approach to Snowdon of any route

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Stage 4

📸 @thegreeneyedglobetrotters

The Rhyd Ddu Path weaves its way through the rocks, but barely becomes a scramble at all, with a couple of rocky steps as technical as it gets. Finally the ridge widens out, and you arrive at the Watkin Path/ Rhyd Ddu waymarker. Continue past this, and up a short section of loose path and you’ll arrive right at Hafod Eryri which sits just below the summit of Snowdon.

when descending Ensure that you pass Hafod Eryri and do not descend the Watkin Path. The Rhyd Ddu path veers right, the Path is easy enough in descent, but does seem to stop just before you reach the ruined hafod at Rhos Boeth. the path seems to end in a bog at the top of a steep slope, but actually turns sharply left. The path should be easily followed in reverse after this point.

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Rhyd Ddu Path

Crib Goch 

The Crib Goch scramble from Pen-y-pass is the toughest walk up Snowdon, and one of the best scrambling routes in the UK. It’s also one of the most exposed and difficult routes up Snowdon.

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Stage 1

📸 @will.pilbeam

To start the Crib Goch route park in the Pen Y Pass car park and follow the Pyg Track. At Bwlch Y Moch, follow the path right. It’s signposted Crib Goch on the marker rock

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Stage 2

📸 @ryanwilcockson

Follow the steep path and scramble uphill. It’s initially a path that turns into a scramble. On reaching the top of the scramble, you top off on the Crib Goch ridge which is flat at this point. This next section of the walk across Crib Goch  extremely exposed and airy walk. 

 

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Stage 3

📸 @chloealina

When you approach the Crib Goch Pinnacles, You can choose  one of the two options to tackle the pinnacles you will be able  to scale over the top of them or go around them. 

Once you have scaled the pinnacles its onto Crib y Ddysgl, this section may still be airy in its own right, and will still pose a challenge but the hardest part of the route is over.

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Stage 4

📸 @twobackpackingaussies

This ridge brings you directly up onto the summit of Carnedd Ugain the second highest point in Wales and only 20 metres shorter than Snowdon. From this point you will follow the track until you get to the summit of Snowdon.

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Crib Goch

Snowdon Ranger 

The Snowdon Ranger Path is one of the quieter official routes to the summit and possibly one of the oldest. The trail starts from the Llyn Cwellyn Car Park LL54 7YT.  

This path Starts off with a series of zig-zags, it then eases, and ends as a relentless climb to the summit. 

Stage 1

📸 @jojo.binkss

From the Car Park, you’ll need to cross the road and head right towards the start of the Snowdon Ranger Path. Take the path uphill, turning left at the Snowdon Ranger station and then immediately right at the farm track. Head up-hill towards the farm, crossing a cattle grid before you reach the farmhouse. 

The path continues right behind the farmhouse, Now the first set of zig-zags start off, a tedious but gentle  gradient. This section of the route has been rebuild and is very easy to navigate.

Stage 2

📸 @amberinsnowdonia

The Final zig-zag brings you  to a gate that marks the end of the zig-zags and the start of a gentler section across the moorland along the slopes of the grassy Moel Cynghorion. The path crosses the Snowdon Circular Walk which provides and alternative approach along the Clogwyn y Gwin path from Rhyd Ddu.  you’ll pass through an iron gate which marks the final section of the approach towards Llyn Ffynnon-y-gwas and Bwlch Cwm Brwynog. It does start to gently ascend again from here.

Stage 3

📸 @buvauten.it

This next section of the path has some steep zig zags that rise 200m. After the final zig zags The path continues to ascend more directly, with numerous cairns marking the way. Once the surrounding terrain becomes grassy, you’ll reach a wide shoulder which marks the final section of the Ranger Path. From the flat grassy shoulder, the path begins to ascend again. 

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Stage 4

📸 @carrierosalie80

You may spot a train passing on the slope above you, as you’ll soon be crossing the Snowdon Mountain Railway. There are clear signs at the tracks, which you cross and veer right to arrive at Bwlch Glas. DO NOT follow the Train track. Bwlch Glas marks the meeting of most the routes including, the Llanberis, Crib Goch, Miners’ and PYG tracks for the final pull to the Snowdon Summit. 

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Snowdon Ranger

How hard is it to climb up Snowdon?

All Routes up Snowdon are reasonably difficult and it really depends on which route you take that will determine how hard it is to climb, above is a detailed description of all the routes up Snowdon. Generally Crib Goch would be the most difficult route and one of the more easier routes up Snowdon would be Llanberis Path, Pyg Track and the Miners Track, these three tracks are also fairly easy to navigate.

What is the weather like on Snowdon?

The Weather conditions on Snowdon can be unpredictable, this is due to the fact that mountain ranges tend to create their own conditions. So you should be aware that weather conditions on Snowdon can change rapidly and often for the worst. A good day at sea level is no guarantee of good weather on the mountain! You should Be safe and prepared before climbing. 

Before going to climb Snowdon you can check the forecast on the Met Office, (Make sure you check the weather for Snowdon and not the surrounding area)

Although the weather may chop and change, Snowdon Does get hotter in the summer and colder in the winter, Below is a table of the average temperature on Snowdon during the year. The Top numbers are the highest average and the bottom are the lowest.

Average Temperature

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
2°C 2°C 3°C 5°C 9°C 11°C
-1°C -1°C 0°C 2°C 5°C 7°C
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
13°C 13°C 11°C 8°C 4°C 3°C
9°C 9°C 7°C 4°C 1°C 0°C
This Table is a rough Guide for Pre planning, Please check the weather before you start your climb on Snowdon.

What is the best month to Climb Snowdon?

The Best Month to climb Snowdon depends on what you want to experience when climbing Snowdon.  For example If you would like to climb Snowdon on a hotter/clearer day then in the Mid summer would be the best time to climb, you can locate the tables on the average sunlight hours and  the average temperature during the year on Snowdon, These two tables may give you a rough idea on what month you will want to climb Snowdon. 

You may also want to know what the most popular month is to climb Snowdon to either avoid or join the many people who climb the mountain each year. The most popular time to climb Snowdon is usually during the summer, With the Winter being the more quieter times due to the worse conditions on the mountain. 

What is the best time to Climb Snowdon?

The best time to climb Snowdon will depend on the season you are climbing in and what you want to experience when climbing. Below is a table on the average sunrise and sunset times during the year.  When you go to book your trip please check the weather. The table is a rough guide so you can estimate what time you would like to climb.

Average Total Sunlight

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
08:15 07:30 06:40 06:10 05:20 04:55
16:35 17:25 18:50 20:15 21:10 21:40
8h 20m 9h 50m 12h 10m 14h 00m 16h 00m 16h 45m
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
05:15 05:35 06:50 07:15 07:40 08:10
21:30 20:30 19:30 17:30 16:20 16:05
16h 30m 14h 40m 12h 40m 10h 20m 8h 45m 7h 45m
This Table is a rough Guide for Pre planning, Please check the weather before you start your climb on Snowdon.

Do i need to be able to navigate?

Some of the routes up Snowdon are fairly easy to navigate, such as the Llanberis path and the Pyg Track, the Miners track is also fairly easy however there is one tricky section as you get to the end of Glasyn. The other routes are a bit trickier to navigate espesially Crib Goch and the top of the Watkin path. On a clear day it will be a lot easier to navigate all of these routes however conditions can change and when the weather is bad even some of the easy routes can get hard to navigate. It would be highly recommend to bring a map and compass when climbing Snowdon especially the harder routes, and you should pre plan and know roughly where your going before climbing. You do not need to be an expert at map reading to climb Snowdon when undertaking easy routes on a clear day, if you are to undertake Crib Goch in winter or bad visibility it is advised that you can ready a map confidently and know what you are doing. 

What do i need to bring when climbing up Snowdon?

The ideal kit list when climbing Snowdon will vary slightly depending on what season you are climbing in, in the winter you will need warmer clothes and base layers etc, however the essentials will pretty much stay the same.

Warm and waterproof clothing

These items are essential all year round due to the temperamental conditions on Snowdon, in the summer it may be hot at the base of the mountain, however the conditions will get slightly cooler and could become drastically worse at the the top, due to this make sure you bring waterproofs and warm clothing up with you.

A pair of good walking boots

You will need a pair of decent walking boots regardless of the weather or temperature when climbing Snowdon.

Useful Hiking Equipment

You will need to bring essential bits of hiking equipment when climbing Snowdon. These items consist of a map, compass, torch, whistle and first Aid Kit. You can also bring trekking poles, however they are not essential.

Food and Water

Snowdon is a long days hike regardless of which route you are taking so it is a must that you bring plenty of food and drink with you when climbing. you MUST take your litter down the mountain with you!

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Day Kit

Is Snowdon suitable for children to climb?

Snowdon is suitable for children, as long as they are prepared for all weather conditions and keen for a challenge. Crib Goch is not advised for children however it is entirly possible for children to climb as long as they are capable.

Is Snowdon suitable for dogs to climb?

Snowdon is suitable for dogs if your dog enjoys long walks. It is advised to keep your dog on a lead especially when paths get busy.. There are some parts of Snowdon that have uneven terrain and this may be tricky for some dogs. Llanberis path would be the advised option as parts of the Pyg Track and Miners track may require your hands. Crib Goch would not be advised as you need full use of your hands.

Can i camp on Snowdon?

Camping on Snowdon is not advisable. The summit of Snowdon is exposed and can be very dangerous, There are also a lot of walkers during the summer, and pitching a tent would be difficult due to the uneven terrain. 

There is a camping location at Rhyd-Ddu campsite at the foot of Ben Nevis this is a handy and convinient place to camp.

Can i do a guided walk of Snowdon?

Yes there are guided tours available if you are uncomfortable going on your own or just want to learn more about Snowdon and the surrounding area.  Check out Snowdon Hikes who do a range of tours up Snowdon.

Guide to Climbing Snowdon created

03/06/2020

Guide to Scafell Pike

19/05/2020

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