To Be Prepared Is The Half The Victory
Miguel De Cervante’s maxim has never been more true when it comes to preparing for a hike up Snowdon. Although Wales’ tallest peak has a reputation for being one of the easiest to master, there’s always an element of risk when you take a walk on the wild side.
These 10 things are absolutely essential to your hike up Snowdon – regardless of which route you take:
An Early Start
With Daylight Savings fast approaching, it’s essential that you get an early start on your hike up Snowdon. Ideally, you should try and book a night in at one of the two Youth Hostels that lie at the feet of the mountain – that way you can rise early and make the most of the morning light.
If you arrive any later than 12, you’ll risk losing the light as you head back down the mountain and you’ll find yourself fumbling through the rocky paths – not recommended.
You won’t get very far in your 5-year old trainers – make sure you’ve got something a bit sturdier to take the impact of the rough paths and stone walkways.
Walking boots are the preferred form of footwear – try and find something relatively light-weight, but with plenty of grip so you don’t lose your footing. On a summer’s day you can get away with sturdy trainers, but if it rains you’ll be glad for some waterproof footwear.
Speaking of rain – Wales’ weather is unpredictable. Your Weather App may say that there’s a 0% chance of it raining but it’s always best to prepare for the worst.
Lightweight waterproof tops and bottoms can be relatively inexpensive, remember you’ve always got the opportunity to dry them off once you get to the cafe at the top.
Although you might be considering hitting the Halfway Cafe via the Llanberis Path on the way up (or even holding out til the Visitor Centre at the top), it’s always a good idea to grab a few snacks for your rucksack
Nuts, Chocolate and Sandwiches never fail to go down well. You’ll be burning anywhere between 1500 and 2500 calories on the walk, so it’s important not to neglect your body.
Rain or shine, a hat is a must have for any hike. When you’re outside exerting yourself for any longer than an hour in the cold, you’ll be losing valuable heat through your head. A balaclava or woolly hat will serve you well in winter.
Come the summer, you’ll be needing some protection from the sun’s rays. Although Wales isn’t famed for it’s scorching temperatures, you’l be surprised how much the altitude will effect you the higher you go.
Did you think just a sturdy pair of shoes would do the trick? If you head out for a 2-3 hours hike with nothing more than a thin pair of trainer socks, your feet will feel it by the end of the day. Blisters and sores are the price you’ll pay for not being prepared.
You can find cheap hiking socks at most Outdoor Pursuits outlets, but if you’d rather save the cash, just stick on a couple of pair of socks instead.
Cash For The Train Down
Sometimes it’s best to prepare for the worst. No doubt you’ll be taking enough money to grab a cup of tea and a slice of cake – but you should grab some extra cash for the train back down just in case.
The walk can tire you out more than you might think – if you’re not used to long hikes, the altitude or sharp increases in elevation, you may find that your energy is sapped by the time you reach the top.
Although this may seem like somewhat of a no-brainer, you’d be surprised by how many would-be hikers leave themselves short when it comes to hydration. Just one small 500ml bottle won’t cut the mustard here.
Make sure that you allow at least 2 litres per person, you’re going to be sweating out a lot of water on both trips – so you’ll be thankful for it when the time comes.
A Game Plan
If you simply turn up, park then follow the crowds up the hill – chances are you’ll be OK. However, you do run the risk of accidentally joining a trek that might be far outside your comfort zone.
Take a look at our ‘Getting Up’ section before making the journey so that you understand what you’re getting yourself in for.
Although many people may sneer at the relative ease of Snowdon’s routes – you’ll still need a good amount of determination and grit to reach the top of the mountain.