Why You Shouldn’t Walk up Snowdon

You clicked on this expecting some click-bait, reverse psychology article where the title is plainly opposite to the content, right? Well we’ll be happy to disappoint you on this occasion, as we will tell you why you shouldn’t Walk up Snowdon.

1 Crowds – People, people and more people… This makes it a no-go for certain periods of the year if you’re looking for a proper mountain experience. If you’re looking to walk up with hundreds of other people and a queue for the summit, then go for it.

crowded snowdon

2 Parking – not only does the parking cost an extortionate fee at Pen y Pass, you probably won’t actually get a space unless you get up at three am and get to the car park by half two. See our article on How To Avoid A Parking Ticket in Snowdonia.

3 Sherpa Buses – You may wish to use the park and ride instead. But that’s only an option on a Saturday in these austere times. Those crowds will also have the same idea, and you’ll need sharp elbows to get a space.

There's actually a parking space in this pic. Better than Where's Wally..
There’s actually a parking space in this pic. Better than Where’s Wally..

4 Huge Groups – You know who you are. Crowding out the path, as the path is clearly for your group, and your group alone to walk along.

We think that honour belongs to the 3rd Foot and Mouth alone!

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5 The Unprepared – In winter, the mountain is a real challenge. It’s a killer. You will however look like an Everest summitteer in Betws y Coed in comparison to the majority of people you’ll see on a winter day. We’ve even seen a guided group who were not properly kitted out in the snow and ice, slipping and sliding their way up. The rest of the year will see all sorts on the mountain, and it’s an absolute miracle that most of them find their way down.

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6 The Unprepared II – Such a good reason, it deserves to be here twice. We once had to drive someone from the Snowdon Ranger YH as he’d asked someone the way down to Llanberis, and had been guided this way.

7 People asking if the Cafe’s open – In the winter, and expecting they can catch the ski lift back down. We exaggerate, slightly, but it’s a common sight to see people sheltering in the locked cafe doorway, annoyed that it’s not open as they’ve walked up without supplies.

Yr Wyddfa and Snowdon - Set in Stone?
Yr Wyddfa and Snowdon – Set in Stone?

8 – The Over-prepared. We mean – really over-prepared. Setting off in full waterproofs on a summer day, as they want to get their money’s worth from the jacket. Usually seen stripping off ten minutes later, and dehydrated. These are but nothing compared to a group seen roped up in summer on the Llanberis Path…

Admittedly, we were a bit misleading with the title after all, as it should probably have been when and how you shouldn’t Walk up Snowdon. That’s just not as snappy!

Do we really think you shouldn’t bother with the tallest, most majestic mountain in the country? Of course not, but we think that what we’ve mentioned above can detract from it’s enjoyment.

There’s another Snowdon. One we love.

Here’s how you can find it, and the reasons given above should be enough reason to seek it.

  • If you wan to LOVE this mountain, choose your timing carefully! Choose to climb late in the day, off peak, away from the crowds.
  • Avoid weekends around May – August – these are usually busy, with challenge walks almost every weekend.
  • The summit is busier when the Snowdon Railway is running, so outside those periods you should get a quieter summit. The downside, is that the cafe will then be closed.

there are delicious sections of mountain solitude that you can appreciate all the more as they appear between the busy, crowded sections

  • There are some quieter routes up, on which you’ll see nobody on during peak periods. OK, there’s not one complete walk to the summit that offers that, but there are delicious sections of mountain solitude that you can appreciate all the more as they appear between the busy, crowded sections. Try the Llechog Ridge from Llanberis, Cwm Clogwyn or Y Gribin scramble for a side of Snowdon reserved for the few. Try the Allt Maenderyn Ridge (South Ridge) for a quieter route.

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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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