Snowdon is my favorite mountain I have climbed. It has absolutely stunning views in every direction. Each of the paths offer their own charm and little areas to explore off the path. Miners track, in particular, is a really sublime route through lakes with towering ridge lines all around you!

camping along the Miners Track

No one can deny how amazing the views are from Snowdon, however, there are many who are not so keen on the mountain, seeing it as the tourist mountain and finding it overcrowded. They are right! Snowdon when the weather is nice, especially in the summer is absolutely rammed with people. I remember arriving once at the summit and wondering if there was a football match going on!

Snowdon summit crowds

If solitude in the mountain air is what you crave then for sure I would choose another mountain to climb. Even the Glyder range next door to Snowdon will be far less crowded. However Snowdon can still be climbed in a fantastic way.

Keep reading for my tips on how to do Snowdon right! It’ll be worth the read!

The most important thing to getting the most out of snowdon is the time of day you climb.

I really recommend climbing Snowdon first thing in the morning. Sunset can work as well but then you have a long walk down in the dark, and walking down is trickier and better done in the light I would say. Climbing Snowdon at first light gives you much more interesting light. The exact time to set off depends on the time of year. But if say sunrise is at 6am, then aim to summit about 5.30am so, therefore, leave around 3.30am. This obviously depends a bit on your fitness levels but there is some margin for error if you allow 2 hours but it takes you closer to 3 you will still catch some amazing light even if you miss the sunrise on the summit.

“GET UP AT 3AM YOU SAY! ARE YOU MAD!!!”

This is what my friends first said when we went to climb Snowdon for the first time. But when we arrived at the summit for sunrise they all admitted that it was amazing and well worth the difficult getup! I mean look at what we were greeted with that morning!

Snowdon summit just before sunrise

Navigating Snowdon in the half darkness is not too tricky as the paths are pretty clear. And its a really special experience. You will also bump into far fewer people up there. The people who are up there at that time are people who really love the mountains and I actually really enjoy saying hello to a few people as you all stare in amazement at the view.

THE ROUTE

The next important thing to cover is the route itself. The most popular way to tackle the mountain is probably the PYG track and down the Miners track. Or perhaps approaching from Llanberis up the Llanberis track. If it’s your first time up Snowdon and you are doing a sunrise climb these could be good solutions. However there is a much more interesting way to do this mountain, and in my opinion, it is the best by far. The Snowdon Horseshoe via Crib Goch.

Crib Goch at sunrise, stunning!

Crib Goch is a notorious ridgeline walk. You start from Pen-y-pass hostel and head along the PYG track for around half an hour or so. You will come to a fence with a style to get over it, before going over this you turn right up a clear path and will come across the sign to Crib Goch, calved into a rock.

From this point you veer upwards steeply following a worn trail and eventaully lossing the trail and heading up some grade 1 scrambling towards a peak before you. Some of this can feel a bit like rock climbing but on the whole its very easy and not too exposed, you can often get around tricky parts.

At the top of this first peak you will start along an exposed ridge with large drops on either side. Take it easy along here and providing the weather is good it is not a real problem as long as you are careful and take it seriously you should have no problems.

I found this youtube video really useful when researching the route.

Lots of people are scared of the idea of doing Crib Goch. I was myself!

I would say if you have an okay head for heights and or are confident with basic climbing it will be absolutely fine in decent weather. It should also be noted that the route can easily be reversed if it feels too scary or challenging at any points, despite what some people say. If you have never done any kind of climbing or scrambling and consider yourself pretty scared of heights (hey Dad!) I really would not recommend this route at all. It does require you to be calm and confident.

Johanna climbing one of the trickier sections of Crib Goch

The route then summits Snowdon and then you continue by heading down the first section of Watkins path before breaking away up the obvious and less tricky ridge line and you pop out onto the Miners track in order to get back to the start point.

If you want to get an idea for what Crib Goch and the route itself is like then please watch my video of the route!

Snowdon can still be enjoyed even if you don’t like crowds of people. Hopefully thise article can inspire you to break away from the teams doing 3 peaks, and the crowds swarming up to get a coffee from the summit cafe! Enjoy snowdon along a more challenging route and see the landscape in the most stunning light. Have a real adventure! And learn to love this mountain as much as I do.

Do get in touch if you have any concerns about Crib Goch or the horseshoe walk. I’ll be happy to help.

— Written by Alex, from Llanberis Cafe, UK. —

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