24 Aug, 2019

Day 1 – The Snowdon Massif

Written by: Russ

South Downs Way

Distance:

miles

Time:

hours

Elevation gain:

feet

The Welsh 3,000s

The Welsh 3,000s is an epic route consisting of 15 summits of Snowdonia’s 3,000+-foot peaks and a wild selection of ridgeline traverses. The route I took on day 1 is the traditional route, starting from the summit of Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) and then traversing Crib Goch and then down to Nant Peris for camp. There are plenty of other ways to summit the peaks and traverse the red ridge, some start with Crib Goch, then Snowdon and then connect to Nant Peris via the Llanberis path, but for this blog, I’ll show you the route I took.

Watch the video

Resources and maps

  • Mountain weather: Snowdonia National Park has some of the most adverse weather conditions in the UK so keeping up to speed with weather information is important. For the most accurate and comprehensive weather forecasts, check mwis.org.uk and download the PDF in the days prior to your trip.
  • Maps: The Welsh 3,000s route can be plotted easily on this OS Map and this Harvey map. Although, it’s not pre-plotted in the maps.

Didn’t you do the challenge?

The Welsh 3,000s is traditionally a challenge whereby walkers and trail runners are required to complete the entire route in less than 24 hours. I, however, prefer to take my time, enjoy the hike and camp out, so I opted to split each of the 3 mountain ranges, Snowdon Massif, The Glyderau and the Carneddau into 3 separate days.

Day 1 route overview

The below map is a plot of the route I chose. Most don’t count the ascent of Snowdon, but I have below to show you every detail. From the YHA at Pen y Pass, cross the road and take the Miner’s Path to the ridgeline where the Miner’s intersects the Llanberis Path and follows the Snowdon Railway track to the trig point at the Summit of Snowdon. This marks the official start of your hike.

From the trig point at the summit, head north and take a right up to Garnedd Ugain and traverse Crib Goch. Epic views on this exciting ridgeline traverse are the highlight of the day. After Chrib Goch bear north down the connecting ridgeline and make your way down the west-facing slope.

Continuing to descend you follow the network of streams by Cwm Glas Mawr all the way down to the A4086. Following that along to Nant Peris and to the Cae Gwyn Campsite

That marks the end of the first epic day on the Welsh 3,000s

Heading up Snowdon

Most who attempt the 24-hour challenge ascend Snowdon before sunrise to get the most daylight for their attempt. As I did the route over 3 days, this wasn’t essential and I had a rather nice lie in! From the YHA at Pen y Pass, heading up either the Miner’s Path or the Pyg Track will get you there while saving some energy while not being too long. The views of the Snowdon Massif on either pathway are incredible. The huge stone pathways make for easy hiking and running along the initial stretch.

During summer, these paths will be very busy and the summit will likely be crowded. Another good reason to get up there early.

Over the M3
Over the M3

Traversing Crib Goch

Crib Goch is the third summit on the Welsh 3,000s after Snowdon and Garnedd Ugain and by far the most epic on the route. During the traverse, you’ll squeeze around sharp pinnacles and scramble up and down crags and gullies. You never traverse the ridge the same way twice. On this clear day, the views down to Llanberis were fantastic.

Over the M3
Over the M3
Over the M3

The north ridge descent

Most people will descend Crib Goch by the Crib Goch Path which scrambles down the eastbound side back to the Pyg Track and Pen y Pass, but you’ll be bearing north down the connecting ridgeline with Llanberis and Nant Peris visible down in the valley. It was at this point a huge swarm of flying ants clouded the air, they were everywhere! Must have been the season.

This stretch was incredible, walking down the ridgeline with epic views ahead. Keep an eye out to your left for a trail which you’ll take to descend the western slope of the ridgeline safely.

Over the M3
Over the M3

Descending to the A4086

The long descent to the road leading to Nant Peris was one of the longest and toughest descents I’ve attempted. It was a killer on the knees and I quickly developed hotspots on my feet. Luckily they didn’t turn into full-blown blisters and I was able to patch them up. After the trail on the Western slope of the ridge, there’s little sign of any path or trail. 

Over the M3

Made it to camp

By the time I got to Nant Peris, I was completely pooped. I was determined to take on the mighty Elidir Fawr to mark the start of the Glyderau range but decided to nestle down at camp near Nant Beris and save my energy for the following day. The flying ants were all over my tent and made it sound like it was raining. Definitely wasn’t raining. Bring on the Glyders!

Over the M3

Elevation

A steady ascent to Snowdon and you end up staying up high for most of the way.

Over the M3

Gallery

Overview

  • Views and vista 90% 90%
  • Difficulty 80% 80%
  • Elevation gain 80% 80%

Start time:

10:00

Camp time:

18:00

Points of interest

Snowdon summit

Crib Goch

Accommodation

Hostels

YHA Pen y Pass

Campsites

Cae Gwyn Campsite

Read more

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