Walking Snowdon in February

Q. Hi

My husband, myself and a friend are planning to walk up Snowdon on Sunday 24th Feb. My husband and I have very little experience. Which walk would you recommend for us as I am a bit worried but the my husband told me that there is easy walk to the top that elderly people can do.

Am I right to be worried? and what equipment would we need?

Rebecca Harding, Warrington Cheshire


A. You are quite right to be worried. Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales and higher than anything in England. In February there can be arctic temperatures with deep lying snow on the summit of Snowdon obliterating the path and forming very dangerous icy conditions underfoot.

You will need full winter kit including Ice Axe and crampons (plus experience using both). Snowdon in February is a serious undertaking and - forgive me for saying so - but it does not sound like you or your husband have sufficient experience to tackle this kind of walk in the middle of winter.

My advice is don't go in February at all. Snowdon - see Walks gw100 gw105 gw107 gw110 gw117 gw126 gw134 gw136 gw140 gw158 gw186 gw198 - will still be there in July and August (hopefully!) so why not go then? The conditions are likely to be far more favourable and you will have a much greater chance of having clear weather on the top so you can enjoy the views - which are truly magnificent.

The shortest route is gw100 Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) from Pen y Pass  - but even this involves over 2,500ft of climbing on rough stony paths which can be a daunting task if you are not used to it. Furthermore, the final push up to the summit ridge is very, very steep.

A less steep but longer route follows the railway track from Llanberis. This is probably the path your husband refers to. But even this is over 4.5 miles long (one way) and involves over 3200 feet of steady climbing. -Walk gw186 Snowdon and Moel Cynghorion from Llanberis  includes the route details.

There are plenty of hills much closer to Warrington that you can tackle and build up your experience, fitness and stamina levels before tackling Snowdon.

Why not try Shining Tor - walks ch131 ch146 ch157 - or Shutlingsloe - walks ch101 ch226 - near Macclesfield?

How about Winter Hill walks l142 l217 ) near Bolton or Pendle Hill - walks l100 l112 l127 - near Burnley?

Or even Moel Famau - walks fl155 dn112 dn136 dn142 dn174 - near Mold in Flintshire?

If you really cannot wait until the summer and want to taste that 'real' mountain experience to see if you like it - why not start with c210 The Old Man of Coniston from the Walna Scar Road, Coniston  in the southern Lake District? Mind you, February is still a bit early for walkers with your level of experience.

Do let us know how you get on - and we look forward to seeing photographs of you and your party looking triumphant on the summit of Snowdon. Just leave it until the weather improves.

Hope this helps

Mike (Editor)


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