1085 metres or 3559 feet makes Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa, to give it its proper name, the highest mountain in Wales and England.
Thousands of people are drawn each year to this majestic mountain and ascend to its summit either by train, by foot or mountain bike.
Here is some basic advice for anyone looking to go to the top of Snowdon.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway operates the train which runs on the rack and pinion track all the way to the summit. The service runs typically from the middle of March until the end of October weather permitting.
The journey takes approximately one hour up with 30 minutes on the summit and one hour to descend. At busy times it is best to book in advance or consider catching the Early Bird train.
In times of adverse weather, the train may be cancelled altogether or will run a limited service up the mountain.
The station is at Southern end of the High Street and there is plenty of parking (chargeable) at the site.
Don't forget your camera and warm clothes for the summit where you can also grab a drink and a bite to eat as well as a few souvenirs in the Summit Cafe 'Hafod Eryri'.
New state of the art carriage on the Snowdon Mountain Railway
Mountain biking down Snowdon is an experienced not to be missed but don't underestimate the seriousness of the challenge!
The two main paths to use are the Llanberis path and the Snowdon Ranger path, with the latter being the harder of the two. You need to be a competent and experienced rider with the riding difficulty being black and double black respectively (if you don't know what that means, are you ready to ride the mountain?).
Both paths are subject to a voluntary riding ban from 10am to 5pm from the beginning of May until the end of September. Since riding is permitted before 10am and after 5pm at any time, a descent on a summers evening is not out of the question and there is nothing to stop you walking up earlier with your bikes to reach the summit before 5pm so long as you are not riding up.
Following the voluntary ban makes sense as riding is more hazardous with lots of walkers on the path and you would be stopping all the time to give way to people. It is in your own interests to stick to the ban and ride the mountain when it is quieter, you will have a much better experience.
It takes around two and a half hours to reach the summit the time to come down is obviously dependent on the conditions at the time and the number of people using the path. Cyclists (under the Countryside Act 1968) are required to give way to pedestrians and equine users at all times.
Ascending Snowdon by foot is a fantastic achievement for anyone but requires a bit of planning and common sense. The following advice can help you with your choice but please remember that the weather can change dramatically and quickly on Snowdon. Make sure you are properly equipped and suitably skilled to keep yourself safe should the weather take a turn for the worse. Always make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be back.
There are six main footpaths to the summit of Snowdon, three of which are easily accessible from Llanberis.
The first is the 'Llanberis path' which starts from the village and rises more or less parallel to the railway over 8kms (5 miles) to the summit.
The next is the 'Miners Track' which starts from Pen y Pass which is at the head of the valley from Llanberis. You can park at Pen y Pass but this fills up very quickly and is expensive. Far better is to take the Snowdon Sherpa Bus www.gwynedd.gov.uk/timetables which runs frequently from Llanberis and is a service specifically for walkers going up Snowdon. It runs every 20mins at peak times, only costs £1 per person, removes the hassle of parking and gives you the freedom to descend the Llanberis path back into the village.
The third option and in our opinion, a better walk up Snowdon, is the PYG track. This is also started also from Pen y Pass and gives an interesting and scenic option to the summit. Again you can return to Llanberis via the Llanberis path.
A typical ascent time is two and a half to three hours up, two to two and a half hours down. This will depend on your fitness, numbers in your group (larger groups often move slower) and the weather.
(Another option is to take Capel Coch Road off the High Street (by Joe Browns Corner Shop) bear left at the fork, follow the lane steeply up hill passed the Youth Hostel, then follow the track up Bwlch Masgwn also known locally as Telegraph Valley. Eventually you can either take the route over Cwm Gorian or carry straight on to join the Snowdon Ranger Path. It maybe a longer route but if you see 6 people before you get to the Ranger Path it will be a very busy day!!!)
There are many challenges which include the ascent of Snowdon, the 3 peaks (Ben Nevis, Scar Fell & Snowdon) the Welsh 3 peaks (Pen y Fan, Cader Idris & Snowdon) the annual Snowdon race
and for those who want to go the extra mile the Welsh 3000s Challenge. (All the peaks above 3000' in 24 hours), for more information on that one go to http://www.welsh3000s.co.uk
BE SAFE ! (please see disclaimer below)
Every year, people get into difficulties on Snowdon and the surrounding mountains.A few simple steps can make your trip safer.
1. Check the forecast - go to www.metoffice.gov.uk for a specific mountain area forecast for Snowdonia. What might be nice weather in the valleys can be very different on the summits. Temperatures will be lower, winds higher and visibility can be down to zero. If in doubt, go another day. Local climbing shops have daily forecasts on display and can advise you on conditions and what to expect.
2. Take enough clothing - a good waterproof jacket is a must as even if it is not raining it will work as a good windproof barrier. Hats and gloves are advisable at any time of year just in case and take layers of suitable clothing rather than one thick layer. Cotton is inadvisable as when it gets wet, it stays wet and cold. Jeans are probably the worst things you could wear on a mountain walk. Good footwear is essential and make sure the soles have a good tread pattern for grip. Always take some spare clothes in a back pack. Just a few extra tops can make all the difference and weigh next to nothing. Again, the local climbing shops have everything you need and are more than willing to advise you. They are often staffed by experienced walkers and climbers so know the mountains well.
3. Plenty of food and drink - even on cold days you need to drink fluids and water is the best. You can get dehydrated very quickly from heavy walking and you then perform less well, taking longer to ascend and get more tired. Food keeps you supplied with energy. Little and often is good advice to keep your energy levels up.
4. Know your limits - if you can't use a map and compass, you could get caught out if the weather closes in, even when you are on what appear to be obvious paths in good visibility, you can be lost easily once the mist comes down. Why not get some basic navigation lesson organised, it not only keeps you safe but also adds to your enjoyment on the mountains.
5. Get advice - there are plenty of outdoor professionals in Llanberis who are more than happy to give you advice to keep you safe. Start by visiting the local climbing and outdoor shops who are staffed by people who spend a lot of time on the mountains. Who knows, a five minute chat could make all the difference between a fantastic day or one you would rather forget!
Local places for advice are:-
Joe Browns Climbing Shops (2 in the village)
Crib Goch Outdoor World
All are on the High Street and have an extensive range of equipment for climbing and walking to suit all budgets. Buying a hat or gloves and getting invaluable advice for free! What could be better?
Disclaimer: It is up to each individual to take responsibility for their own actions and decisions when ascending into mountainous terrain and neither this website nor the Llanberis Development Group will take any responsibility for any accidents or injuries arising as a result of the information given herein. The information is there to inform you about the mountain and what to potentially expect. if in doubt, get yourself properly trained and equipped and consider the services of a qualified professional guide or instructor. Be safe out there !