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Winds of Snowdon

September 15, 2012

My dad and I flew to Manchester, picked up our rental car, and drove South to Llandudno, Wales. The next morning we planned to climb Snowdon, highpoint of Wales. Llandudno was a nice town with picturesque waterfront. We got there by late afternoon, and grabbed some takeaway fish and chips. We made the mistake of bringing it to the beach to eat, and were met there with a flock of seagulls. The entire eating we had to fend off the birds from cod and chips, until an unsuspecting French family arrived with takeaway and became the new targets.

The next morning we woke up early to drive to Pen-y-Pass, where we would climb Snowdon. We drove for an hour, past Llanberis to Pen-y-Pass, but found the car park at the trailhead to be full. We had to drive down about a mile, park the car and hike back up to the pass along the motorway to begin the hike. Unfortunately we could not work any way to avoid on weekend day in the mountains, and we realized that the crowds were even worse than expected. Masses of people blocked the entire trail, some even holding hands three abreast! When they noticed us behind them they were very kind and allowed us to pass.

The further we got on the trail, the worse the weather became. What began as an overcast day soon turned to rain, and fog came in as we gained elevation. The original plan was to get off the Pyg Track and ascend via Crib Goch, but by then the fog had become so thick that we decided it would be best to stay on the trail. Hiking above the lake we made good time, but ascending to the ridge we had to pass a couple school groups. Nearing the ridge the wind picked up dramatically, to 60 mph, and one of the women guiding the school group fell on me after an unexpected gust of wind. We passed those groups, and made it to the ridge. At the ridge the wind was incredible, and the sideways rain made it even more impressive.

We went to the summit, where I took a few photos, and my dad reluctanly waited in the rain while I posed with my flag. At the summit there is a cafe, but it was so busy that we were forced into a corner near a vending machine. We decided that rather than attempt to escape the inevitable return to the stinging rain and wind, we would just get it over with. Fortunately nobody else had this idea I suppose, for we did not see many people on the descent.

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