CRIB GOCH

SNOWDONIA

A DAY AMONGST THE CLOUDS

5AM RENDEZVOUS
OUTSIDE THE GYM

It’s mid-August, early and cold, I haven’t been awake at this time in years.  I was starting to think that 5am was a myth because I don’t remember ever bearing witness to it. But here I am, driving towards the gym, heavy eyes, coffee in hand wondering what sort of a turn out we’re going to have for our debut ClaYmore on Tour.

I pull up to a much livelier scene at the gym. We’ve got our ClaYmore Gym sign hung proudly above our entrance, lighting up the carpark. The carpark is already filling up with what can’t be less than 10 cars, with twice the members to fill them along with a handsome mountain dog! There’s a buzz of excitement in the air, in anticipation for the day ahead and everyone is greeting each other, drinking their coffee’s, and waiting for the next car to arrive.

5:30 rolls around, our agreed departure time and everyone is doing their last-minute preparations for the drive and adventure ahead. We’re all stocking up on water, electrolyte drinks, jelly sweets and flapjacks from the gym. The more experienced members recommending to the younger members the type of energy refreshments they’ll want to be taking, along with loading up on as much water as they can each feasibly carry. With that, we’re all back in our cars pulling off, with the lit up red ClaYmore Gym logo trailing off into the distant rear-view

AND SO IT BEGINS

WE’VE ARRIVED!

We’ve just got to the foot of Mt Snowdon. It’s 9am, about an hour behind schedule which we lost to the unfortunate parking situation. Upon arriving in our 10 + car convoy we failed to prepare for the dire parking situation which seems to be mocking us, as we drive further and further away from the start point. A 10 minute later drive down the road and a dubious looking car parking space appeared, squashed up next to another 4 cars, all packed into the sideroad like sardines in a can. There is every chance that when we arrive back to the car at the end of the day, my wing mirror is going to be taken off, but at this point, I’ll take the gamble over parking even further away from the starting point. We jump out of the car and start marching back up the long hill to get to the foot of the mountain.

The morning sun is now in the sky and my great idea to layer up before leaving the house isn’t seeming like such a great idea anymore. It is getting hot and I haven’t yet become acclimatised to the weight of my rucksack, full of water and foods. I only have one party with me as the convoy has now been separated in a frenzy to find parking. There is also no phone signal at the foot of the mountain, so we’re unable to contact each other to organise, but onward we march with the plan to arrive at the base and wait until the rest arrive.

Half an hour later my party is arriving at the start of the trek and to our surprise, we are not the last group, we are in fact the first, bar another group who somehow managed to swipe a spot right outside the Snowdon parking area at the start of the walk. We sit down, de-layer and crack open our bags for a drop of water and a bit of food whilst waiting for the others. Another half an hour later and we’re all together. It turns out some of the other cars had parked EVEN further away than us and had a more difficult assent to the START of the walk. Anyhow, we’re all here, we’re all pumped and we’re all ready for action!

THE FIRST LEG

The air is nice and crisp now, as we starting to ascend. There’s the warmth of the sun mixing with a fresh breeze making it the perfect air to walk in. Spirits are high and all the guys and girls are excited about the prospect of the day ahead. Conversations flowing and we’ve all fell into a natural walking order dictated by pace. In front of us is the spectacular sight of the enormous mountain that we will soon be conquering.

We arrive at the turn off point for Crib Goch, taking us away from the easier trails, instead taking us straight up and over the knife edge ridge of this mountain. It’s an impressive sight ahead and gives the impact of the gravity of the challenge we’re about to engage with. As a collective we’re excited! We stop for our first photo opportunity as a group and power on.

AND SO IT BEGINS

THE CHIPSTICKS

This leg of the walk is graft for all! The calf muscles are starting to burn in a desirable way and we’re getting some hight now. At this point the view is always impressive when you turn around and seems to get better with each look and each step higher. The sun is out so it’s mostly shorts and t shirts now. We arrive at a nice viewpoint and figure it’d be a nice place to set up for food. Everyone takes up their place on the rocks and digs into their bags for their favourite snack. Jord happens to be eating a bag of salted chipsticks which he seems to be enjoying. Upon offering them out however his bag accidently slips out of his hand and empties all over the floor. Much to his disappointment and amusement to all. Not all is lost though, he had a backup bag of crisps and the birds on the hillside didn’t mind cleaning up the spilt snacks.

THE KNIFE EDGE

This leg of the walk is graft for all! The calf muscles are starting to burn in a desirable way and we’re getting some hight now. At this point the view is always impressive when you turn around and seems to get better with each look and each step higher. The sun is out so it’s mostly shorts and t shirts now. We arrive at a nice viewpoint and figure it’d be a nice place to set up for food. Everyone takes up their place on the rocks and digs into their bags for their favourite snack. Jord happens to be eating a bag of salted chipsticks which he seems to be enjoying. Upon offering them out however his bag accidently slips out of his hand and empties all over the floor. Much to his disappointment and amusement to all. Not all is lost though, he had a backup bag of crisps and the birds on the hillside didn’t mind cleaning up the spilt snacks.

THE CLIMB

Next comes the climb. An almost vertical rocky face which offers you two options; 1; a vertical assent or, 2; turn around and go home. Again, not everyone in the group are confident for the climb but no one chose option number two. The more equipped members lead the way, feeling out the route and best rocks to use as grips and footing and relaying this down the line. The climb was challenging mentally but also tested the body, tyring out the calf and forearm muscles the most. Despite ability and preference everyone made the climb and was instantly awarded with a sense of achievement and more breath-taking views.

THE GAP

After the climb came a more troubling obstacle, the gap! This was where we had to scale around a vertical ascending piece or rock and over a gap with a sheer drop underneath. The gap was a meter or so in diameter, but it was a meter or so too much for those with a predisposition towards hights. This was also the first time since the start of the hike that if you looked down there was nothing beneath your feet! The favoured method for bridging the gap was hugging the rock face, taking a side step over, and being grabbed for steading by another party member who will then instruct on which grip points to use! This was possibly the most taxing part of the day for some party members who needed some mental coaching to cross but again, before long, everyone was across safely.

THE SECOND RIDGE

The second ridge was not as taxing as the first physically and wasn’t as worrying to those concerned about hights however there was an aspect of mental toll as the summit seemed to be ever increasingly moving further away into the distance. The day was getting on now and the mid-day sun had passed. A couple of rest and eating periods had been enjoyed. Group water was getting scarcer and those with a surplus of water were lending to those who were beginning to run out. Fatigue had kicked in, but spirits were still high as we began to close in on our halfway point, the summit.

SUCCESS IS IMMINENT 

THE SUMMIT

After beating the long stretch of second ridge and pausing for a moment to enjoy the beautiful views from the top of it, we joined back onto Mt Snowdon’s pedestrian track as our Crib Goch route closed to an end. There were about another 15minutes of hiking before we finally arrived at the top. The heat from the sun was still there and there were lots of people arriving at the top, taking it in turn to take pictures touching the summit monument. We had a brief group photo, gave ourselves a pat on the back, traded some hardboiled sweets and started our track back down!

THE WAY DOWN

On the way down we took a different route to the way up. The Crib Goch route is the most physically demanding but the shortest route in distance. To the contrary, the route that we were taking back down was the longest in distance, yet the least physically demanding. The reason why we chose this route on the way back was because we were all starting to get a little tired and, all the way up, off into the distance on the ground level is Snowdon’s beautiful natural pool which had the sun glimmering off it like sparking diamonds and had been inviting us to come as swim in it the whole way up. This was our new objective, to get down to the pool to cool off and freshen up. However, there had become another growing problem. The scarce water in some cases had become to be non-existent. The was still a bit of a journey back and too much to not be hydrated. Luckily, group members had the insight to know what natural running water was okay to drink. The water flowing down from the top of the mountain which missed the human traffic and passed through the mossy areas on the way down was fine to drink. The moss, as we found out, acted as a natural filtration system, cleaning up the water leaving it drinkable for us. Everyone put their bottles under the multiple flowing drips and topped up. The water was delicious and refreshing and everyone was fully hydrated again.

THE SWIM

The highlight of the day for many of us was when we reached the clear pool at the bottom. The heat from the day combined with the trek had render us very hot and sweaty! Muscles were aching from all the trekking and climbing but now we’d reached another reward point. We set up camp, bags down, and cloths off! We hadn’t had the intuition prior to bring our swimming ware but that wasn’t going to stop us. Some of us stripped down to our underwear and others just took a dip in their shorts and tee-shirt! The water was bliss! It was chilled, clear, and fresh. It felt amazing washing the days graft from us and the weightless of the water also gave our muscles a relief! This really was a little hidden gem that we hadn’t expected we’d get out of the day. In the water some of us bathed, others went for a swim out to small rocky islands in view whilst others floated weightlessly. All in all, there was a sense of relief and satisfaction. This moment was highly enjoyed, and we earnt it!

THE LONG MARCH HOME

After the water fun the only thing left for it was heading back to base camp and our cars. There was still a considerable length back, but we’re all refreshed and restored from the dip in the water. It is now past 5pm so the sun is on its way back down and the day is becoming cooler, we’re also not the same hight up so we’re not feeling the heat as much and we’re cool from the water. We’re all walking at a comfortable pace and trading stories on the highlights of the day. There is a sense of achievement and almost relaxation about the air as we press on. We excitedly talk about future trips we will be taking and throw ideas around the group of where to go next as if future ClaYmore on Tour was anything like today it’ll be a hit!

EXPLORE CLAYMORE

MEMBERSHIPS

FIND US

ABOUT US

CONTACT