Tuesday, 30 October 2012

My Snowdon Adventure

When presented with a choice, I usually take the easiest option. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that I didn't choose to walk up Mount Snowdon with a group of children. Instead I decided to run up on my own.

Just two days after completing a marathon I wasn't entirely sure that I'd be able to make it but the weather seemed to be giving us just the one day to have a go...

Setting off from Llanberis, I took the easiest route which criss-crossed the steam railway tracks. The lower part on tarmac roads was pretty steep and quickly pushed me into a jog-walk strategy. The long middle section was rocky with relatively flat sections allowing me to keep a decent pace overall.

The last third was harder with the weather closing in. Howling winds, driving rain and low cloud were both a help and a hindrance. On the downside, footing became slippery especially where the rainwater poured down the rocky path and the limited visibility brought its own challenges.

A bizarre benefit, though, was that the drop in temperature and chill from the rain and wind kept me moving. Slowing down was not an option as I'd have frozen solid in the relatively lightweight clothing compared to everyone else on the trail. Just four layers, two hats and some seriously soggy gloves. I need to do something about those gloves...

In the end, I got to the summit in 1h22m just as the rain started to turn into sleet. Thankfully I was able to dive into the café at the summit for a coffee and flapjack and waited for half an hour to let the rain and wind ease up.

On the way down I found my family and friends just 2k from the top. The weather was deteriorating and (very sensibly) they decided not to press on. I got back to Llanberis in just over an hour where I had some soup, got into dry clothes and headed back up to meet them. I didn't have to go far as they'd also made short work of the descent.

Running up Snowdon was an enormously positive experience for me. It was very pleasing to find that I could do it, doubly so just two days after completing a marathon. More than that, though, it gives me hope that I can make a successful return to the Marathon du Pays Basque next year. I'll need to get a lot more mountain running in but it is possible.

The facts and figures:
Ascent:   1h 21m 59s
Descent: 1h 8m
Total elevation gain: 985 metres
Café Time at the summit:  30 minutes. :)
Full info here.