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Sunday, 10 January 2016

Mount Snowdon Run - New Years Eve 2015

Mild it might be, but my experiences in mountain craft have taught me that even when the weather is good, it can turn quickly and a lack of preparation could be a life or death experience in the event of an accident or sudden weather change. Today we were well prepared. George and I had decided to fastpack to the top, run with minimum but enough gear for the cold, a compass, map and of course our phones.

Our drive to the Pen-y-Pass car park was rewarded with a pre-dawn parking space. It was new year's even but we didn't want to have to run an extra few kms from the next car park. The car park was pretty full, but I think many had opted to sleep in cars until dawn. 

We set off by head torch light and although the car suggested 6 degrees, it was considerably colder in feel owing to wind chill. The first km was a wake up call but we settled into a rhythm, up the Pyg track and upwards and upwards and upwards. Overtaking only about 8 people the whole journey was a godsend. The rock was all but deserted. It was ours to run on, so we did.

As we turned the corner, we could see the snowline, at about 2400ft. Great to see, but we know it would be tough going, especially with the perishing downdraughts bringing icy cold air from the summit of Crib Goch.

We had a stop for a pic and to get our anoraks on but with 3 thin layers and an anorak, it was cold if we kept still for more than 10 seconds. Despite the now deepening snow and the howling wind, we were still running as much as we could, traversing the waterfalls slowly, then picking up the pace again quickly. 

Up over the ridge at the top and now with 4 inches of snow, I was questioning whether we were indeed insane. Clearly in shorts, I was. From the top of the ridge we knew there was about 400 ish feet to go, which was a relief, although almost impossible to run in a straight line owing to the 50+ mph gales blowing us about all over the place. Only ONE pair of shoe marks in the snow! Wow.

We made it. 3560ft and the highest mountain in Wales and England. Just time to hang around for a quick few poses.

and some bravado in shorts. It, according to the mountain rescue summit weather was -10 at the top. 

That was it, a quick chat to Jeff, another runner who had done the Llanberis path. No one else in sight. It was now bloody freezing so we ran back down......actually much harder than I thought in 4 inches of snow.....but run we did, all the way back to the car park. Above the snow line, we crossed paths with just a few other walkers and that was it.......through the ice rain and spindrift coming off the summits......then as we turned the corner for the last 15-20 mins, tens, even perhaps a hundred walkers heading upwards. Such a relief to have gone early. Most braced for the now heavy rain but a few total idiots, not even in waterproof gear or jeans!

So we hit the car park and the car, there and back moving time of 109 minutes. Awesome. Steaming stripped naked bodies in the car park to cool off in the pouring rain......10 mins later, in the car and home!

Snowdon NYE summit run. Done!
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