The 'real' Snowdon horseshoe

Submitted by Timwoods on 13 October 2008
OS Explorer Map: OL17 - Snowdon
 
(5 votes)
A circular, half-day mountain (above 600m) walk in national park Snowdonia (Wales) starting at Pen y Pass, Gwynedd, about 11km (roughly 7 miles) long and unsuitable for families with children, prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs.
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There are many routes up and down Snowdon, each with their plusses and minuses. Many people opt for the classic ridge of Crib Goch as their preferred ascent, before racing down the Pyg Track or the Miners' Track back to Pen y Pass. While the way up can't be beaten - it's the UK's finest ridge outside Scotland - a better day out descends by the little used Lliwedd path, which keeps you up high to admire the views for as long as possible.
Start: Pen y Pass, OS Grid: SH647556
Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 1071m (3515ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 2129m (6986ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 1058m (3471ft)
Max. Elevation: 1040m (3412ft)

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Waypoints
OS Grid: SH647556
Pen y Pass is a regular stop on the Snowdon Sherpa bus. If you can see a route through the crowds of cars, rucksacks and bodies, make your way to the path signposted to Crib Goch (it heads to the right of the rocky outcrop just by the car park).
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 1 OS Grid: SH633553
Last chance to back out...no? OK then, if the weather's fine and you're feeling fit, take the right-hand path that climbs steeply towards Crib Goch.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 2 OS Grid: SH626553
For many people, the highlight of Snowdonia - a knife edge ridge scramble with sheer drops each side. There's nothing too tricky about the scramble in dry conditions, but don't underestimate it - go with someone experienced if you have not been scrambling before.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 3 OS Grid: SH611552
Get your breath back on the slightly less imposing ridge up to Garnedd Ugain.
OS Grid: SH608548
Probably the busiest point in Britain's mountains, where four of the main routes up Snowdon converge. Anyone can find their way to the summit from here - just follow the crowds!
OS Grid: SH610544
The summit of Snowdon divides opinion - many revel in the satisfaction of climbing Wales' highest mountain, others detest the crowds and the cafe and can't get away quick enough.
OS Grid: SH611542
From the summit, it's not advisable to head straight on to the Lliwedd ridge - climbing down these rocks is notoriously tricky. A safer option is to drop down the southwestern ridge before soon joining the Watkin Path towards Bwlch Saethau.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 7 OS Grid: SH619537
At this point, the Watkin Path drops into the valley. Instead, stay on the crest of the ridge. The path soon arrives at the West Peak of Y Lliwedd.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 8 OS Grid: SH624532
Carry on over the summit and enjoy the space compared to the circus on Snowdon itself.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 9 OS Grid: SH630535
The path drops down to Llyn Llydaw at the end of the cliff on Lliwedd's northeastern ridge. Carry on until the path meets the Miners' Track.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 10 OS Grid: SH634545
Back amidst the hordes, but you can be smug in the knowledge you have enjoyed the finest horseshoe on Snowdon.
About 2 km (roughly 1 miles) from 11 OS Grid: SH646554
Stay on the Miners' Motorway back to Pen y Pass, where your bus home awaits.
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