Magical light, wild goats and majestic ridges: A walk on Wales' highest mountain in Snowdonia National Park can be wildly romantic. For treacherous adventure of Snowdon, however, when the weather tends to gross moodiness.
Mike invites from his backpack. "Everything as it agreed?" Everything included: waterproof hiking boots, waterproof pants, thermal long underwear, hat and gloves. In "Joe Brown" bought-outdoor shop for 221 pounds including VAT. Mike: "And the waterproof jacket?" Again would have cost £ 170. It does not do the waterproof windbreaker with fleece lining? A skeptical look, "Okay, as long as the legs warm, you will not freeze to death."
The third day after arrival in Llanberis. The job: ascent of Snowdon. The knowledge thus far: Nordwalisisches weather tends himself in June to gross moodiness. Rain, fog, high winds. So it was on Tuesday. So it was on Wednesday. In connection with mountaineering is not good news. The weather forecast for today, Thursday temporarily rain thunderous eruptions likely, wind from the south at 25 to 35 miles per hour, clouds, starting from 300 to 600 meters; chance on a cloudless summit 20 percent. "Fantastic," said Mike, "maybe we'll get to see something." The first drops of rain. "Set off in the wet, arrive in the dry," they say on Snowdon. Start walking in the rain, arriving in the sunshine.
The Snowdon. 1085 meters. Came into being about 500 million years ago. Basalt, Hyalite, volcanic rock piled once so vast as the Himalayas. Wind and perpetual rain reduced their height. The glaciers of the ice age left valleys, lakes, waterfalls, forming a pyramid, run on their bare top five ridges like buttresses. Rugged raw, majestic. Temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius in summer and minus 20 degrees in winter. Lots of snow. Snaw dun named him the British welfare in the 12th Century. Snow Hill. Hence its name. Winds up to 240 miles an hour all year round. The English writer George Borrow wrote 1854: "Nature in its greatest and most beautiful form."
Land of the Dragons, water monsters and fairies
Tuesday, shortly after noon. In the tourist office is a friendly elderly man. "Oh, on the Snowdon you want?" Says Gwilym Parry. He looks through the window to the outside. It's raining. Parry: "Oh, what a pity this will now probably nothing more." What about tomorrow? Parry shrugs. But then at least on Thursday? Parry looks at the clock. He says he has the same working day: "Oh, come on, we make a round trip in my car."
Parry goes and tells. Of the six major routes that lead to Snowdon, and the Snowdon Horseshoe, a loop trail with fantastic views. Told their names and why they are so called as they are called. Of legends, myths and legends that accompany the Snowdon today. Only after Pen-y-Pass, then to the Pen-y-Gwryd hotel where Edmund Hillary was staying while on Snowdon for the ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 trained. Encounter with a fascinating landscape. Green meadows in narrow valleys, green slopes, the overflows go into sheer rock faces, the fog like porridge. The view to Snowdon a symphony in gray. The summit did not even imagine.
Yr Wyddfa call him the Welsh. Grave. According to the legend below the summit to the giant Rhita Gawr be buried, who wove his robe from the beards of slain kings. Felled him to King Arthur. And of course on and around the Yr Wyddfa play numerous stories of the hero and his Knights of the Round Table. It must, if you believe the stories, have swarmed on Snowdon straight tined before kings, princes, druids, bards. The legendary battle between the white and red dragon of Wales is said to have taken place, to his dramatic slopes. A Afanc, a water monster, he is expected to accommodate up today and various Tylwyth Teg, fairies.
Eryri, land of eagles call, the Welsh Snowdonia, the land over which the Snowdon towers. Eryri: a word like rock rubble and thunderstorms rumble. Eryri was the Welsh from the Romans to the Normans to the English last refuge against foreign rule and oppression. Eryri reigned in their last king, here Llewelyn led his men in the final, futile battle for independence. It is their heartland. Where her heart was beating kymrisches longest, most enduring their language survived. And the highest peak in its center that survived fire, water and ice, was for the Welsh mountain of mountains, a symbol of the struggle for survival of a nation.
One of the most spectacular train journeys in the world
Annually 420,000 people climb them Snowdon, 150 000 with the Snowdon Mountain Railway, the only rack railway in Britain. They come, as Gwilym Parry believes, "because of the unspoiled beauty of the mountain." Because of the magic of the light that has attracted artists for centuries, such as William Turner and poets such as William Wordsworth, who was on Snowdon "grandeur and desolation". Perhaps because of the wild goat or the Snowdon lily, Lloydia serotina, which also grows in the Alps and North America. Most, however, come for the view. George Borrow looked from the top to "unspeakably magnificent landscape, a significant part of the Welsh inland across Anglesey, a faint part of Cumberland, the Irish Sea". From Snowdon can be seen to Ireland and the Isle of Man In theory, anyway.
Wednesday, ten clock. It's raining. Mist over the trees like milk. Think of not walking. Then, at least until high times by train. On Easter Monday, 1896, the first steam locomotive ran the Snowdon Mountain Railway. 7.6 km. An hour's drive. "One of the most spectacular train journeys in the world," said "The Good Britain Guide." Three of the original four locomotives rattle today towards the summit, and several diesel-and electric-powered recent. Slide the cars, which are not coupled. The cars brake automatically on the descent, if they exceed a speed of 7.5 miles per hour. If the locomotive was derailed. All this tells the nice lady at the ticket counter, above the neon sign in vorüberhuscht the message: "Hish winds on the mountain." Hish? No translation to the dictionary, one suspects nothing good.
Groaning and pounding the train starts moving. About two viaducts, through an oak forest, past a waterfall. After that nothing grows except gorse, bracken and yellow-red grass. Sheep behind fences. Stones that look like sheep. Until the fog swallowed the train completely. From the speaker know the passengers what they can not recognize the windows. Stories of settlers and their homes, a chapel and the remains of the house in which the Bishop of Gloucester meditated 400 years ago. "Right below you can see Cwm Brwynog." The valley of the reeds. Right is a white nothingness. Moel Hebog, the hill of the hawk? Moel Cynghorion, the mountain of consultants where Llewelyn said to have designed his plan? Nothing but white nothing, while wind gusts schütteln.So the wagon goes to the mountain station, descriptions and stories, the images to hidden by misty vapor.
A boulder with magical powers
The plateau of Glyder Fach, where stones are as large as at Stonehenge. In the west the eIFL-solid, behind the sea. The rock wall of Clogwyn Du'r Arddu, steep and powerful. How? Where? Really? What you see: boulders as big as cars beside the tracks. Little later, three man-sized schemes. Two hikers seeking protection behind a rock. Is probably right that the speaker announced: that ur below the Clogwyn D'Arddu is a lump of rock is said to have magical powers. When two people stay there, it is said, one is a great poet, the other crazy. At the summit it rains horizontally. The hill station, a 2009 uninitiated colossus in granite and slate, which sounds like a lost spaceship, is supported by a steel frame. "So," jokes a passenger, "at least they can not be blown away."
Up to five meters of precipitation per year are registered on Snowdon. The weather can change in minutes. Four seasons in one hour. Thomas Pennant, a Welsh scholar, held in 1781 in "Journey to Snowdon" states: "An immense haze (...) was horrible the look down, he gave one the idea of several dens, obscured by thick smoke." Neapolitan, who came in 1828, celebrated his ascent with champagne from a cow horn, noted, however, about the rise: "It was getting blacker and blacker (...) a coarse rain poured down on us." Cute the passage from Peter Sager's Guide published in 1985. Teller in the old top station, the Prince Charles called if their dilapidated state "the highest slum in Wales": "The waiter raved about the view in good weather I was glad to see my teacup.".
Thursday. The climb, finally walking on Snowdon. Mike Laing is a registered mountain guide. He grew up in the area, his first encounters with the mountain he made as a child, the school trips often lead to Snowdon. He now knows where every stone. Mike has chosen to climb the Llwybr Pyg, the Pyg Track, is sometimes called the Pig Track. Because he leads the Bwlchy-Moch, pass the pigs? Because one on him "pyg", ie tar, transported to copper mines? Or because of the Pen-y-Gwryd hotels, called among connoisseurs Pyg hotel? Everyone says something different. Just this: The Pyg Track is considered one of the most challenging climbs. 5.5 km to the summit, 723 meters, average walking time three hours.
Demanding trail: 183 emergencies a year
This time the bus to Pen-y-Pass. There is a legendary hostel of rough granite. There begins the Pyg Track. Mike talks with the authorities responsible for mountain safety ranger who tells of 183 emergencies a year earlier: "The Snowdon is a standard British tourists as the amusement park Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Alton Towers Unfortunately, people switch between by not their clothes..." Mike quoted a saying: "Yonder lies the Snowdon is easy to say but not so easy to climb it.". The rain has already increased. "At least two and half hours we are up," says Mike, "two hours, if we are good." In Mike's backpack: First aid kit and emergency tent.
He is a wiry man, thin face and gray hair. 26 years he was in the military. Kuwait. Sierra Leone. Uzbekistan. Bosnia. Mike go. Brisk pace. One last view of the valley. The houses of Llanberis. Two silvery lakes. The path is difficult after a few hundred meters. The rain continues to increase. Mike says: "Normal situation." Naturally mist. The road is still rocky and steep. After half an hour below appeared on the Llyn Llydaw. Here is Sir Bedivere have sunk to Arthur's sword Excalibur whose behest. Mike suggests an edge, crawling over the fog. Bwlch-y-Saethau, the Valley of the arrows. There should be Arthur mortally wounded in battle against Mordred, the evil one. Mike smokes a cigarette. Left Hand Crib Goch, a favorite with extreme climbers crest. After an hour, it starts to pour on. "Ah," says Mike, "fantastic, is not it?"
Mike marches. Mike says. Of Owen Glendower and his partisans, who defied Henry IV and his soldiers, who fled before the enemy from Eryri less than from cold, rain and hunger. About the Glaslyn, the blue lake, is the way to scree. Each step of balancing one. After a half hour it starts to pour. From paths are streams. From streams to waterfalls. It thunders. Mike: "Was the storm?" Meandering across the Llwybr-y-Mul, the mule track to Bwlch glass, the blue passport only to create yet with hands and feet. The shoes already full of water running. The windbreaker soggy.
Magical light on Snowdon
At Bwlch glass meets the Pyg track on the tracks of the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Two hours are up, it thunders again. "Fantastic," said Mike, "for fifteen minutes. If we're lucky, make the clouds and we have a nice view." The temperature is five degrees, felt the wind around the freezing point. Then finally at the summit. Mike pulls his spare waterproof jacket from backpack: "Here, take this, is better so." View of the question.
The descent is relatively comfortable. Mike says: "Ah, we have the wind at your back - fantastic." Shortly thereafter, he chats with some workers to shovel the rocks and soil from the tracks of the railway. So much rain, the workers say, and shake his head. The mountain erodiere more. Too much trampling. To climate change. Today fall only half as much snow as 20 years ago. Less snow means more rain. Speaking of snow: Winter hikers often go the route of the cable car. However, being next to the tracks hundreds of meters would steeply into the deep, were a few years ago in a few weeks several people fell to their death.
"You get to slide," said Mike, "and can not contain himself." Encounters on the way down: a man in Mickey Mouse costume, a young couple with flip flops on his feet, a man in T- shirt and a baby (without cap) on the back. Mike shakes his head. And a half hours around nothing but white nothing. Then the rain stops. The meadows are. Magical light. Mike: "Oh, the rain has stopped - fantastic."
Below Mike donated a cup of tea and a cigarette. As he took the tour? "Flood-like comes around here maybe once a year." Thunderstorm at Snowdon? "Yet never had." He pauses, looks into the fog over the trees, "What a special day I've actually enjoyed it.".
Information Snowdon climb
For the ascent to 1085 meters high Snowdon it takes on the six main routes at least 3 hours. They are 5.5 to 7.5 kilometers long. BUT: The ascent is no migration, even though the low height of the mountain suggests the. The terrain is challenging, often rocky and often interspersed with steep sections. The weather is unpredictable and can affect the tour violently; rain must always be expected, in the summer with heat, with snow in winter storms. So immediately call your weather reports! Good shoes and clothing suitable for mountain (plus spare clothing) are mandatory, just as a map, compass, first aid package, catering.
Information on mountain safety
Llanberis: The small town is the most popular starting point. Here starts the Snowdon Mountain Railway, the station starts behind the Llanberis Path, the busiest walk to the summit.
Tourist Information Center
Electric Mountain Llanberis
Tel 0128 6870765
Snowdon Mountain Railway: Trains leave from the station in Llanberis at 30-minute intervals from 9-17 clock, the trip takes about one hour. At the cash only for round-trip tickets are available. Single-fare tickets booked in advance and only to a limited extent. In high season better to order tickets in advance online!
Snowdon Mountain Railway Llanberis
Tel 0844 4938120
Way to Snowdon:
Llanberis Path: Beginning in Llanberis (see above). He is considered the easiest way, but it is the longest. Follows the tracks for long stretches of Snowdon Mountain Railway.
Miners' Track: The starting point see Pyg Track. Starts flat, leads over the Llyn Llydaw, in the last section is very steep.
Pyg Track: Starts opposite the hostel in Pen-y-Pass. Challenging climb, especially in the last third.
Rhyd Ddu Path: Starts at the parking lot south of the village of Rhyd Ddu. Fewest since the beginning rather unattractive landscape, panorama better just before the summit.
Snowdon Ranger Path: Starts at the parking lot opposite the Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel, A 4086th Ascent is the oldest, at the same time as one of the lightest, leads to his last piece in the Llanberis Path.
Watkin Path: Starts at Pont Bethania parking near Nant Gwynant at the 498th A Supposedly the hardest of the six main routes (because biggest difference in altitude between the start and peak). The most beautiful landscape.
Snowdon Horseshoe: the starting point of Pyg and Miners' Track. 11.5 km, 6-9 hours (round trip). Initially follows the Pyg track, leads to about half way then to the sometimes very narrow ridge of Crib Goch and then to the summit. Descent over the summit of Y Lliwedd (898 m), from there back to Pen-y-Pass. Dramatic panorama, but only for the experienced, well-equipped climbers.