A QMD that took in all of the Snowdon summits (the Snowdon range) has been on my mind for sometime. I’ve worked on various routes trying to find the optimum route without dumbing down the challenge. The two routes i came up with are presented here (on the Challenges Page: Scroll down to them). There is a Traverse and a Circular Route. Unfortunately other commitments mean I haven’t had time to do them yet myself. However, I decided to make them available on the site.
The RDs and Routes provided have not been ‘walked on the ground’; they have been developed from maps. At the time of writing there is to the best of my knowledge no record, as yet, of these challenges having been completed as QMDs. I welcome any feedback, tracks, comments, and so on. Both routes can be escalated in difficulty by taking the goat track from Bwlch y Moch and ascending Crib Goch via North Ridge.
Only listed summits of 610m+ have been included. Y Lliwedd has three listed summits (?). A sort of Three-in-One bonus.
There are two versions of the Snowdon Summits Challenge: The Circular and the Traverse. Both challenges take in all 12 summits of the Snowdon range and include some route finding, some grade one scrambling, and steep and rocky ground. These routes should not be underestimated. Both challenges are at least equal in difficulty to the Welsh 3000s (not traditional route), if not more so. This is based on: 1) the ratio of miles to meters of height gain including a set starting point (see below); 2) the amount of steep and rocky ground and Grade One Scrambling required, and; 3) the amount of route finding and decision making required and time off paths.
The Snowdon Summits challenge is far from remote (but then the only really remote section of the Welsh 3000s is from Carnedd Llewelyn and Yr Elen to Carnedd Gwenllian). There are escapes throughout the route. It should not, though, be underestimated.
Both routes have a series of listed waymarks, given as grid references, that must be ‘logged’ in order to complete the route. These include, but are not limited to, all the summits. Missing any of these listed waypoints is an automatic Did Not Finish (DNF). Both routes are designed to be completed in a single journey, and that is part of the challenge.
The Traverse can be started at either Moel Eilio or Yr Aran. How you reach the first summit is up to you. The Circular can be started from any point on the route. How you reach that point is up to you. The recommended venues to reach a start point, for both routes, are Behtania and Llanberis. Other options include Pen y Pass, the 610m route from Nant Peris, or Moel Eilio from either Plas Isaf, Ystrad Isaf, or Llanberis. However, these latter routes involve extra distance and climbing compared to the Bethania and Llanberis options.
There are limited water sources on both routes so careful planning is required to ensure adequate hydration.
Only limited use of electronic navigational aids is allowed but this is strongly discouraged except in an emergency or dangerous/risky situation. These restrictions are as follows:
- No mobile phone apps allowed with the exception of OS Locate (NOT OS Maps).
- Only the GPS ‘Locate’ (grid reference) and GoTo function to be used on a GPS device and/or the compass.
- Use of a Mobile Phone App or a GPS device to follow a Route or Track, PRoW, or any other path results in immediate DNF. Note that if a GPS device is used for to follow/find a path/route/location due to bad weather conditions and in order to reach safety and/or for rescue purposes this will be classed as Abandoned for Safety Reasons (ASR) rather than a DNF.
- Use of a Mobile App other than OS Locate results in an immediate DNF (this is for safety reasons).
The Traverse is around 15.2 miles with 2673 metres of height gain (1:189) (starting at Bethania). The route finding sections are: 1) From Gallt y Wenallt to Craig y Deryn and on to Bwlch y Moch, and ; 2) from Llechog cross the big cwm to Bwlch Cwm Brwynog.
The Circular is around 21 miles with 3238 metres of height gain (1:155) (starting at Bethania). The route finding section is from either of the Afon Hwch crossings to Moel Eilio. There is some nominal route finding from the Mine Path up to Gallt yr Wenallt but there is a faint FP here (easy to miss), and similarly from Yr Aran down the ridge line (handrailing the wall) to Clogwyn Brith and down on to the Watkins path.
The Welsh 300s is around 24.4 miles with 3670 metres of height gain (1:150) (starting at Pen y Pass; not including the finishing leg from Foel Fras). There is no route finding required on the Welsh 3000s.
List of Summits with height in Metres (in ascending order of height)
- Gallt y Wenallt 619
- Foel Gron 629
- Moel Cynghorion 674
- Llechog 720
- Moel Eilio 726
- Yr Aran 747
- Lliwedd Bach 818
- Y Lliwedd East Top 893
- Y Lliwedd 898
- Crib Goch 923
- Crib y Ddysgl 1065
- Snowdon – Yr Wyddfa 1085