Friday five favourite: things I learnt from climbing Snowdon

1 06 2018

Last weekend I climbed Snowdon with some friends. I found it very difficult, and we definitely have lessons learnt from it – thought I’d share some in case anyone else is considering doing it. (For reference, we took the Llanberis Path up and down, it’s a 9 mile round trip, we took 3.5 hours going up and about 2 hours going down).

  1. It’s not all as steep as the first bit.
  2. At the very beginning, before you reach the sign for the start of the track, there’s a fairly sharp incline on a tarmac track for about 800m. At the end of this section I had a bit of a meltdown, I was completely out of breath and was so worried that the whole climb was going to be that steep, and I seriously considered going to find a cafe to sit in so that I didn’t hold the rest of the group up. The important thing to know is that it’s not all that steep. Yes there are steep sections, but it’s not all like that, there are many sections that are gentle verging on flat, which are very pleasant indeed. It’s going to be ok!

  3. Have easy things to eat.
  4. When your heart is racing and you’re panting, eating isn’t the most appealing thing for us all. I had cereal bars but until the way down when I was breathing more regularly I really didn’t fancy them. My friend bought me some lucozade energy tablets at the halfway house on the way up because I could just suck on them while I walked to keep my energy up.

  5. Go with people who have shorter legs than you.
  6. According to Wikipedia the average height for a UK woman is 5’3.5″, and I’m 5’4″, so I like to claim I’m tall, but in reality I’m aware I have fairly little legs, and the people I was walking with were all a fair bit taller than me. This meant that their natural pace was faster than mine, and I found it hard to keep up this meant I got tired quicker, and when they were catching their breath waiting for me to catch up, I wasn’t getting that rest time. In the end one of the girls went on ahead, which at least meant I wasn’t feeling bad about holding her up, but it was definitely a struggle being that bit smaller.

  7. Cut your toenails.
  8. Not one I’d ever have thought of. On the way down you naturally curl your toes a bit for grip, and a lot of weight and pressure goes onto them. This means that if your toenails are even slightly long, (and mine weren’t particularly long at all!) you’re going to feel it. Fortunately, on the way down breathing and heart rate were no longer a problem, so I was able to take the pain in my toes, but it was irritating, and as soon as we got back to the B&B I trimmed the nails and the pain stopped immediately!

  9. It’s a mental challenge as much as a physical one.
  10. I spent the majority of the climb telling myself I couldn’t do it, and near the end I just kept wondering how much farther there was to go because I didn’t think I had the strength to go on (that was meltdown number 2!). The people I climbed with were much more optimistic, they just focused on putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying the views, and they coped much better. It was a proper internal struggle to keep going at times, proper mind over matter stuff.

An awful photo, but here we are at the top – couldn’t see the thing as we were in the middle of a cloud!

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