Snowdon & Garnedd Ugain from Pen-y-pass via Miners' Track
Snowdon  Garnedd Ugain


Estimated net time 4-5 hours
Difficulty No difficulties.
Drinking water Access to drinking water from several small streams across and along the route.
GSM coverage Coverage only along summit ridge (December 2009).
Parking Room for many cars at car park by Pen-y-pass (per 2009: 3 for up to 4 hours; 6 for full day).
Start height 359 metres
Vertical metres 835 metres for the roundtrip.
Trip distance 14.6 km
GPS-file X


Route photo   Trail head for Snowdon, at Pen-y-pass.
  The path up from lake Glaslyn.
  Start of the path by lake Glaslyn.


From the bus station in Llanberis drive road A4086 9.0 km south-east to Pen-y-pass. At the highest point you will see a large car park on your right hand side. Park here.

Start walking by following the mountain road from the far corner of the car park. Follow this road past the lake Llyn Teyrn (approximately 1.5 km from trail head), passing the lake on its right (north) side. Continue to lake Llyn Llydaw, and cross this lake on the road that crosses it. After the lake turn left (south-west), and walk along its north-west shores. From here you climb approximately 150 metres to lake Glaslyn. Walk along the right (east) shores of Glaslyn until you get to the northern most point of the lake, at the bottom of a small inlet. Here you will see the remains of an old stone building and the start of a path that goes uphill. Follow this path as it zigzags all the way up to the saddle Bwich Glas. This is the western most point on the Snowdon horse-shoe. From the saddle turn left and continue up to the summit of Snowdon, walking on the left hand side of the railway that runs to the summit. The summit is marked by a big cairn.

From the summit of Snowdon return to the saddle, and then head up to the summit of Garnedd Ugain. This summit is marked by a concrete cairn. From Garnedd Ugain descend back down to the saddle, and then follow the ascent route back to Pen-y-pass.



04. December 2009

I had been working in Derby all week and decided to take Friday off instead of travelling home on Thursday night. After work on Thursday I drove to Llanberis, and checked in at the Padarn Lake Hotel, and agreed with the owner to have breakfast at 8am.

After breakfast this Friday morning I changed into hiking gear and drove south towards Pen-y-pass. After some discussions with myself at the car park I ended up using my Inov-8 Mudclaw shoes instead of hiking boots. My argument was that I would be walking along a very good and dry mountain road for most parts of my hike, and I assumed that the amount of snow higher up would be close to minimal. In hindsight I'm not sure if I did the right thing, since the amounts of snow was definitely more than minimal, but the snow was firm and dry so I managed to keep my feet above the snow instead of inside it. But before I got up to the snow I was close to turn around; after approximately 20 minutes of hiking I met another hiker coming down, who said it was impossible to get up to the saddle without having crampons. After some more internal discussions I decided to continue, hoping I would find ice-free sections outside the main route. As it turned out the conditions were more like hard snow than ice, and I managed to get to the summit without much problems. I did however play a little safe, bringing two sharp stones, one for each hand, in case I would slide on the hard surface. Luckily I never had any use of this safety precaution.

A little before I got to the saddle at 993 metres I entered into thick fog, but bearing in mind how the year 2009 has been for me with respect to fog I didn't do much more than just registering that I was "in the fog again". Also, the wind was relatively strong, but nothing that made it difficult in any way. After having visited the summit I headed back down to the saddle, since there wasn't much view to enjoy from the summit. Below me I could see a single hiker coming up, as well as noting that the three hikers I had overtaken earlier on my hike were on their way down without having made it to the summit. Down at the saddle I suddenly decided to include Garnedd Ugain on my hike, and this "de-tour" only added around 20 minutes to the hike. At the summit of Garnedd Ugain I had a few seconds of view towards north, but apart from that there was no reason to hang around for long.

Back at the saddle, again, I started the descent down towards the nice lakes, and again I wondered why it should be impossible to do this stretch without having crampons. At least I didn't have any problems. But I did have some problems with my navigation and ended up doing a small de-tour thanks to lack of concentration. But nothing major, and no problems.

Back at the car I drove back to the hotel for a shower, before I headed into the village for some food. My intention next was to go for an afternoon hike, but by now the fog had crept down to 500 metres, so I completely lost motivation for another hike. Instead I got myself a Guinness in the bar and started the trip report ...

Photos 04.12.2009