Snowdon in Winter: The South Ridge

Snowdon in Winter: The South Ridge

“Racing Storm Jorge”

The last weekend of February brought promising signs of snow and ice accompanied by the threat of gale force winds delivered by Storm Jorge.  The winter so far had been a bit of a disappointment; not enough snow, high winds and clashing schedules.  The forecast for the morning on Saturday and Sunday looked great but with winds coming in the afternoon.

I tried to round up a climbing partner but failed to succeed in the short time available so I decided I would go solo and do some easy winter ridges.  On the Sunday I set out to climb Snowdon via the South Ridge from the Rhyd Ddu.

After a varied nights sleep in the van I woke early and travelled to the start of the route by the Rhyd Ddu train station.  From here you follow the aptly named, Rhyd Ddu path.  The path splits and the left-hand side follows the true Rhyd Ddu path, but I opted to stay in lower until reaching Bwlch Cwm Llan.  From here you can get straight onto the South Ridge and follow it to very near Snowdon summit.

A small waterfall on the approach to the South Ridge

As soon as I started to ascend the ridge, I was exposed to the high gusts.  The ridge is broad but narrows as you reach Blwch Main where it follows a thin path.  It is not as narrow or sever as the ridge from Crib Goch but a fall could be fatal.

As I ascended the ridge, I entered the cloud and snow line.  There had been little snow overnight, but the wind had blown off any loose snow leaving a solidly frozen ground.  I quickly put my crampons on and took my walking axe from my rucksack.  The cloud impaired visibility but the ridge is so clearly defined that it is very difficult to go off course.

Glimpses of the ridge as the cloud cleared

I followed the ridge until the ground opened as I neared the summit.

Frozen side of the Visitors Centre

I reached the top of Snowdon summit and there was totally alone.  For those who have climbed summit, especially in the summer months, you will know that this is a very rare opportunity. One that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Approaching a very Lord of the Rings-esk frozen pillar  
An empty summit pillar  
  • For this trip I had:
  • Lowe Alpine Airzone Pro 35:45 Rucksack (A really awesome bag, really comfy and the Airzone back keeps your back cool and sweat free)
  • La Sportiva Nepal Extreme Boots (A bit of an overkill from this hike but my other boots weren’t suitable)
  • Petzl Summit Evo Ice Axe
  • Grivel G10 Crampons
  • Essentials including spare clothes, map, compass and food.
  • Never forget the essentials
My Equipment
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