A couple of weeks ago I visited Snowdon, in North Wales, having visited for the first time last year. Now, from the two visits, I have a little collection of photos from the area, so I thought I'd share them together.
2017 - The Pyg Track
There are several routes up Snowdon. Last year, we hiked up the Pyg Track, which is the shortest, most direct route to the summit. We left the Pen-Y-Pass youth hostel around an hour before sunrise, in order to catch the best light from halfway up.
This is a 2-shot panorama image, captured just as the sun was between the horizon and the low cloud.
As the light transitioned, I caught another view of this same cliff face which interested me...
While we photographed the sunrise, the Snowdon summit was still in cloud. So we timed our ascent with the rising of the mist. As we neared the end, the cloud cleared, and we had a perfect view of the top...
2018 - Crib Goch
This year we wanted to try a different route. We liked the look of Crib Goch, and we had decent weather for it, so we decided to give it a go. Crib Goch is a narrow ridge which over-looks the Pyg Track. It's the steepest initial ascent, meaning that it would take us to a higher altitude faster than the other routes. It's also a more dramatic landscape, and provides views of both the Snowdon Horseshoe to the West, and views to the South and East too. So bang-for-buck, it provides significantly better views and more photo opportunities than the Pyg Track.
However - and this is a notable 'however', Crib Goch is also significantly harder than the other routes up Snowdon. It requires a great deal of scrambling as well as, at times, some climbing (up and over 2-3 meter rock faces). These climbs are intersected with careful negotiation of very narrow , steep-sided ridges, and all at a reasonable altitude. On top of that, the route is frequently unclear/unmarked, making navigation challenging at times too. That said, Crib Goch was a very enjoyable route up, and I'd recommend it. But please only attempt it if you are sure that everyone in your group has the experience and capability to manage it safely - and enjoy it.
This first photo shows the Crib Goch ridgeline we'd trekked across (on the left), and the white Pen-Y-Pass youth hostel (in the centre) where the route starts...
As you can see from the image above, there wasn't much of a sunrise this time, as the cloud didn't lift until nearly lunchtime. But that low cloud, constantly moving, and rare moments of sunlight can combine to make some dramatic scenes.
One perennial favourite of mountain photographers is looking for layers in distant ridges. Sunrise and sunset generally provide the best opportunities to appreciate these views, and despite the lack of sunlight, the low cloud and hints of light combined well for this shot. Here I decided to embrace the slate-grey hues that typify rugged North Wales, in my mind.
And now we're getting to the nitty-gritty. These last two photos show the rocky ridgeline of Crib Goch, and the scrambling route over the top. They're both framed by dark, brooding clouds.
I really enjoyed Crib Goch, and the Snowdon Horseshoe in general. There are so many good viewpoints, and the reliably unreliable weather, brings with it endless photographic opportunities. I can't wait to go back again.
This last photo is my favourite from a cold and misty start to the day, on the Crib Goch ridge...