I did it! I made it to the top of Mount Snowdon and all the way back down again, without incident. In fact, I’d go as far to say (certainly on reflection) that I enjoyed it immensely.
I had a number of worries before setting out, namely the fact that I was wearing a brand new pair of walking boots, the fact the weather was a bit wet despite @StevenTuck repeating “this is the last of the rain”, and of course the impending confrontation I was about to have with my vertigo.
Now, some of you out there might have climbed mountains before. You might have even climbed Mount Snowdon on one of the more difficult routes. We were on the easiest, albeit longest of those available, but since I’ve never climbed a mountain before it was still a daunting prospect. And anyway, I’m a believer in ‘distance traveled’ from your individual starting point, not comparing yourself to more experienced others who may consider it easy! As a result, I am immensely proud of myself.
The weather gave me a bit of a trade off against my vertigo on the way up, in as much as the visibility was pretty poor. Therefore, those parts of the journey where the path was narrower and cliffs steeper did not carry the same impact as they would had I been able to see far reaching views.
And anyway, the further we went up the less I was inclined to even try and look anywhere other than my feet, where I was concentrating on getting one in front of the other. Some of the steep sections were a killer, especially after we had gone through the tunnel that passes under the railway bridge. It was after this tunnel also, that the narrow path cut away on the left to what I could only assume was a shear drop. Since it was completely engulfed in fog below the ridge, I could only guess.
Good friend that he his, @StevenTuck proved you could only fall off by jumping, and so demonstrated this with a couple of mock dives of how he would need to do this. What a complete… 🙂
However, it was due to Steve and with super special thanks to Jude and Judy (two experienced members of the 38 of us), that I made it to the top. It was nothing more than conversation and company, just a few words of encouragement here and there, but enough to keep me distracted from getting inside my own head. Really appreciated.
Reaching the top was an amazing feeling, generating feelings of relief and excitement and achievement and pride. It also brought with it the most disconcerting part of the journey. To stand on that small peak, a tiny plateau, and to sheepishly look around 360 degrees where all you can see is fog, as if there is nothing else out there, below the edge, other than a long long way down on each side. It was quite horrible! One fellow climber tried telling me you “couldn’t fall off there” – but when you see a bird fly by at a lower height than you’re standing at, you sort of don’t believe them!
That wasn’t the end of it though, not the worst bit. Nor was standing on that plateau the best bit. Both of those things were to come when I traversed the 10 steps that would take me to the very summit – artificial as it was – to be at that very moment, if only for a few seconds of spine-tingling terror, higher than any human being in the whole of England and Wales!
I was given a little assistance to get back down off those said steps, an indication of just how frightened I was…only for that bloody @steventuck to appear there a few minutes later, shouting for me to come back up because he wanted a photo (this will be my evidence when he sends it to me). I obliged, naturally, fearfully (you’ll see this on the photo), but went both up and down those steps of my own volition and without any assistance. I’d say that’s progress!
The decent in someways was as hard on the legs as the ascent. Especially the steeper bits. I was rewarded on the way down with some clearing of the fog, which allowed me to grab some photos (not great ones to be fair). To some degree also it offered me a chance to face some of that vertigo, or irrational fear, or whatever it is, and take a look at the houses so, so far below. I didn’t over do it, it still didn’t feel right, but I gave it a go (*shudders* while writing, seriously!). This clearing of fog also gave me a chance to look back up the trail, and realise just how steep and how far it was I had walked. Quite startling!
The rest of it was a breeze. We had a brief rest near the bottom, went off to Pete’s Eats in the town, before heading off home. It was a wonderful experience.
- Snowdon in the Snow meets Spencer’s Vertigo! (spencerwilson.wordpress.com)
- Prince William saved my life says hill walker who collapsed on Mount Snowdon (dailymail.co.uk)
- Welsh Magic (sfgate.com)