Climbing Yr Wyddfa and Y Lliwedd

Kelsey Breseman
5 min readMay 16

A couple of years ago, I stepped outside of my front door, slipped on a rock, and ended up in the emergency room with a sprained ankle and several stitches on the other foot: bilateral injury in an instant. For some reason, this and other such incidents have not impacted my confidence in my agility at all.

Yr Wyddfa, or Mount Snowdon, can be summited by several routes. Though all have a lot of elevation gain, only one is described as a "knife edge" route. I like heights. I'm attracted to them. Crib Goch is described variously as "stunning," "absolutely terrifying," and by the experienced, as "possibly the most thrilling scramble in the whole of the UK."

I want to do it. I could do it. But after watching some videos (you should look it up), I decide I'd better not attempt the route solo — and Eileen, it's fair to say, is not attracted to heights. I don't want to become somebody else's problem. So though last night we talked about splitting up where Crib Goch forks off, we'll both take the more pedestrian Pyg Track to the top.

Despite a weather forecast that claimed rain all week, the morning dawns clear and lovely. We bring our full raingear just in case, but also pat sunscreen onto our cheeks. This is a nice benefit of a hostel so close to the summit path: instead of trusting a forecast, we can just look out the window.

The path climbs fairly gently, and there are no bad views. In the guides, we've heard many times that there are crowds clogging the whole trail, but it's not so bad; it's easy to pass, and everyone is congenial. I'm having fun; I run a little, just because it feels good. Just above, a seagull rides a thermal from our stone path, skating sideways in the wind.

Snowdonia has a casual, confident beauty: it surrounds, striking and self evident in every direction. The sky grows clearer as we walk, cloudbreaks playing sunlight over the miles of open hillsides.

Near at hand, there is fluttering and chirping, petals opening in cracks. It makes me want to learn the names of birds and rocks and plants so I can tell you. But though I don't know, I think these columns on the cliff are basalt with hexagonal pillars. The slipping scree above might be slate. The little brown bird that cheeps insistently as it passes us might be a thrush.

This mountain is a pilgrimage most visitors to the area undertake, whether or not they would typically choose to climb a mountain. It is considered…