In my opinion the approaches to Snowdon from the south are the best way to climb the most popular mountain in Britain. Whether this is the South ridge, the Watkin Path or even the longer approaches from Beddgelert the climb is beautiful…and quiet.
The climb of Snowdon is usually done from Llanberis in the north or the popular tracks from Pen-y-Pass to the west. It is rarely done from the south. Maybe the low start from the south puts people off (it is near sea level) but more likely it is a simple ignorance that such approaches even exist. In addition many visitors to Snowdon simply want to ‘collect’ the summit which is ironic as the summit of Snowdon is the worst place on the mountain.
We climbed Snowdon using the Watkin Path, returning via the wonderful South Ridge. Certainly the Watkin Path offers easy walking to the main Snowdon ridge. The path is excellent, easy to follow and in its lower reaches follows a series of lovely plunge pools. On the day we climbed it was warm and sunny and many of the pools were filled with sun worshipers. Closer to the summit the going is a little rougher (mainly due to erosion) but in essence it is a great and safe climb.
The descent of the south ridge is just superb. A path sticks close to the crest which, although a little exposed, is safe in all but the windiest conditions. It is fun, includes some minor scrambling with some excellent views back up towards Snowdon and ahead to Yr Aran.
This is a walk that massively benefits from the lovely walking on its lower slopes. It is part of planning a walk to a mountain that is often forgotten. Having been to the summit of Snowdon a number of times I found the lower part of the Watkin Path a pleasant surprise. Some attractive woodland at the start soon emerges alongside the lovely mountain river. It is a better version than the head of Borrowdale when as a child we used to plunge in to the deep rock pools, and I had always though that was the best.
It is a toss up which way round to do this walk. Normally I would walk up the South Ridge and down the easier Watkin Path. However The steep, eroded approach to the summit above the Watkin Path may be difficult to descend and therefore the suggested route climbs via the Watkin Path. That is my advice from my trusted advisors, Sadie and Michelle!
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