/ 15 Peaks
I'm going to attempt the 15 peaks again this year and was wondering on the general consensus on bivvying on Snowdon and starting (fairly) fresh from the summit at 06:00 vs starting from Pen-Y-Pass at 06:00 and ascending Snowdon to start?
Last time we attempted we bivvied on Snowdon summit and had a miserable night and ended up knackered to start with!
Any other top tips more than welcome!
Do you have a back up vehicle ? if so its worth taking stuff for a comfortable bivvi , starting at first light (before 06.00, probably) and dropping your warm bivvi stuff at the support vehicle on getting to the pass.
Bivvy on summit but only, as you've already discovered, if the weather is OK.
If weather is rubbish then postpone attempt or be prepared to suffer!
Start at first light, obviously depends on time of year.
Then as GrahamD suggested dump bivvy gear somewhere in the pass.
Someone to support you both in the pass and at the foot of Tryfan can be really helpful.
Don't get lost near the end because you've walked off the edge of your paper OS map and forgot that it is a double sided one, turning it over would have revealed the desired information - don't ask me how I know.
Try to enjoy the walk, don't get caught up with doing it quickly unless you can beat 4 hours.
We'll probably have a car and tent at the campsite opposite the Vaynol arms.
Last time we got there late Friday and walked up to the summit, bivvied in rain and windy weather having not got there until 01:00!
If we bivvy again we will dump the stuff back in the tent before heading up the 4th peak.
Not sure how to get back to the campsite after finishing the Carnedd area though! Taxi I guess?
Good tip about not worrying about the time!
Thanks for the advice
I assume starting from the bottom is not recommended?
We left a car near Tryfan and got the bus to the Vaynol, had a bit of food and a pint then headed up to the summit and bivvied.
Set off at about 5am, delayed slightly by guiding a very cold group of 3 peakers, to a safe descent route then got on our way. We swapped bags and had some food at the car then did an out and back over the rest of it. Long day.
Thanks NickB sounds like a good idea leaving a car at Ogwen somewhere. Did you walk from Tryfan up the last Carnedd peaks and then back the same route?
I think we managed to avoid a fair bit of ascent on the way back, long time ago. I would have to have a look at the route notes I made.
If the weather is poor there is some extra shelter in the doorway of the café - although the night light and sound of refrigeration units can be annoying. Otherwise you could take a tarp or light tent if the weather is not so good - good camping spot just below the summit and plenty of places to rig a tarp too. As you say, you can then dump the extra gear in a vehicle, with friends or at campsite with prior consent.
> Thanks NickB sounds like a good idea leaving a car at Ogwen somewhere. Did you walk from Tryfan up the last Carnedd peaks and then back the same route?
If you are 100% confident on coming back. Leave your bags at the hut on foel grach, head to the end and come back. You can contour a couple of summits, then head SE off Llewellyn, over the top of amphitheatre butt. drop down to the tarmac road from the resv. and onwards to ogwen. Still a km-ish plus to get back to the car at tryfan but it's level.
I've never seen the point or value in the traditional 14/15 peaks walk/challenge. Taking the most boring direct route then the hassle of logistics each end. Also by bivying on Snowden you're not actually climbing all the peaks in one day anyway. Surely far better to make it a more imaginative circular walk starting and finishing in (say) Nant Perris, even if it means an overnight stop en-route.
I think it's because it is a challenge (one of significant historical record too, have a read of Thomas Fairbank's excellent book). There's plenty of interesting ground (not that many folk go down the N ridge of CG normally do they?) and especially N to S there's some wonderful scrambling to be had of Tryfan/ Bristly Ridge / Crib Goch etc.
I don't personally feel the 3 Peaks to have a value either, but I can completely understand people doing them. For a challenging circular backpacking route, the Paddy Buckley round makes an excellent trip (can also be done with B&Bs for the weak of character!).
For the OP: consider going N to S as coming back down the railway track to Llanberis at the end of a long day is straightforward if a bit painful. The scrambling is better N>S, and the tent is already at the Vaynol for the end. If you can drop the bivvy gear at Ogwen or the base of Tryfan that lightens the load for the middle section, and you'll pass by the tent en route to Crib Goch.
Ron Turnbull's book is also full of useful info and history - recommended.
Thanks Ben, not really considered N - S but will have a think about it. Certainly makes the end easier and a chance of getting to the pub for last orders!
For me it’s about doing a challenge. Half way I’m sure I will feel like giving up and it’s then a head game to keep going. I enjoy that.
I’ve done most of the peaks on several trips so it’s not for the scenery or the walks, purely the challenge of doing the whole lot non stop.
Too much hassle bivvying. Start early, take in CG on the way up, go over the side to Llanberis pass. Not the purist's route but you do every peak and it's less logistics to worry about.
Use ogwen cottage for supplies.
We walked off into Bethesda which is a good place to get a cab.
15 peaks! Is this inflation. I think it should be 16 by now.
Both times I did it we just walked up in the dark for sunrise. In the scheme of the whole trip, the couple of hours extra up from PyP didn't seem to make a lot of difference. Did the Pyg track. We did have bright moonlight on the first one, which helped. It was very cold, wouldn't have slept well on the summit.
I thought you said it wasn't the purist's route?
It's a right good laugh
I’d drop down, you can’t really go wrong. Shortest and easiest way by a long way.
you drop down and have to hit the lake then find the track.
We always used that with clients when guiding it
Iain, did you not have a figure of 8 route that you used?
> 15 peaks! Is this inflation. I think it should be 16 by now.
It IS sixteen. The drop between Glyder fach and Castell y gwynt was remeasured in 2006 and found to be over 50ft, making Castell y gwynt a 'Nutall' peak over 3000ft.
And if you want an alternative way of completing all the peaks in 24h, how about starting in Snowdon at midday, get to Ogwen for an overnight camp and then get up early to finish the carneddau before lunchtime.
I think N-S is the nicer way to do it, as you are generally walking towards the more impressive scenery and you do finish on Snowdon summit which somehow feels like a fitting climax. Logistics can be a pain - might be worth seeing how much it would be to get a taxi to the start and setting off in the dark (if there is a decent moon especially)
> It IS sixteen. The drop between Glyder fach and Castell y gwynt was remeasured in 2006 and found to be over 50ft, making Castell y gwynt a 'Nutall' peak over 3000ft.
But the other 15 peaks are all Hewitts, so it depends what criteria you're using.
When I did it (many years ago), I bivved on top of Crib y Ddysgul, then strolled over to Yr Wyddfa without my sack at first light. A much quieter (no diesel generator running all night) place to bivvy.
it was nant Peris to Elidir to Garn, then down the north ridge then the carneddau, then back over the carneddau and back down the side to Ogwen, up the East face of Tryfan, back over the two glyders then down the red spot path to pen y pass, then along Crib Goch to Snowdon and back down the side of the pass to Nant Peris.
> 15 peaks! Is this inflation. I think it should be 16 by now.
17, if you include the stiles onto and off the A5.
I think one of them might be a Carnedd peak.
another vote for N-S
+1. Going N-S takes advantage of the sustained scrambling interest on the two main ascents (up Tryfan to Glyders, then up N ridge of Crib Goch en route to a Snowdon finish, probably after the crowds have gone).
When I did it (long ago, on spur of moment and unsupported) I parked somewhere in the Pass, hitched to Capel, and walked what I figured was the least-ascent route to a bivvy on Foel Fras.
When we last did it NS, we drove up from Cornwall and left a bike at PyP YHA, then drove to Aber top car park, leaving some supplies dumped behind a rock in the Ogwen valley. We camped at Llyn Anafon, then next day walked the lot, starting and ending with head torches. I can't remember names, but we didn't do Crib Goch end to end, but instead came at it from the col at the Snowden end, got to the highest point then returned. The next morning, I cycled back to the car, walked up and got the tent, then was back at PyP for breakfast.
This avoids spending an eternity on buses, avoids the long slog up Eldir Fawr from the Llanberis valley, but does leave you looking at a big climb late in the day when you are already tired and it would be easy to give up and get a bus up to the YHA.
Another vote for N-S. Some pros and cons, most of which already mentioned:
Best scenery ahead.
Best scrambling (Tryfan, Bristly, Crib Goch, Ddysgl) taken in ascent.
Some dull slogs taken in descent (Pen yr Ole Wen, Elidir Fawr).
Satisfying to end on Snowdon summit.
Descent via Llanberis path not too bad in dark. Can use railway if necessary, assuming going in summer (obviously avoid in spring if packed snow lingers - big slide over cliffs awaits).
Facing the sun from mid-morning to mid afternoon
Softest section underfoot (northern Carneddau) is taken at start not end, when feet most need its soothing caress.
Potentially trickiest route-finding and scrambling (approach to Crib Goch, crossing of Crib Goch/Ddysgl) comes when you're most tired.
Logistics are always going to be a problem, no matter which way you go. When I did it (N-S), I was based in Ogwen anyway, so I cycled to Aber at dawn and crossed the Carneddau in the relative cool of the morning. After an Ogwen rest stop to feed the dog and dump excess gear, I crossed the Glyders in the heat of the day (no avoiding that whichever way you go). Then I scrambled up Crib Goch etc at dusk, finishing on Snowdon summit in the dark. With no bivi gear (I was travelling solo and light), I trudged down the railway track in the dark (ouch). After failing to get a lift from Llanberis (it was well after closing time and there was no traffic), I found a barn to kip in at Nant Peris then hitched back to Ogwen next morning. Got the bike sometime later.
This was around Easter, so thankfully not too hot, but obviously with fewer daylight hours than in summer. I was very familiar with most segments of the route beforehand, which obviously helps. Also very fit. Even so, I was well knackered at the end with pummelled feet (regretted superlight footwear), blisters, and chapped thighs (should have taken zinc cream used for nappy rash).
Despite all the effort and logistical difficulties, it's a great trip. And not just for the challenge. The scenery and terrain is just fabulous.
Thanks everyone, some great advice there. We are currently planning on starting from PYP early morning, up GC to Snowdon, down to Nant Peris and then usual route from there. Bivvy on the final peak somewhere.
Upside, once we get to the last peak it's over (for the night at least)
Downside - One extra ascent and carrying bivvy gear.
I'll mention the N-S option to my mate too though.
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