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Help me climb Snowdon

(94 Posts)
ClearEyesFullHearts Sat 02-Nov-19 12:01:27

I’m 54, I vape, am 40lbs from a normal BMI, and have heart disease.

I want to climb Snowdon next year with my children.

I am confident I can lose at least two stones before the summer (thanks Low Carb Bootcamp); I am confident I can stop vaping by Christmas. I have lost 50lbs already and improved my fitness with regular treadmill workouts (45 minutes at 4.2 kph is the current rate, but on a very slight incline). I have also started using an exercise bike for shorter times, up to about 20-30 minutes at a leisurely pace. I do this on the days I’m not in the treadmill.

This is all pleasing because I’ve made progress—three years ago I couldn’t walk the quarter mile to our local shop without stopping at least twice to catch my breath, and the chest pains were awful.

But this is the first time I’ve set an actual end goal—Snowdon—and I’m hoping that anyone with experience of this, or general fitness, can give me some tips for how to set short-term goals that will get me to the big one.

I not only want to climb Snowdon with my children, I want to do it with relative ease and not slow them down. hmm

Any guidance appreciated. Cheers.

VioletCharlotte Sat 02-Nov-19 12:05:37

Oh fantastic, go for it! It's tough but you'll feel like you've conquered the world afterwards. I did it a couple of years ago with a group of women all varying ages and degrees of fitness.

The best tip I can give you is to use poles, for me the descent was the hardest part and my knees really suffered (I've never had knee pain before). The guide who was with us said poles make a huge difference.

Try and train as much as you can and do as much hill walking as possible beforehand. Good walking boots and socks are a must. Also layers, you get quite warm to start off with, but it's freezing at the top!

Good luck!

ClearEyesFullHearts Sat 02-Nov-19 12:09:42

Freezing even in summer?! Uh oh.

Thanks for the encouragement Violet—could I ask what your fitness level was when you did it? Generally.

And I had never even thought about poles.

And I also forgot about the descent. shock

Horsemad Sat 02-Nov-19 12:15:29

You could walk up and get the train down? Think you need to book in advance though.

Sounds brilliant, you'll feel so empowered, I'm sure. 🙂

Wheat2Harvest Sat 02-Nov-19 12:19:13

The short-term goals are to keep exercising and walking up hills!

Choose your path up Snowdon with care as some paths are steeper and more challenging than others. Take a large scale Ordnance Survey map so you know exactly where you are and how far you have to go. (And take drinks, food and so on in a backpack, but I guess you have considered that. Sorry to state the obvious but I don't know your level of experience.)

The Llanberis path is generally considered to be the easiest. Aside from the Crib Goch path (which is more like a climb and which I assume you won't be doing) the Watkin Path is generally considered to be the most difficult.

You don't say how old your children are, so it will need to be within their capabilities too.

I climbed one Easter and it was very difficult because of the snow and ice near the summit. I suggest that you leave it until summer.

Good luck with the climb!

ClearEyesFullHearts Sat 02-Nov-19 12:21:20

You could walk up and get the train down?

Ha ha ha. More great advice. Didn’t even know that was an option.

I think I’d like to do the whole hog, but I’ll take anynvictories I can get. This is a long way off, so loads of planning to do.

One thing I’m wondering is comparisons for goals—for example, if you can do X, you can climb Snowdon. Anyone?

I don’t have a lot of hill-walking opportunities. We live in one of the flattest parts of England. grin

Horsemad Sat 02-Nov-19 12:23:44

I don’t have a lot of hill-walking opportunities. We live in one of the flattest parts of England.

😆 Are you in Lincs? If so, you could walk up & down Steep Hill in Lincoln for practise!

Sproglets Sat 02-Nov-19 12:25:22

Priority on the train goes to those who got took it up, and can be difficult to get on, especially in the summer.
The Pyg track is fairly short and not particularly steep for most of the way; it has the benefit of starting from the PyP car park which is higher than the start in Llanberis.

Waffles80 Sat 02-Nov-19 12:31:11

Don’t get the train down! It defeats the point and it’s crazily expensive.

I did it this summer and it was fantastic. It was cold at the top in August even though I’d been walking in a sleeveless top, I needed my layers.

If you get very sweaty walking, take a dry base layer and swap at the top in the loos. DH does this on all mountain climbs.

We went up the Rhyd Dhur, it’s harder going but quicker. Then down the Ranger Path.

If you start doing more regular walks now, and could find some hills to practice on, then you’ll definitely be able to do it.

ClearEyesFullHearts Sat 02-Nov-19 12:33:44

Wheat2Harvest I’m happy to take any advice, even ‘Snowdon for Dummies.’

The me 30 years ago was living in Colorado and enjoying walks in the Rocky Mountains, though not climbs. The me now is, well, as stated above in the OP.

Thanks for the specificity of various trails, that’s helpful.

And I could probably get all this from TripAdvisor or something, but Mumsnet feels more reliable. I’ll be doing some research though.

The children are early teens. They did Scafell Pike in July at Scout Camp, with my Scout Leader husband. They’ll all be fine the bastards.

ShinyGiratina Sat 02-Nov-19 12:53:10

For fitness, try C25k as it will speed your walking pace and help develop stamina. Strength work such as 30 day shred would also help. Hills are great practice for hills, but in their absence, stairs are good.

Going up will work your cardiovascular fitness and stretch on your quads (thighs) and calves.
Going down will feel easier, but is harder on joints like your knees, especially if you are already tired. Poles will help share the strain.

The Llanberis path is simplest and needs least navigational skill. An OS map is still important so you can track where you are, and any errors should you come off the main path. (Especially if visibility is poor. Being tired and poor weather are great circumstances to find yourself doing the unexpected)

It is a touristy mountain, but a mountain nonetheless. It will be colder and windier at the top. You will need a rucksack of spare warm, dry clothing whatever the forecast. It is often cool, damp and foggy at the top if the cloud level is low. Pack plenty of water and food. Have something salty to replace salts lost from sweating. Sturdy shoes with good grip are important. Trainers may be viable depending on their grip and structure, some trainers are unsuitable.

The train often doesn't run the full trip if the weather is poor. Pay attention to weather forecasts and warnings. Snowdonia has a mountain forcast which is more specific than general forecasts.

With preparation, it is definitely viable smile

Witchend Sat 02-Nov-19 13:07:27

Choose your path up Snowdon with care as some paths are steeper and more challenging than others.

You can follow the google maps up Snowdon to see the paths. It's quite funny, one was done in beautiful sunshine, and the other in pouring rain. I said to dh I'd choose the sunny side of the mountain. grin

EvaHarknessRose Sat 02-Nov-19 13:16:32

Go up the Pyg and down the Miners - Llanberis path is long and boring in my opinion and the others are not harder really but much more scenic, just one short patch of scrambling. Enjoy your training walks.

TreacherousPissFlap Sat 02-Nov-19 13:17:34

I see the train has been mentioned. You need to be aware that you need to book both ways eg, if you want to get the train down, you will need to book a ticket up as well.

Also the last time I did it, dogs were bizarrely not allowed in the cafe at all. Not sure if that's relevant to you, but I certainly wasn't expecting to have to lurk outside the toilets rather than sit comfortably at a table grin

ClearEyesFullHearts Sat 02-Nov-19 13:28:21

Is the café at the top (she asks hopefully, envisioning a lovely flat white and a cheese scone...)

If possible I’d still like a feel for how long this will take me. What, like six hours of walking uphill? Is that what I should be training toward? hmm

Izzabellasasperella Sat 02-Nov-19 13:29:17

We did the Llanberis path in June. Naively we thought we would walk up and train down but we didn't book! So after struggling up(I walk a lot but the top is a long way so we all struggled a bit) We realised we were going to have to walk down. I'm so glad we did such a sense of achievement, we still talk about it now.
So I think if your relatively fit you can do it!

WellErrr Sat 02-Nov-19 13:32:10

Snowdon’s a great first climb. You can do it! My 5 and 7 year old can. Take the Llanberis path, pick a nice day, and take your time.
Take a good rucksack with everything you’ll need, and take it one step at a time.

Good luck!

LoveNote Sat 02-Nov-19 13:32:22

I’ve done it twice in recent years,but at my fittest

Struggled with Scafell like this summer due to weight a measure I ran London marathon last year but struggled this year with Scafell

I second poles! And layers

WellErrr Sat 02-Nov-19 13:32:59

And yes, you can recharge at the cafe at the top, and there’s a shop halfway

tectonicplates Sat 02-Nov-19 13:37:21

Actually, the best way to get better at walking up mountains is by walking up more mountains. Obviously your recent weight loss will help a lot, but going to the gym is nothing like walking up Snowdon. The best training you can possibly do is to go for some country walks, and walk up some smaller hills. Do you actually do outdoor stuff at the moment? Because if not, walking up Snowdon is not a great choice for someone who's new to country walking. I've met a few gym bunnies who were shocked that I could walk distances like 10-12 miles. It really is a very different thing.

FlatheadScrewdriver Sat 02-Nov-19 13:43:04

Firstly yes, cafe is at the top grin

I've done this while pretty overweight and unfit and agree with the advice above about a) the paths and b) taking dry clothing. You're going with a group, who sound experienced and sensible, so you should be fine.

It shouldn't take anything like six hours, more like three uphill at most. I should definitely have done more outdoor hill walking and not relied on treadmill hill-walking - the amount of effort needed is completely different, and you have the added bonus of breaking in your boots and getting used to walking in rain/ checking your waterproofs really are... I would look for places you can drive to for some hills practice beforehand.

Good luck, if you get fine weather it really is beautiful.

tectonicplates Sat 02-Nov-19 13:53:05

That's a good point about walking boots - do you have any, OP? Because if not, you need to get them broken in long before the event. Walking up Snowdon is not the time to be wearing a new pair of boots!

Horsemad Sat 02-Nov-19 13:56:37

I second tectonic plates re boots! Am just about to buy a new pair to break in gently over the winter ready for next year.

capercaillie Sat 02-Nov-19 13:58:28

Try and work in lots of squats and lunges in your training. They massively help build leg and core strength, which helps with uphill bits. If you can do some with weights as well, then it all helps.

tectonicplates Sat 02-Nov-19 14:03:29

More reasons to train outdoors: you need to get used to walking on uneven terrain, and you need to get used to walking in crap weather. Even in the middle of summer it's still cold at the top of a mountain! Some mountains even get snow in July.

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