We arrived at the bottom of Mount Snowdon close to midday and proceeded to jump out of the car in proper 90s TV title sequence style. Raphael, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle as played by Michael Akinyemi, The Jungle Explorer, as played by Amy Potts, and The Scuba Adventurer, as played by Henry Traynor (me).
Our aim was to climb Mount Snowdon whilst representing aspects of the expeditions that we help run at Camps International; Marine Conservation, Jungle treks, and Scuba Diving Adventures. At the same time, raising the equivalent of our 10% trip deposit, which we would then donate to the Camps Foundation.
A Friday during the summer holidays meant that Snowdon was full of enthusiastic outdoors individuals, all dressed appropriately for a mountain. Those that were coming down met us with a multitude of different facial expressions; confusion, large smiles, and even some laughter at the attire we had decided to style ourselves in.
The miner’s track is one of the easier routes up Snowdon and for the first couple of hours, the struggle was at a minimum. We were accompanied by beautiful weather and incredible vistas over the Snowdonia National Park. As the clouds started to roll in, sunlight pierced through, dancing across the ridges leading up to the summit, which was now in sight and with a clear route up.
This is where I started to struggle. Accompanied by Michael, a regular at the gym and Amy, who is ex-military, I was out fitnessed almost instantly. My love for photography didn’t help either, making my backpack double the weight of the others. The wetsuit that I love when I am snorkelling off the coast of Cornwall was losing my admiration rapidly as it effectively insulated all the heat I was producing during the trek. It wasn’t long before I could feel the sweat flowing down my back. Amy and Michael were the opposite; the wind had picked up rapidly as the weather changed and they were wrestling with the cold as best they could.
After walking for over 2 hours my legs had turned to mush. Each step was accompanied by uncomfortable noises. However, we were still getting big smiles from those coming down which subdued the discomfort somewhat. Before long we reached a small stone wall. This seemed to be a common stopping point up to the peak. We joined others who were tucking into sandwiches and bananas for a well-earned break.
Food was followed by the last push to the top. The path snaked back and forth as it made its ascent to the ridge above, through the clouds that now completely covered the peak. After which, it was a gentle amble to the summit. As gentle as it was I was no faster and still had to stop for a few seconds after every ten steps or so.
As the train up to the top of Snowdon passed us, filling the air with the unmistakable smell of a steam and coal fires, I was a matter of metres away from the summit and could just see the marker through the clouds. Amy turned around and shouted above the wind that we have 5 minutes to summit to have completed the climb in 3 hours. I found the energy to create something that resembled running. Unfortunately, I tripped and very nearly fell on my face. Back to power walking instead.
I touched the summit marker with 30 seconds left. We had made it! Snowdon is not known as a hard climb but for Michael, this was his first summit and I had struggled in a wetsuit all the way up. Amy was a pro but I think she was secretly hiding the pain from the climb too!
After a small amount of munch in the café at the top, we commenced our descent. The drizzle had started to gently fall onto us as we walked through the cloud that smothered the summit. As we ventured further, that gentle drizzle went through metamorphosis turning into a driving downpour. Michael and Amy suffered through this much more than I, as my wetsuit re-earned its love when it managed to keep me nice and toasty.
Although the walk back to the car was wet and much longer than we originally thought (Mainly due to Amy getting us lost on her “short-cut”), our spirits were still high. We had accomplished something as a team, something out of the ordinary and of course we had managed to raise a large chunk of our deposit, all of which is going to an incredible charity that helps some of the poorest communities in the world.
For me, this was a job well done, and I hope this inspires you to grab some fancy dress and go hit your target!
Regional Expedition Coordinator