84 year old Ron Barnes climbs Snowdon
A huge well done to Ron, possibly the oldest person to climb to the summit?
Here you can read about Ron’s adventure, with friendships made along the way…
An Old Guy Climbs Snowdon.
I climbed Snowdon, Yr Wyddfa, on Thursday 23rd June 16. The weather was excellent and I started the climb at 9.50 am from the car park opposite Llanberis Mountain Railway Station. I chose the Llanberis route because its start is convenient and because, in the event of deteriorating weather, it offers a solo climber a safe and easy descent. The route took me out of town along Victoria Terrace. After this the route became steep up a small road; in places it must have been 1 in 4. After a bit of a plod and past an old barn, the track to Snowdon branched off the road to the left through a gate. This track was rough, but with a more gradual incline.
After walking this track for about two miles, and gaining some height, Llanberis, and its associated lake could be seen in the valley out of which I had climbed . At this point, and passing under the railway, I was approaching the Half Way House tea café, and I, and evidently other hikers, were looking forward to a nice pit stop. The café has a reputation for serving good tea and coffee. However, to our dismay, the café was closed owing to, it was said, the illness of the proprietor. Commiserations all round and everybody had to make do with their own provisions and water. It was here, faking sorrow and grief, and threatening to go back down, that I met up with two very friendly and fun couples; Chloe & Michael and Jackie & Dave, from Derbyshire, and we climbed on together. Without these friendly, jolly people my climb would have been a lonely event and the long steep pitches, rather boring.
After the tea house the route veered left and became considerably steeper. It was also here that the hiking track and the cog railway began to converge and it was interesting to see the little trains chugging up and down. The track took us under the railway for the second time and from here, on some rare flat ground, we had a spectacular view down into another very rugged valley down to Llyn Du’r Arddu. Time for some photographs.
Now the serious climbing began up a rough, long and relentlessly steep track towards Clogwyn, where the railway passing point is located. Here the track closely followed the railway and the trains came so close we were tempted to thumb a lift. No such luck ! On turning a corner to the left there was another long steep pitch up to a flattish area where there is a large basalt (Snowdon is part of a prehistoric volcano millions of years old ) monolith called “the Finger Stone”. It is here that some of the other, tougher, routes up Snowdon converge. The views from here are spectacular. To the left is a steep rugged valley, ahead is the summit and to the right is another valley with a massive glacial moraine and several tarns.
The final pitch and ascent up to the summit is fairly steep and at the summit there is a small flat area with a large summit cairn. The top of this is accessed up some irregular steps, and at the top is a pillar surmounted by a brass direction disc. Time for more photographs. I had, however, some difficulty coming down these irregular steps owing to my bifocals. Chloe suggested I bounce down, sitting on my backside. Brilliant idea ! Not very dignified, but better than ending up in A & E !!!
Starting at 9.50 am in Llanberis, it took me about four hours steady climbing to reach the summit, but this included a refreshment stop and time to view and photograph the scenery. Also on this first attempt, and given my age, I was concerned not to push it too hard and, perhaps, run into fatigue and exhaustion.