In Welsh, Crib Goch, translates into 'Red Ridge' and is one of Snowdon’s satellite peaks. It reaches a height of 3028 feet, it’s the 14th highest peak in the Snowdonia National Park. Within the Snowdon group it is the 3rd higest peak. During the winter all routes are considered mountaineering routes and in fine weather, scrambles. The dangers of climbing Crib Goch should not be underestimated, as the mountain claims lives every year due to inexperience, equipment or just bad luck.
Prerequisite equipment should include sturdy boots, wet weather protection and food & drink. Because of how uneven and rough the terrain is, wearing soft soled trainers is guaranteed to leave your feet a battered and bruised mess. Climbing so high means that the weather system will be changing all the time and be very different from the weather at sea level. This means that bad weather can move in very quickly and at the wrong time of year, kill unprepared climbers. Carrying extra food is advisable in-case you do find yourself stranded and waiting for rescue. Being Fierce Edge, of course we were equipped with our fightwear, namely Cyborg rashguard and spats and also The Bar-Belle rashguards.
The team going up included Fierce Edge All Stars Dre Groce and Kerrith Bhella. From Firewalker Fitness and Martial Arts Club was Josh Penfield and Chris Gittings. The team was lead by Firewalker Olympic Boxing Club's Assistant Coach, Kevin Blower. Our alarms were set for 0330 and we met outside Firewalker Health and Fitness at 0430. The drive to Snowden took around 2 hours on quiet roads with beautiful scenery. We even had to stop to take a picture of an exceptional river with rolling mist coming from the evergreen forest framing it.
Compared to all the other routes, Crib Goch requires a mix of strength and agility as well as endurance and confidence. The other routes are straight forward walks/marches to the peak while Crib Goch demands climbing ability as well as hiking. In some ways, this actually makes the ascent less taxing on the body as progress is slower and the workload is distributed across the entire body rather than relying on just the legs with maybe some assistance form walking poles.
When we had to climb, it was important to adhere to Kev Blower's advice of "Three points of contact at all times lads!" Kev is a veteran of Crib Goch and has climbed it multiple times and some of them in the dark so he could be at the top for dawn. It's important to note for first timers that, three points of contact means significant contact not cursory adherence for the sake of it. There were many times Fierce Edge was tempted to precariously balance and power up some rock face before a reality check reminded us that a slip would mean falling a few hundred metres down sharp protruding rock. Looking down the mountain was a stark reminder to keep the ego in check. Of particular concern while climbing a rock face was having our legs forward of our upper body and having brute force our way up with upper body strength and carrying 12kgs of kit on our back! Also, another piece of advice, this time from another veteran climber Josh, "Make sure your shoe laces are tied..."
Traversing across the top of Crib Goch offered some amazing views for a brief time before the clouds came in and reduced visibility to around 20 metres. At the top and looking forward of the ridge, with the sheer drops either side it really did seem like we were at the Spine of the World. The cloud cover turned the breathtaking views and turned the atmosphere into something akin a zombie movie. Sounds were very muffled and the shapes of other walkers were hinted. There seemed to be more of them if we concentrated hard enough or was that just our imagination? Provided you had enough provisions, Crib Goch would actually be a remarkably safe place to wait out a zombie apocalypse. With it's low population and difficulty of access there would be very little opportunity for victims to turn into zombies.
Just like an outbreak, a zombie apocalypse requires enough humans to spread. A small and spread out population greatly reduces the chances of infection and greatly assists containment. A zombie 'virus' spread as as below.
Infection => Humans => Infected Human => Zombie.
If the population did turn into zombies, they would be spread out and manageable. Also having taking the higher ground would help survivors defend their perimeter. As is the real danger in an apocalypse, there would be much fewer survivors around to have to interact with. Uniquely, the mountain also provides a defensive bonus against fast zombies (28 Days Later.) With the speed and recklessness these zombies move at, it wouldn't be long before they hurled themselves to their doom. So you'd be pretty safe up here. Without everyone else you care about. And Whitewalkers...
Once we reached the top of Snowdon and stopped for photos and had a quick coffee, we started our descent. One thing that absolutely stood out was the amount of litter around the top and the easier popular routes was the amount of litter. Littering is a disgusting habit anyway but at such a remote environment it seemed particularly vile. It seemed that climbers who scaled Crib Goch respected the mountain much more because we didn't see any litter along the route until we arrived at Hafod Eryri. After the climb to the top, it was surprising how difficult going down was. Because it was all downhill, the hike down was massively quad dominant and also put real pressure on your ankles and knees. Making it even more demanding was the uneven and often slippery terrain. Good job we all trained Muay Thai and we were particularly glad of the additiional ankle support from our Magnum Spider boots.
Once we were at the bottom of Snowdon, we weren't finished. That would have been too easy. Apparently, as is Firewalker tradition (thanks Kev,) we must all swim in Llyn Llydaw, once alleged to be the coldest lake in Britain. In contrast to the bodies of water in industrial West Midlands, Llyn Llydaw was as clear as it was cold. With no pollution, it was remarkable to one, see the bottom and two, not see any dumped tyres or shopping trolleys! What did make it somewhat easier for us was, even wet, our Cyborg activewear doing a fine job of keeping the wind off us.
After the swim, we toweled off and marched about two miles back to the cars where you can smell the portaloos before you can see the car-park! And so ends the adventure and all that was left was a frustrating drive back stuck behind caravans and tractors in contrast to the empty roads in the morning.
Below is the route that we took and a video capturing moments of the day. Osu.