“Hike Snowdon!” – experiences
I’m sure by now you have already read about Borneo Baptism and understood what it is about!
Part of the Borneo trip will include climbing Mt Kinabalu in Nov 2015; standing at ‘only’ 4100 meters / 13, 450 feet high. If you are like me, you will not be able to visualise how high it is (just by looking at the numbers), so let me put it in context. It is higher than 1/3rd of the:
- altitude at which a commercial aeroplane flies
- height of Mt Everest!
So a few of our staff who were interested in our Borneo adventure decided we should hike Snowdon, the highest mountain south of Scotland in the British Isles. Although Mt Kinabalu would be nearly 4 times as high as Snowdon is, if we aren’t even able to touch the summit in Snowdon, what chances do we have in climbing Mt Kinabalu? Basically, it was a reality check on our fitness because so-far we have only been working out our brains and fingers! Take a peek at “about us” if you wish to know more about that particular exercise.
- Walking boots (NOT trainers) with a good deep tread
- Good padded socks for walking
- Hiking trousers (avoid woollen garments or anything that gets heavy and retains too much water)
- Fleece/jumper suitable for hiking
- Jacket (waterproof if possible)
- Sunglasses (if you have any – help to keep the wind out if you don’t already wear glasses!)
- Hat (it will get cold and you will need to cover your head and ears!)
- Gloves – waterproof if possible but something is better than nothing.
- Day Pack – to take onto Snowdon – Must be comfortable and waterproof or else put a plastic bag inside as a liner!
- Spare socks
- At least 2 litres of Water / energy Drink / Hot drink if have a flask
- Lightweight Waterproof hood recommended, bright colour if possible
- Spare clothing (bottom and a top)
- Torch with a spare battery
- Mobile phone (fully charged)
- High energy food
- GPS if have one already
- Walking Poles (if you have them/Ski Poles will also do!)
- Thermal Blanket
- Safety whistle
- Map and Compass
- Know what to do in an emergency
Yep that’s exactly what we have been given as a list to prepare and my initial thoughts were – “Seriously?”
The night before and early in the morning of the climb there was typical British weather; rain, rain and more rain!! Therefore we started to realise the importance of half of the stuff in the kit list!
As we had already planned to hike via Pyg Track, we didn’t want to change our plan just because it rained. We had a couple of children with us and so we had to be absolutely sure and determined that nothing we do would risk either of these children. The weather seemed to have calmed down; as the rain had stopped and the path looked dry, albeit cloudy and windy – we pressed ahead “cautiously!”.
It would have been better if there were some markings / signs at a couple of places in Pyg Track to indicate which way to go. We managed to get some help from fellow climbers and reached the inter-junction with Llanberis Path – hurrah!! What a rocky path, hey?!
Hang-on! Challenges were yet to pass – as we had a considerable climb ahead of us to reach the summit. And that’s when the gusty wind picked-up and we literally had to hold the kids shoulder-to-shoulder and slowly progress onwards. To make the situation a little bit more challenging, it started to become foggy – brilliant! 🙁
Thankfully we were not alone as there were a lot of people out that day (well, Wiki had already stated that Snowdon was “probably the busiest mountain in Britain”) and every other person were so courteous that they checked if the kids were okay – thank you everyone!
We reached the summit – of course! Was it worth it? See below and you tell us… 🙂
Then came an interesting question from my 12-year old son as soon as we touched the top, “dad, do we really have to walk all the way down?”
“Of course son, how else could we go down? Fly or swim?” – I asked.
He said, “Well, there is a train track, so there must be a train. Can we not jump in?”
“Nope, trains don’t run in bad weather”! As such, we started our climb down. By the time we reached the inter-junction between Pyg Track and Llanberis Path, considering the gusty wind (40-50 mph) and fog, a few of our team members decided that we should climb down via Llanberis Path. A good decision I would say, especially with children.
Before I finish this blog, it is important to revisit my thinking about the kit list…
Out of the 25 items we were asked to prepare, only the following were not used:
- GPS / compass
- Safety Whistle
I should insist that it does not mean they are not required for you or for our next trip wherever we go! It is just that we didn’t need to use these items as we didn’t deviate from the well-established tracks and we were equipped with all we needed from the above kit list. However, I’m in no doubt without these preparations and kit list we would have had to abandon the climb; in the interest of safety of both the kids and adults. Or we may have had to call the emergency services – who knows!