When’s the best time to climb Snowdon?

When’s the best time to climb Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa)?

When people ask this question (and by the way, it’s really a walk rather than a climb), they are generally referring to weather conditions. On the assumption that the majority of people want a safe day, not overly busy, with decent weather and views from the summit, we would recommend that you choose a dry weekday between mid-April and September; statistically you’re more likely to get the better weather over the summer months. However, we can’t guarantee ideal conditions, as you’ll see ….

The weather

Warmer, more settled weather occurs in summer.  However, mountain weather can be fickle and changeable, and Snowdon is no exception to this. Whilst the climate in Britain will, for instance, generally bring warmer and better weather in summer than in winter, the summer months can also see their share of windy and wet days; similarly, the winter can bring glorious blue-sky days too, though it will invariably be colder.

Long hours of daylight are an advantage, and safer. The longest hours of daylight are in May, June and July. By October, not only does the weather become more unpredictable, with the first storms often lining up to come in, but the evenings are also drawing in, and this is accentuated by the turning back of the clocks at the end of October.

Aim to be heading up by late morning at the latest. If your visit involves a particularly early start or late finish, the nearer to May, June and July, the better.

Mid-October to early April are best avoided. The autumn often heralds unsettled, stormy weather. The temperature at altitude is always noticeably lower, more so in winter, and winter ground conditions (such as snow and ice) can be found on the upper part of the mountain from late October to early April.

Check the forecast regularly and thoroughly. Whilst things like sunrise and sunset times are predictable, weather isn’t, and it’s generally impossible to predict more than a few days ahead.  Most people will want a dry day with little wind, reasonably warm temperatures and good visibility; and ideally any cloud will be well above the summit. Be prepared to switch days if it’s not looking as good as you’d like.

(See also our page on ‘The weather on Snowdon’, which contains a section on recommended weather forecast sites.)

The view west from near the summit on a fine day in late March

Accidents

The weather can have an impact not just on your enjoyment of the day, but also on your safety. Choose a day when the paths are likely to be dry. The most common accidents are slips, and these are far more likely when the paths are wet. Low cloud on the mountain can also be very disorientating and lead to accidents.

(See also our page on ‘Accidents and Emergencies’.)

Be flexible, if you can!

Even if you go for a good time of year, sometimes the weather can be appalling. If this looks likely, try and change your plans for another occasion, when things will hopefully be much better.

Avoiding crowds

Snowdon is altogether a nicer place when it’s less busy. Here are some hints for avoiding the crowds:

  • The busiest path – by far – is the Llanberis Path. You could consider choosing a quieter path up Snowdon (though it may still be busy when you reach the top).
  • Avoid Snowdon at the weekends in the season, especially Bank Holiday weekends. Saturday is always the busiest day of any weekend.
  • July and August are the busiest months, especially at weekends.
  • Aim to be at the summit by mid-morning (the summit is at its busiest between about 11:30 and 14:30, when queues can be very long).
  • Consider going up a little out of season if the conditions are ideal.

(See also our page on ‘Will it be busy?’)


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