The PYG Track, which is approximately 5km long is one of the most popular routes on Snowdon. It starts at Pen y Pass and shares the same first leg as the Snowdon Horseshoe. It separates from this route at the base of Crib Goch and traverses around the mountains southern slope before ascending steeply up the side of Garnedd Ugain to Bwlch Glas. There are three alternative theories regarding the routes name, the first of which is that it comes from a col it passes through which is named Bwlch y Moch (Pass of the Pigs); the second of which states it represents the initials of the Penygwryd Hotel whose guests used the path to get to Snowdon's Cliffs; and the third theory is that it is attributed form pyg the Welsh word for the mining pitch used in the copper mine, and hence the route used to get to them.
The starting point for PYG Track is the Pen y Pass car park (SH 647 555) at the zenith of the Pass of Llanberis, which can be reached easily by road on the A4086 that runs between Llanberis (SH 582 598) and Capel Curig (SH 719 580).
Owing to the popularity and sheer number of routes that start here the Pen y Pass car park often fills up quickly so if you want to park there a very early start is recommended. Luckily there are other options, the first of these is an excellent park and ride which runs regularly all day (including weekends and bank holidays) from Nant Perris (SH 607 582). The second option is the Snowdon Sherpa bus service which has various stops around the mountain and runs from Llanberis, Bettws y Coed, Caernarfon, Beddgelert, Bethesda and Porthmadog. Be sure to check timetables first as you don't want to end up missing the last bus and find yourself stuck, of course in these situations hitching is always and option.
Starting from the heights of the Llanberis Pass, the PYG Track is a popular and short route to the summit with superb views over Glaslyn (Blue Lake) and Llyn Llydaw. Despite its popularity, you should not forget that poor conditions can make this route hazardous, especially at the notorious Zig-Zags on the upper section. The path starts from the car park at Pen y Pass and follows a well-defined route towards Snowdon's summit. To begin with the route follows the same path as the Snowdon Horseshoe leaving the Pen y Pass car park from its northern gate. It roughly follows the contours of The Horns, gently climbing its slopes to Bwlch y Moch where it bares left and diverges from the Horseshoe route by crossing over a set of twin styles. There are some fantastic views to be had from this spot with the cliffs of Y Lliwedd rising up in the west and Llanberis Pass and the Glyderau in the East. From here the route climbs gradually along the south slope of Crib Goch and Crib y Ddysgl. The path is mostly in good condition but in places crosses boulder fields and boggy ground, however these difficulties are not great and are easily overcome.
From Llyn Glaslyn the route becomes much steeper and zigzags up the southern slope of Garnedd Ugain up to Bwlch Glas. The path gets much rockier here and in wet weather some care is needed on the steeper sections, particularly when the route is busy (which it often is). Bwlch Glas is marked by an upright stone monolith here the route joins the Llanberis Path and turns left climbing a further 100m or so to Snowdon's summit.
Just a good pair of boots, waterproofs and some lunch. If walking in winter make sure you also carry an ice axe and crampons.
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Snowdonia (Official National Park Guide) by Merfyn Williams
The Mountains of England and Wales: Volume 1 Wales (Cicerone Guide) by John and Anne Nuttall
Hillwalking in Wales Vol 1 (Cicerone Guide) by Peter Hermon
Hillwalking in Wales Vol 2 (Cicerone Guide) by Peter Hermon
Hillwalking in Snowdonia (Cicerone Guide) by Steve Ashton
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