The Welsh 3000s is a hiking endurance challenge covering 15 peaks over 30 miles, in Snowdonia. This challenge shouldn’t be taken lightly, and preparation is key to make sure you complete it safely. Morgan and Dan from Millets Online have been training for the last 7 months in preparation for the challenge. Over that time they have learnt a lot about how best to complete the Welsh 3000s. Below is an advice guide for if you want to attempt it yourself.
The Welsh 3000s Route
Crossing over 15 peaks and with three, 3000ft climbs on the route, you need to plan accordingly. We chose to follow the traditional route, wanting to stay true to how it was originally hiked. The route can be broken down into three legs, the Snowdon section, the Glyder section and the Carnedd section. You also need to consider how to get to the peak of Snowdon to start, and how to get off Foul-Fras at the end. Below is a breakdown of each section and suggestions on how to start and finish, and where to leave food and water for if you are wanting to travel more minimally.
Starting the Welsh 3000s
To do this unsupported you are going to need two cars at a minimum. One car to be parked at the start and one at the finish. The night before our attempt we left our starting car in Nant Peris, with 2 litres of water each and our walking poles - which we would need for the more technical, Glyder section. On the morning of the attempt we set off on the Llanberis path up to the summit of Snowdon. Whilst this is one of the longer paths, it has a very gradual ascent and feels much less demanding on the legs.
Starting from the summit of Snowdon you will head to Garnedd Ugain, and then on to Crib Goch, before finally descending into Nant Peris. You can easily move between to Snowdon and Garnedd Ugain, but Crib Goch is a much more technical ridgeline and should be taken with great care. Continue along the ridge untill you reach a scree section, slightly curving to the left. Once you reach the end of the ridge you will see a faintly marked decent off the left side into the valley below. Navigation from here to the road can be difficult, as there is no straight-forward path leading down to the road. Once you have reached the road head down towards Nant Peris.
At the first car, we had a short break to refuel and re-stock our packs with supplies, before heading out towards the Glyder section.
This is the hardest section of the Welsh 3000s and you should make sure to bring enough food and water to get you through. The climb up to Elidir Fawr is not to be taken lightly. The path is well marked and easy to follow but is long – we recommend using walking poles to help you up, it’s amazing how much energy you’ll save if you using them. Once you’ve summited, congratulations you’ve done the toughest climb of the whole route. The next step is to follow the path towards Y Garn – which contours beneath Foel Goch – and continue to the summit. Once at the top of Y Garn, descend towards lake Llyn y Cwn and then begin the scree ascent towards Glyder Fawr. Going between Glyder Fawr and Fach is easy in good weather but can be hard when visibility is poor as the path is not clearly defined. After this, you will begin the descent down a steep scree section to the right of Bristly Ridge, where next, the climb up to Tryfan lies. Tryfan is very rocky and you’ll have to scramble up most of it. Take care when choosing your line to the peak – which is at two large rocks often referred to as Adam & Eve. Begin the descent towards lake Llyn Bochlwyd by heading West off the summit. Once you’ve reached the lake follow the path towards the A5 and decide whether you want to head towards the Ogwen cottage or the car park directly underneath the north face of Tryfan. We stopped at Ogwen cottage because it gave us a chance to use the facilities there and it was a safe place to hide food and water for the Carnedd section.
The Carnedd section is the longest section, but has the least amount of ascent. The easiest way up it's first mountain – Pen Yr Ole Wen – is to head east of lake Llyn Ogwen and take the first marked left turn up the path and then follow the river upstream. The path is not clear in parts but it will become easier to navigate the higher you get. You will then head up the east face of Pen Yr Ole Wen. The next section is relatively flat towards Carnedd Dafydd. After this, you follow the ridgeline around towards Carnedd Llewelyn. Before the summit path of Carnedd Llewelyn there is a single path track that contours around towards Yr Elen. Here, you can save time and energy going this way instead of summiting Carnedd Llewleyn first because you’ll have to backtrack that way when it comes to following the track towards Foel Grach. Once you're heading towards Foel Grach you have an easy hike linking Foel Grach, Garnedd Uchaf and Foel-Fras. Foel-Fras has a trig point which signifies the end of the Welsh 3000s.
Heading to the End Carpark
We made the decision to leave our second car above the small village of Abergwyngregyn. This is a slightly longer walk than the Bwlch Y Ddeufaen exit, but getting the car parked here was easier and the walk down to the car is far simpler. Little navigation is needed and follows a large track through the valley. To get there, continue following the stone wall path from Foel-Fras unill you see lake Llyn Anafon on your left. When you are parallel with the lake, start to make your descent. There isn’t a path that leads to the lake so you will have to bushwhack your way there but take precautions as it can get boggy at times. Once you’ve reached the lake, follow the path down the valley untill you reach the car park.
- Start as early as possible, the walk up to Snowdon is the easiest in terms of how clearly marked the trail is and will be easy to navigate in the dark.
- The best possible transport option is to have a volunteer driver who can drop you off at Pen Y Pass, meet you at the bottom of Tryfan and pick you up at the end car park.
- The best time to make your attempt of the Welsh 3000s is between June and August. You want to have the most daylight possible when out walking to make navigation easy.
- Have a plan and stick to it. Taking breaks is essential but don’t let the time slip away. 5-10min here and there will quickly snowball and you may miss the 24hr challenge window. Also breaking for too long will cause your legs to stiffen and ache.
- Recce the route! There is plenty of horseshoe walks you can do to familiarise yourself with the different sections of the Welsh 3000s. This will cut down on navigation time and you’ll be confident in which paths are best to take.