Last weekend saw the ASSISTED. team take on the 14 peak challenge, tackling all the mountains over 3000 ft in the Snowdonia range in Wales. The challenge was a big step up from last years 3 peak challenge from both a physical and psychological perspective.
In order to complete the challenge, the team was required to have been to the top of all 14 mountains over 3000ft within 24 hours, without any form of assistance or mode of transport. The total length peak to peak is around 26 miles, however, once you add in the initial ascent and final descent the distance is well over 30 miles. The total ascent is close to 13,000 feet and is officially 15 mountains, although only 14 are over the 3000 ft mark.
The challenge is peak to peak and so the traditional route requires you to start from the summit of Snowdon, so with that in mind we made the decision to camp the Friday night on the mountain and start early Saturday in order to attempt to complete the challenge in the daylight.
We started the ascent at 8.33pm on Friday and ascended Snowdon via the Pyg track with our camping gear and supplies for the first section. Our spirits were high, although visibility was very poor and we were racing against the already racing the sunset.
8.33pm Friday 1st – Snowdon ascent from Pen-Y-Pass
10.30pm Friday 1st – Camp setup
We set our alarms for 4 am to make the most of the Sunlight and packed up our camp quickly and popped to the top of Snowdon to officially start our challenge.
4.14 am – Peak 1 – Snowdon
4.43 am – Peak 2 – Crib Y Ddysgl
5.46 am – Peak 3 – Grib Goch
The descent from Crib Goch’s north face is an interesting experience with a near verticle shale face heading directly down to the road leading to checkpoint one and our first support car at Nant-Peris.
We dumped our camping kit, changed into some dry clothes and grabbed our lighter day packs for the next two sections.
The second section of the challenge requires an ascent to mountain 4 (Elidir Fawr) from Nant Peris, it’s fair to say that this long slow slog up was our least favourite part of the experience.
9.24 am – Peak 4 – Elidir Fawr
10.38 am – Peak 5 – Y Garn
11.44 am – Peak 6 – Gylder Fawr
12.27 pm – Peak 7 – Gylder Fach
1.22 pm – Peak 8 – Tryfan
Tryfan is a popular mountain and one of our favourites in the Snowdonia range, the sunshine brought out a crowd on the summit, however, we were the only people to descent via the very steep west face at the end of the second section.
It’s fair to say we were feeling worse for wear at this point and the thought of completing another 7 peaks after already walking for over 10 hours took some serious mental strength. We refuelled and pulled together our motivation to tackle the last, but longest section.
4.14 pm – Peak 9 – Pen yr Ole Wen
5.00 pm – Peak 10 – Carnedd Dafydd
The long walk to peak 11 was pretty spectacular with the wind keeping the low cloud cover in the valley.
5.59 pm – Peak 11 – Carnedd Llewelyn
6.38 pm – Peak 12 – Yr Elen
7.29 pm – Peak 13 – Foel Grach
7.50 pm – Peak 14 – Garnedd Uchaf
8.15 pm – Peak 15 – Foel Fras
Our total peak-to-peak time was a respectable 15.45 hours.
The decent from Foel Fras was one of the most difficult parts of the walk, a 4-mile walk off the mountain tested our mental strength as the euphoria of the challenge had finished and our bodies had started to feel the stress of walking for close to 18 hours. The last picture I took, however, did summerise our feeling – The sun setting on our epic experience and most challenging adventure to date. We look forward to the next one.
There’s still time to contribute to our worthy cause – check out our Just giving page to donate – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/assisted14peaks