The Siabod Challenge

Paul Hodges

Challenges guide - Biography
My first introduction to mountains was a family holiday to Snowdonia in 1976, I remember spending long summer days by the Black Waterfall near Dolgellau (26 years later I bought a house less than half a mile away from it) as well as ascending Snowdon (I hate to admit by train), even in the summer of ’76 it was cloudy on top!

We want you to enjoy are surroundings, whether you are new to the area, experienced hill walker, novice or full on adrenalin junkie we think we’ve got a walk that will interest you & introduce you to some hidden gems. These walks are tailored to all levels of fitness & provide you with a wide choice of scenery & surroundings, to help you select a walk that suits you we have graded them on a star rating for Exersion Levels, Exposure, Scenery & Wildlife & explain these below.
Paul Hodges
The Siabod Challenge

In short this is a six peak circuit starting and ending at The Moel Siabod Café. It takes in 3No. 3,000 peaks (Snowdon, Glyder Fawr & Glyder Fach) as well as 3No. 2,000 peaks (Moel Siabod, Y Foel Goch & Gallt yr Ogof). The total ascent amounts to 8800 feet & covers approximately 23 miles.

This is a serious challenge in every sense of the word & should only be contemplated by those who are experienced in the mountains & used to bagging several peaks in a day. The seeds of this walk were sown in early 2011 when I began my own preparation for tackling the Welsh 3000’s which was ultimately successful because of this type of preparation. Before finalising this route I had previously done a couple of clockwise versions (not including Glyder Fawr) but have decided that an Anti-clockwise route should form the challenge because it would make Moel Siabod the final peak to be conquered. As I strived to complete it (on of all things April Fool’s Day) I realised just how hard the final climb up Siabod from Pen y Gwryd, on tired legs, was & that the title of ‘The Siabod Challenge’ fits the bill perfectly.

The challenge is to complete the route in 3 to 4 Season Boots & with all recommended walking kit/supplies in a time faster than I have achieved. This is currently 8 Hours & 24 Minutes.

If successful there will be a free drink & piece of cake of your choice waiting for you at our Café as well as the chance to have your name posted on our leader board. But whatever your time there will of course be a very warm welcome & congratulations from Dorina & Gaby!

It should go without saying that you should be properly equipped with gear & skills as well as levels of fitness to not only enjoy the challenge but also avoid getting into un-necessary difficulties. This is a demanding walk whatever the weather conditions.

To help us update our Challenge leader board & for safety we would ask that you check in & out with Dorina at the start & finish. We would also ask you to consider our optional entry fee of £1 donated to The Mountain Rescue Team, this can be deposited in the collection jar on our counter.
I wish you luck. Please do not beat my time by too much or too often as I would prefer not to try & set a stiffer target anytime soon!


‘but those with energy to burn could more easily jog the flatter sections of The Miners as it returns to Pen y Pass….. I chose not to jog this fearing I might lose energy for the climb up Siabod…. a good choice for me but feel free to take a riskier approach.’

Guidance Timings

I list below my split times simply to help you draw your own conclusions as to whether it’s better to ease off & consider bail out options or whether to slog on for that drink & cake.

Gallt yr Ogof Summit: 1:04

Y Foel Goch Summit: 1:14

Glyder Fach Summit: 1:42

Glyder Fawr Summit: 2:05

Pen y Pass: 2:39

Snowdon Summit: 3:53

Pen y Pass: 4:52

Moel Siabod Summit: 6:27

Finish Time: 7:03:25

Minimum Suggested Kit List

  • Map & Compass
  • Waterproofs
  • Bivvy Bag or shelter
  • Head Torch
  • First Aid Kit
  • Additional Spare Food & Water

NB. In an emergency: Call 999, ask for The Police & then Mountain Rescue

Siabod Challenge

Target 8:23:20, Record 8:23:20, Recent Challengers Will Searle successful, Fraser Mackay & Dorina Savu DNF but did well.

01/07/2013 Will Searle 11:35
31.07.2012 Rob S. & Guy Warren 9:40:00
Paul Hodges lowered these times during training for the Welsh 1,000 metre peak race’ in 2013 & 2014
Exertion Rating 5 out of 5 Exposure Rating 5 out of 5 Scenery 5 out of 5 Nature 5 out of 5
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