Will Searle of Plas Curig Hostel completes his first Siabod Challenge

On Monday 1st July 3 determined walkers set off from the Café with the aim of completing the Siabod challenge. All were well known to me, my partner, Dorina, Fraser Mackay the feisty 63 year old who successfully summitted Mera & Island peaks with me amongst many other adventures together & a young buck called Will Searle who last year completed the Welsh 3,000’s in approx. 13 hours & believes his next attempt will shave quite a lot of that. Alas I could not join them to begin with as Ross & Sheila were coming to the café to show me the ropes for the Siabod race this coming Saturday.

Ross & Sheila were most helpful & spent the morning with me including a jog halfway up Siabod & back. Once back at the café I phoned Dorina to find out how they were getting on. Despite an initial 3 hours of rain they seemed in good spirits after an early lunch & were just setting off for their third climb of the day, Glyder Fach. Working things out it looked unlikely that I could shoot up the Miners track & catch them before they got to Pen y Pass so my plan was to wait an hour park at Pen y Gwryd & then ascend up to Pen y Pass & the lower sections of the Red Dot Path to find a good viewing station to watch their decent of Glyder Fawr. This worked well as Dorina phoned me as soon as I’d found the ideal position & they came into view 5 minutes later. Must admit they surprised me with their decent line but they got down safely with a few scratched bottoms. A well deserved rest followed before Dorina rightly decided to pull out (a full week ahead in the café with the race & our music night ahead is not ideally prepared for by doing the full challenge) having done the 4 peaks on The Glyders.

My fresher legs joined Fraser’s & Will’s as we began to climb Snowdon via The Pyg track at 14:45. We made steady progress but closing in on the Zig-Zags Fraser’s legs finally began to feel the weight of the 6 peaks he & I had done on the Northern side of The Glyders the day before. At the summit Plan C was devised, Fraser would get his 6th peak in by knocking off Crib y Dysgl & then descend to rendezvous with Dorina at 19:00 at Pen y Pass (Dorina having earlier picked up my car from Pen y Gwryd. Will & I would continue with the challenge & set off from the café at approx. 17:00.

A slower decent than expected down the Miners Track led us to break into a jog from Pen y Pass to Pen y Gwryd, fair play for that Will who now knew I had one eye on my watch with thoughts of a Mixed Grill at Tyn y Coed. With weather closing in a little the ascent of Siabod went well despite it’s gruelling length & steeper early sections to reach the ridge line, with a rumbling stomach I was pushing hard initially but we eased off a little as we began to realise the achievement Will was nearing. Reaching the summit in good time (1 Hour 30 Minutes) all objectives were possible, it was now 19:45, Tyn y Coed would still be serving by the time we got down & Will’s first Siabod Challenge would be in the bag. We jogged off the mountain proper before rounding it off with a pleasant walk through the forest with the sun now warming our backs. Reaching the café at 20:35 Dorina & Fraser were there to welcome us in & give Will a well deserved pat on the back. His time of 11 Hours 35 Minutes was excellent but with comments like ‘this is a great route based over some great mountains’ it is clear that Will plans to lower this time in the not too distant future.

A great day had by all involved, Fraser can count 12 Summits in 2 days, Dorina did very well considering how seldom she gets out on the Hills for a proper walk (Café has a down side for her but we are trying to sort that over time), Will became only the 4th person to complete the Siabod Challenge, despite sore feet he was looking a good shape at the end. As for me, I had the pleasure of seeing them all enjoying a route I’d conceived originally when preparing for my first 3,000’s back in 2011.

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