The concept of microadventure is about doing something new, challenging yourself and pushing beyond the limits of your comfort zone. I am not an acrophobic, afraid of heights, yet I do suffer from height vertigo which results in dizziness and a spinning sensation when at height, or more accurately, when faced with exposure. So for me taking on Snowdons’ infamous Crib Goch ridge was certainly an extreme challenge, and more than worthy of the title of a microadventure.The information board at the base of Snowdon warns of Crib Goch: “Extremely dangerous and should not be attempted be novice walkers.” Given Snowdon is such a popular tourist spot we suspected the actual level of danger wouldn’t be high and this was an exaggeration to deter walkers from attempting this route and ease the burden on Mountain Rescue. With hindsight, it’s fair to say this was no exaggeration whatsoever, as the numerous walkers who have died on the ridge would testify. Crib Goch. Imagine a mountain strewn landscape akin to any of the very best in the world. Imagine overlooking this landscape on a mountain high amidst the clouds. Imagine a razor sharp ridge of rock barely a few inches wide in places. Imagine sitting legs astride this ridge, below each dangling foot a near sheer 800 metre drop. Now imagine standing up! Our three hour, unrelenting scramble along the knife-edge arête was broken only by the requirement to climb vertical rock buttresses above perilous drops to the valley floor far below. Even after completing Crib Goch the ridge up to Garnedd Ugain provided some challenging scrambling but, what would normally be some pretty daunting exposure, felt rather comfortable in comparison to what had come before.
But as a path finally materialised and the terrain flattened somewhat, I had the opportunity to stand, adrenaline pulsing through my veins, looking back along the epic ridge with the immense satisfaction of knowing what I had accomplished. A year ago, before I began to seek out microadventures, I would never have dreamed of being able to tackle such an exposed ridge. But slowly, the more mountaineering I have undertaken and the more I have sought out challenging scrambling routes then the more I have become acclimatised to exposure.If you’re interested in taking on the challenge of Crib Goch as part of the Snowdon Horsehoe you can follow an excellent route guide by Trekking Britain here.
At various points along the ridge both myself and Jim voiced our appreciation for the Mountain Rescue service. Knowing that this dedicated voluntary service would be on hand should an accident occur was highly reassuring. If you’re interested in reading the startling truth about this remarkable service please click here.