It's still winter on Snowdon, Llanberis MRT said. Photo: Steve Cadman CC-BY-SA-2.0

It's still winter on Snowdon, Llanberis MRT said. Photo: Steve Cadman CC-BY-SA-2.0

Experts are warning that Snowdonia’s mountains are still full winter conditions and will stay that way over the Easter holiday.

Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team said anyone heading for the high mountains of the national park should have the appropriate winter gear, including ice-axe and crampons, and the knowledge to use it.

The team covers Snowdon which, at 1,085m (3,560ft) is the highest mountain in Wales and England and a magnet for walkers, often less experienced hill-goers.

But the rescuers issued a joint statement with the British Mountaineering Council warning of the serious nature of the area’s hills.

They said: “Hillwalkers and climbers need to be realistic about the seriousness of the Snowdonia mountains at this popular time of year, and of the need to match knowledge and experience to mountaineering objectives.

“Easter in Snowdonia is popular with groups travelling from further afield.”

But the statement said anyone heading to Snowdonia is being encouraged to give serious consideration to a mountain checklist.

They should check the mountain weather forecasts and take advantage of Twitter feeds from Safe Snowdonia, and Welsh Winter.

“These messages warn of possible hazards, ground conditions and observations from other mountain users,” they said, adding: “Be realistic about your ability to interpret and act upon weather forecasts.

“If winter conditions persist then crampons and ice-axe and knowledge of how to use them will be essential.

“Car parks fill up quickly, so consider using the public transport from key access areas like Llanberis.

“Plan routes carefully and consider that many of the paths could be covered by hard, icy snow.”

Anyone visiting the hills should also read the winter-safety pages on the British Mountaineering Council and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland website.

“Day length increases at this time of year, but it is still easy to be caught out after dark. Everyone in a group should carry a head torch and spare set of batteries or a spare head torch with new batteries.

“Be aware of everyone else in your group and don’t allow your group to get separated in poor visibility.

“Never be afraid to turn back. The most important objective of a day in the mountains is for there to be more days in the mountains in the future.”

The MountainSafe partnership, of which the rescue team is a member added that the Snowdon Mountain Railway would be closed over Easter, as would the Hafod Eryri cafe on the summit

The railway line is banked out with hard snow and crosses above the large steep cliffs of Clogwyn Coch.

MountainSafe added there are sub-zero temperatures as low as –10C, with windchill making things feel even colder. Hard and frozen snow is covering exposed slopes and there is deep unstable snow in sheltered areas.

Footpaths are buried under consolidated hard snow and sheltered slopes are becoming avalanche prone.

The partnership advises the use of a helmet and goggles as well as ice-axe and crampons.

It added that whiteout conditions will happen on cloudy days, when the ground will become undistinguishable from the sky, and cliff edges will have cornices, and will be difficult to see in poor visibility.

  • An avalanche warning has also been issued by a mountain rescue team in the Lake District.

Scafell Pike, another honeypot mountain – the highest peak in England – has been subject to ideal avalanche conditions, with windblown snow in gullies approaching the summit ridge.

Mickledore, which separates Scafell Pike from its neighbour Scafell, is particularly prone to avalanche, Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team said.

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