If you’re a regular reader, follower of our’s on Twitter or a friend or family member, you would have been well aware of our Raising for Grayson challenge, to climb Snowdon via the Llanberis path last month. A group of us decided we would be climbing Snowdon to raise vital funds for a very good friend of ours, little boy. Unfortunately due to health issues and unforeseen events the team grew smaller until it was just Clara and I facing the mountain.
After weeks of research I was certain we were ready for the challenge. The Llanberis path is the easiest but longest of the paths. It doesn’t present any scary cliff hanging moments, but it is still a climb of 3,198 ft. Neither of us had undertaken any mountain climbing previously and our fitness training, although started, hadn’t got us as fit as we’d hoped. But we love a challenge and are truly committed to raising as much as we can for Grayson, so August 24th 2014 we climbed a mountain.
My parents were incredibly supportive and not only drove us to and from Wales, they also built a holiday round the challenge so that we wouldn’t be in the car for another 6 hours after our climb. My mum and sister very kindly looked after M, whilst my Dad drove us the 45 minutes from our cottage to the station near the start of the Llanberis path. We were both quite apprehensive as we didn’t know what to expect.
Both armed with backpacks full of rain macs/waterproof trousers/lunch/water and GoPro we headed up the tarmac path which takes you to the official start of the Llanberis path. Now this path was steep with a capital S! We had to stop a couple of times to take in the view (catch our breath), but thankfully those around us were stopping too, so we didn’t feel too unfit. Once started we got into a nice stride and after only just over and hour and a half we made it to the half way house.
The halfway house is a small little cafe with one toilet manned by two
bouncers children. There was a toilet charge or you had to purchase something. Luckily I was quite thirsty so a Lucozade later, I was allowed to use the toilet. At this point we received a couple of texts from Kara and Sian letting us know how much we had raised and offering words of encouragement. This really helped our spirits and gave us an extra spring in our step.
After eating our sandwiches we began the second half of the ascent. This proved very quickly to be the trickier of the two. At points Clara was several metres in front of me as my left hip decided to start whinging at the exercise I was subjecting it too. But we rallied each other on and continued climbing, occasionally stopping to take in the stunning views.
As the climb grew a bit tougher and our hearts were working very well, we stopped to speak to a gentleman on his way back down the mountain. He reassured us that we were just over an hour from the top. This gave us the push to keep on moving and soon we could just about see the final few slopes before the busy climb to the summit.
Still about 40 minutes from the top the clouds rolled in. What was once a stunning gorgeous view of rolling mountains was now just white. Then the rain started, heavy, cold and wet, very very wet rain. That’s the problem with rain, all that water! It has a way of finding itself in places you don’t want it to be, like inside your so called WATERPROOF jacket. We popped on the hats and gloves my mum had given us, which were a life saver *thanks mum* and continued to the summit.
As we got nearer the top it got busier and colder and all our concentration went into not slipping on the massive boulders to the summit. I started to think about the videos Kara had shared of Grayson climbing his own mountain every day, this helped push me to the top. Once at the summit there are a few final stairs to climb to reach the highest point. Clara and I stepped up to the summit together and instantly felt so emotional, we had climbed a mountain and raised money for a little superhero.
After a short stop in the cafe at the top, we bought some dry tops and started our journey back to the bottom of the mountain. As we got a few minutes from the summit the clouds cleared and the view was breathtaking. Our descent was quite quick and soon we were ringing my mum to let her know we were nearly at the bottom. I found coming down quite a struggle with my right knee, but the pain in my hip had disappeared.
As we left the Llanberis path we spotted my Dad waiting for us with outstretched arms. I could hardly climb into the car but was full of such a sense of pride. Reading all the tweets on the way back to the cottage was so lovely, seeing the support and reading how everyone had got behind Raising for Grayson was great.
It took our bodies a couple of days to recover, but we have definitely been bitten by the mountain climbing bug, that won’t be the last mountain we climb, for sure!
Raising for Grayson is a fund raising effort to raise vital funds to help Grayson receive important apparatus he requires. If you would like to donate you can via PayPal over at Raising for Grayson. Massive thanks to all those whom have already donated.