2023Gazette ArticlesRides

Connections – Snowdon- 29th May – Everest


We travelled up to Deiniolen and on the following day, 29th May 2023, went out for our first Anerley group ride amongst the mountains of Snowdonia. Some 70 years earlier, on 29th May 1953, Edmund Hillary accompanied by Sherpa Tensing, became the first to reach the summit of Everest. This history making event was relayed on foot by a Nepalese messenger to Kathmandu, where a telegram was then sent to the Times newspaper in London. This great achievement by the British Expedition team arrived in time to be released in the early hours of 2nd June, the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953. In addition to this news being made public it was also sent by the Times to the owner of a hotel in Snowdonia.

The Pen Y Gwryd Hotel on the A4086 between the Pen Y Pass and Capel Curig

The owner of the hotel, Christopher Briggs was so pleased to hear the news that he woke up his guests and led them on a pre-dawn, torch light march to the top of Snowdon on that same morning of 2nd June.
You may wonder why the hotel owner was so excited. Well, due to its location to some of the most challenging mountains for climbers, it has been a popular base since the 1890s. In 1952/3 it had been used by the British team during preparation and training for their now successful climb of Everest. In particular it had been key to train on the treacherous rock face and unstable scree of the Tryfan mountain in the Ogwen valley, especially in winter snow. Also to practise using and carrying the heavy oxygen bottles which were so necessary at the extreme altitude of Everest.

The walls of the Pen Y Gwryd Hotel are lined with mementos from the team’s time in residence, and the story of Snowdonia’s role in the conquest of Everest can be seen here:     https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/snowdonias-key-role-everest-conquest-11651132

Our first bike ride in Snowdonia on 29th May took us along the Ogwen Trail, which ended where it joined the main A5 road, opposite the huge lake in the Ogwen valley. You will see photos that our group took in other postings in this month’s Anerley Gazette. The Tryfan mountain climbs up on the other side the A5 and the lake, and is now owned by the National Trust. Their website provides further details of the connection between Tryfan and the climbs of Everest. See https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/wales/carneddau-and-glyderau/walking-and-climbing-on-tryfan , in particular the section entitled “The Freedom of Tryfan”

And one last Welsh connection with Mount Everest.

Mount Everest was named after George Everest, born in Crickhowell, Powys in 1790.

He trained as an engineer and spent most of his career working in India, eventually becoming the Surveyor General of India. Under his guidance a survey of India was made, up to the Nepalese border, taking 35 years and completed in 1841. A later survey by the Royal Geographic Society in 1865, determined by accurate measurement, that the “Peak XV” of the 1841 survey was the highest in the world. It was proposed that in honour of the importance of George Everest’s earlier work and discovery of Peak XV, it should (and is) named Mount Everest.