Following the introduction of thirteen engraved pillars placed in strategic places over mount Snowdon, there have been several arguments questioning the idea and placement of them. The pillars were designed and placed to help lower the number of emergencies that the Llanberis Mountain Rescue team have to deal with due to lost walkers.
Many mountaineers are angry with the erected stone pillars as they lead to a “dumbing down” of the hills, which could also prove as a double edged sword – as they believe that it will also make new walkers to the mountain “complacent” in their experiences on he mountain.
The pillars are waist high and the only information on them is a name, a small arrow and a distance in meters – and while waymarking in Europe is commonplace, British national parks have resisted their introduction. There have been a number of reported emergencies taking place over mount Snowdon over the past few years, although some believe that walkers should take more care and be more prepared before taking to the mountains.
The pillars are placed at the base of the six main paths, with their names engraved on the surface. This will eventually be followed by the placement of other stone pillars placed in places that have been problematic in the past.
The most recognised and dangerous paths on Snowdon are the Bwlch-y-Moch and Crib Goch, which will be marked to encourage people to not go onto these routes by mistake. Another pillar is placed at the intersection of the Llanberis Path and Snowdon Ranger Path, as it is often mixed up by walkers. The summit will have a pillar to accurately define where the Watkin Path begins. There will also be a stone pillar at the summit to identify Blwch-y-Saethau as walkers often make the mistake of descending the mountain in this dangerous way.
The stones are placed on the Llanberis, Rhyd-Ddu, Snowdon Ranger and Watkin Paths, as well as on the Miners Track and the Pyg Track.
Quotes AGAINST the pillars:
“Snowdon is still really a special, special environment. There are two different worlds next to each other on Snowdon – bits of it have been colonised and softened and urbanised. But I really don’t want that colonisation go any further.
“There are still lots of places you can go on Snowdon that are wild and remote and spectacular, that have that original character. My worry is, what we are going to be talking about in 20 years’ time? Hand rails on Crib Goch? Where does it end?
“I’m sympathetic to the Mountain Rescuers. They have to cope with a lot. But it won’t help to reduce accidents. The more you put things which belong in urban environments on a mountain like that, the more you make people feel as if it’s safe, when it’s never going to be. You’re almost tricking them. It will attract more people, and there will be more and more accidents.” Simon Panton, BMC member
“My personal view of any “dumbing down” of the hills is that I’m against it. There is a risk that it could become a slippery slope, that it could spread to other mountains in the region. There is a worry that when people come here, they think right, we’ve done Snowdon now, let’s go up Tryfan, then in two years time you’re having the same discussion about way marks there.” Tom Hutton, chair of the North Wales area of the BMC