How to climb Snowdon at home
During the lockdown I’ve been really inspired by all the challenges that people have been doing from home. I’ve seen Becky the Traveller doing all sorts of things from camping in the garden to trekking to Everest base camp and Iona Adventuring hiking the Pentland Hills on her stairs so I thought I’d give it a go myself and try to climb Snowdon from home.
I chose Snowdon because I’ve never actually done this peak in real life (although I really want to!). I’ve visited the Snowdonia National Park lots of times but I’ve never done Snowdon.
I set myself up on a Sunday morning to climb to the top – using only my stair case at home. I put a couple of things in my day backpack including extra layers (which I absolutely would not need!), some jelly beans for energy and, of course, water.
The good thing about doing this from home is that if you need a top up of water, you can just go and get one from the kitchen and if you need a toilet break you can just go to the bathroom – no need for a she-wee!
How to work out how many steps to do
Ok, so here’s the science part! To be as accurate as you can be (and if you have time on your hands!), measure the height of one of your stairs (mine was 23cm) and then multiply this by how many steps you have (13 for me).
23 x 13 = 299
Then convert the height you would like to climb from metres to centimetres. Snowdon height is 1,085m above sea level which converts to 108,500cm.
So then divide this by the height of your stairs.
108,500 / 299 = 363
This gives you the number of reps of your staircase that you’ll have to do, so then multiply this by the number of stairs you have to get the actual number of steps you’ll need to do.
363 x 13 = 4,719
I then multiplied this by two as you only count the up stairs to get to the top of the mountain, so I thought that it would be easier to track this way.
It took me about two and a half hours in total, with a couple of little rests on the way.
I got my calculations from Becky the Traveller’s blog post which also has lots of helpful information about how to complete your challenge so head over there too if you’re planning to climb a mountain on your stairs.
If you don’t want to work it out this way, you could google how many steps/how far it is to the top of Snowdon and then work this out in steps. Remember, it’s your challenge you can do it however you want to!
There are several different routes up Snowdon including the Wern Watkin path and the Llanberis path, so if you’d like to do the challenge a couple of times, you could do each different path.
If you live in a flat or bungalow where you don’t have a flight of stairs, try using just one step (eg. your doorstep or stepping up onto something), or if you find the elevation hard, you could try just walking around your home or garden (think Captain Sir Tom Moore!).
How to keep track of your steps
I kept track of my steps using my phone’s step counter. I know this isn’t really the most accurate method, so I added a couple of hundred steps onto the end of my challenge just to make sure I was covered – I’d only be cheating myself after all! You could also use a FitBit, pedometer (old school!) or anything else that tracks your steps.
You can also count them more manually. If you have a brain that can keep super focussed (I do not!) you could count the reps in your head or you could have a piece of paper at the top of the stairs and mark a tally of all the reps you’ve done on here.
How to stop yourself from getting bored
The thing about hiking steps rather than a mountain is that it’s actually pretty boring. You just have to keep staring at the same four walls, rather than the amazing scenery that we’re used to on hikes.
Plus, the terrain is always the same! It’s the same elevation constantly and there’s absolutely no scrambling involved!
Podcasts are a good way to pass the time. The soundtrack to my hike was Sleuth, a true crime podcast which I’m absolutely hooked on. If music is more your thing then pop on a high energy playlist to get you through. You could even watch a box set – just pop a laptop or iPad at the top of the stairs and get Netflix on.
If your stair case is straight like mine, you’ll be able to see the iPad, even right at the bottom of the stairs!
How to keep motivated
When you’re climbing a mountain, you can often see the top for quite a long way before you get there, so that really spurs you on to reach the summit. Unfortunately you won’t have this at home (because when you reach the top of the stairs you have to go straight back down again!) so you need to find new ways to motivate yourself.
I started to give myself a little jelly bean reward after every 10 reps of the staircase. This gave me something to look forward to and remembering to keep count of the reps kept me distracted.
Don’t look at the number of steps you’ve done too often, it will only bring you down if you haven’t done as many as you thought you had. I set a timer for each half hour and only looked at the steps when the timer went off.
One good thing about doing a stair case challenge is that you don’t need to check the weather forecast! If you’re a fair weather hiker, the weather inside will suit you just fine!
I’m not going to lie – I found this challenge pretty hard, both physically and mentally. I was the colour of a beetroot and dripping with sweat after about 10 minutes and my legs were like jelly once I’d finished. I also found it quite boring so I really had to focus to carry on with it. But I felt great once I’d finished it – the exercise was great and putting my mind to something and finishing it made me feel good. A definite boost which was well needed during lockdown when there didn’t seem to be much to look forward to.
This challenge is absolutely no match for a day in the mountains, and I will never take a proper hike for granted again. But while epic adventures are on hold for now, this will just have to be the next best thing.
If you decide to take on the staircase challenge and climb Snowdon from home then let me know!