The Welsh 3000s is the most revered hill walking challenge in the UK. With 15 peaks to complete within 24 hours, it is more challenging than The Three Peaks Challenge of Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike.
Known also as the “15 Peaks Challenge” (and also, confusingly, the “14 Peaks Challenge”), to complete The Welsh 3000s walkers must stand at the top of all fifteen 3000ft peaks (914.4m) within a 24 hour period without using any transport. Or is it all fourteen
peaks? Let’s clarify! Carnedd Gwenllian isn’t always included in the challenge as it is the shortest peak and not considered by many to be a separate summit in its own right. To confuse matters further, there is also an option to include a sixteenth peak, Castell y Gwynt
in the Glyder range. Let’s move on!
The 15 peaks – yes, we’re leaving it at 15 - are located across 3 mountain ranges in North Wales; Snowdon, Glyderau and Carneddau. From the first peak to the last, the distance to be covered is approximately 26 miles. If you add in the walk to reach the start and finish, this increases to 30 miles. Many fell runners challenge themselves to complete The Welsh 3000s in under 12 hours. The current record for completing the challenge is 4 hours, 10 minutes and 48 seconds (from first peak to the last) set very recently in May 2019 by Finlay Wild.
Anyone looking to break Finlay Wild’s record must follow the rule of beginning the challenge on Snowdon although many walkers prefer the route that begins at Crib Goch, then heading to Garnedd Ugain before tackling Snowdon. Some of those wishing to take part in the challenge sleep on Snowdon the night before while others ascend Snowdon on the Mountain Railway, ready to start their challenge from the summit.
Which peaks form The Welsh 3OOOs?
This is the list of peaks that are to be completed in the challenge in suggested route order:
- Snowdon: 3,559ft (1,085m)
- Garnedd Ugain: 3,494ft (1,065m)
- Crib Goch: 3,028ft (923m)
- Elidir Fawr: 3,031ft (924m)
- Y Garn: 3,106ft (947m)
- Glyder Fawr: 3,284ft (1,001m)
- Castell y Gwynt: 3,188ft (972m) — if included (no. 16!)
- Glyder Fach: 3,261ft (994m)
- Tryfan: 3,011ft (918m)
- Pen yr Ole Wen: 3,208ft (978m)
- Carnedd Dafydd: 3,425ft (1,044m)
- Carnedd Llewelyn: 3,490ft (1,064 m)
- Yr Elen: 3,156ft (962m)
- Foel Grach: 3,202ft (976m)
- Carnedd Gwenllian: 3,038ft (926m) — if included (no.15!)
- Foel-fras: 3,090ft (942m)
How difficult is The Welsh 3000s Challenge?
The Welsh 3000s should not be underestimated! The fitness required simply to walk 26 - 30 miles in 24 hours is a challenge in itself. Add in 15 ascents and descents, each over 3000ft, and you have the recipe for an extremely tough challenge. It’s not for the faint hearted, or the inexperienced walker.
The terrain is very rocky and demanding and there are dangerous sections such as Crib Goch which is very exposed and tragically the location of several fatalities. For walkers who are unfamiliar with Snowdonia, navigation can also be tricky.
Many people take on The Welsh 3000s as a multiple day challenge – usually three days - which obviously reduces the intensity, but not the difficulty.
How do I go about completing The Welsh 3000s?
Experienced climbers can complete The Welsh 3000s on their own, or as a private group if they would rather do so. For those who are sufficiently experienced, but would rather be part of an organised group, there are several event management companies who run regular climbs. Here are just three of them:
What do I need to take with me when undertaking The Welsh 3000s?
supply a wide range of essential clothing
and backpacking essentials
for a successful and safe attempt at completing The Welsh 3000s.
Obviously your clothing of choice will depend on the conditions, but it is always advisable to adopt the art of layering
your clothing. At BCH Camping we can provide you with
Should you be looking for supreme comfort in your clothing, the BCH Camping stores
in Trowbridge, Chippenham and Bath each have a Paramo 'shop in shop', and the range is also fully available via the website
Your choice of footwear must reflect the tough terrain of the Welsh 3000s. You will need a sturdy boot that allows you to negotiate the intricacies and unpredictability of the rocky and demanding surfaces underfoot. There are many options available, along with accessories, in the BCH Camping footwear ranges:
The equipment and supplies you take with you can make the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful challenge. You should consider carefully what you need to take because whilst you don’t want to carry unnecessary weight, you do need to manage your own safety and be sufficiently prepared. You will obviously find you need more equipment if you plan to sleep under canvas on Snowdon before beginning the challenge. BCH Camping can supply everything you need that is appropriate for your plans:
Have you been inspired to take on The Welsh 3000s challenge?
If you’ve been inspired to head out and tackle 14, 15 or maybe 16 peaks within 24 hours in the spectacular Snowdonia National Park, let us know
! We’re always keen to hear the stories of our customers and subscribers. Likewise, if there is anything you would like us to cover in future blogs, just get in touch
. All ideas welcome!