There have been lots of stories this weekend about toilet problems on Snowdon. This isn’t a new problem however the issues being reported over the bank holiday Easter weekend are hugely exaggerated. We work closely with the Snowdonia National Park volunteer wardens and are out regularly throughout the season chatting to hikers and picking up litter. Thankfully it’s very rare that we come across the problems being talked about currently.
However we do understand that if you’re planning on climbing Snowdon you’re likely to need to ‘go’ at some point during your adventure. So we thought we’d share some tips about how to go to the toilet when hiking up Snowdon.
Going to the loo is something we all do every day and usually without much thought but if you’re half way up Snowdon and several hours walk away from a toilet it suddenly becomes a bigger issue. Of course, it’s usually more of a concern for women than it might be for men who find it easier to go anywhere. There are a few rules and useful tips that might help when going to the toilet on the mountain.
In ‘normal times’ we’re very lucky on Snowdon to have the Snowdon Summit Visitor Centre known as Hafod Eryri. It has a cafe, souvenir shop and most importantly, toilets however it should never be relied on as the summit facilities aren’t always open. It usually opens for the season from late Spring until the last weekend in October but will be closed on bad weather days. Unfortunately, due to delays to access work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hafod Eryri visitor centre and its toilets will remain closed in 2022.
The worst thing you can do whilst out hiking is trying to avoid going to the toilet by not drinking. Taking on water during your mountain day is essential. You may be able to get by on a shorter walk but inevitably you’re going to be walking uphill, sweating fluids and burning energy so it’s vital to stay hydrated.
Anyone with young kids knows that you never leave home without making them go to the toilet and it’s no different for you! Each of the main Snowdon summit paths have public toilets at the start. They may not be the best (you’re likely to have to fight off a spider or two) but they’re better than nothing so be sure you go before you start your summit hike. You can find more out more about public toilets in Snowdonia at https://snowdonia.gov.wales/visit/plan-your-visit/toilets-and-facilities/
However, there’s often no avoiding it; you’re going to need a wee at some point during your day on Snowdon so it’s important to find the right place to go. For the gents it might just be walking a few metres away from the path, and waiting for others to go out of sight. Always try to get as far off the path as possible. Nobody wants to see a pool of wee (or worse) as they’re walking along the Llanberis Path. Avoid places where walkers might take a rest stop for the same reason. This is even more important for the busy paths such as the Pyg Track or Snowdon Ranger Path. Imagine the smell if hundreds of people did their business in the same spot every day. Never wee in to or close to running water as you don’t know who might be drinking that water further down stream.
For ladies you’re going to want a bit more privacy however this can be easier said than done particularly on the main paths during busy summer weekends. Just like the advice above for the men, move away from the path everyone is walking along and aim for that big rock! You must take any used toilet paper or tissues home with you. Try to be well prepared and bring a bag with you. On an overnight expedition you might dig a hole and burn the paper but this isn’t really practical on a day out on Snowdon. Nobody wants to see toilet paper littering the mountain.
If you’re walking as part of a larger group don’t be shy. You don’t need to explicitly say what you’re doing. Just say something like “I’ll catch you up” – people understand what’s going on.
Number twos are going to be a bit trickier. Most of us can go out for a day’s hike without needing to worry too much about this. However an upset tummy or a big curry the night before can play havoc with your insides. There really is no easy solution here. Again, on multi-day trips, you’ll carry a small plastic spade so you can dig a hole, do your business and bury it (after burning any toilet roll/tissues). This isn’t something I’d suggest you need to carry with you routinely.
The same principles apply though. If you really have to go, move well off the path you’re walking on, find something for privacy, use whatever you can to dig the best hole possible, do your what you need to do then cover it up. If you’ve used toilet paper or tissues you must burn and bury them or ideally take them away with you. Never just leave them behind.
Of course, don’t forget your personal hygiene. Remember to clean your hands using antibacterial hand sanitiser.