On the way home from the call-out below, the Team Land-Rover was re-tasked to help our neighbouring Team, South Snowdonia Search and Rescue Team search for missing offroaders in the Trawsfynydd area. The missing men were found just as Mobile 2 reached the search control.
At around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday 30th Jan, Call-Handlers from Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team were made aware of a couple of walkers stranded by darkness on Cadair Idris.
The two men, both from Aberystwyth had planned to climb the mountain, but had ended up starting out later than intended. Keen to reach the summit, they found they had run out of daylight on the descent. Crossing the outflow from Llyn Cau, the men had both got wet, and with no lighting they quickly lost the route. Both were adequately dressed for a day on the mountain, but with little extra equipment to draw on in terms of clothing, food or shelter, these circumstances began to have a serious effect on their condition. One of the men in particular became extremely cold and was unable to continue, fortunately at a position with a phone signal, and a call to the emergency services was made.
A party of two Rescue Team volunteers made their way quickly up the mountain, and were able to quickly find and stabilise the condition of the men, whilst other volunteers made their way to the location with the equipment that might be needed to get the men down. The men were placed in a "Group Shelter," a kind of tent-without-poles which warms up very quickly, given food and changed into dry warm clothing. The coldest of the pair was clearly hypothermic, and for a while it seemed like he would need a stretcher extraction off the hill, but with the warming effects of the shelter and clothing, along with a bit of fuel in his system his condition quickly improved and he was ultimately able to walk off under his own steam.
Team member Graham O'Hanlon, one of the first on-scene, said "I'm fairly sure all of us at some time or other have experienced "summit-fever," the irresistible desire to reach the top no matter what the cost, so we have an understanding of the motivations here. It takes discipline to turn back when the peak seems like it is almost in reach, but this incident shows how easily and rapidly the situation can deteriorate into something life-threatening. When heading into the hills at this time of year, it is particularly important to plan timings carefully and to carry equipment such as extra food and clothing, along with a group shelter in case similar circumstances arise."
At around 3:45 p.m. the Team was requested to assist a crag-fast walker in the Blue-Lake area above Fairbourne.
The man had walked to a position from which he felt unable to continue onwards. His wife had been able to get down to the road and was able to direct rescuers to his location. Rescuers were able to quickly reach the man and walk him to safety.
At around 7:30 p.m. call-handlers from the Team received a request from North Wales Police (NWP) for assistance in reaching a stranded motorist at risk in the the very heavy rain and sleet which was falling as snow on higher ground.
A parcel-courier had taken the short cut from Llanymawddwy to Llanuwchllyn over Bwlch y Groes and slipped off the road into a ditch in snowy conditions. The man had then walked several hundred metres to the top of the pass to get a phone signal in order to raise the alarm. NWP did not have a vehicle on hand that was suitable for the prevailing conditions, so, with concerns for the driver's well-being, a NWP Officer proceeded on foot whilst assistance from the Team was sought.
One Team volunteer, living close-by, was quickly on scene to liaise with the NWP Officer and Driver as other Team members made their way in Team and personal 4x4 vehicles. Having got everyone down to a point where road conditions improved, the driver was then escorted to Dolgellau by NWP, leaving his van and the rest of the day's deliveries to be recovered another day.