A father and his 11-year-old son were rescued from Wales’s highest mountain after a major overnight search lasting more than nine hours.
Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team described the rescue on Snowdon as a very demanding callout – its second nine-hour night-time rescue in two days.
The team’s incident controller Phil Benbow said the man and boy, from the Midlands, were poorly equipped and dressed in shorts and trainers inappropriate for wandering off any mountain path even in summer.
The father and son were found on very steep and dangerous ground near Bwlch y Saethau on Snowdon’s steep east face. Mr Benbow said they were ‘very fortunate’.
He said the pair set off up the Llanberis Path at 2pm yesterday, heading for the 1,085m (3,560ft) summit, but hit misty conditions at the Halfway Café.
Mr Benbow said: “They continued to ascend but soon lost the path and never reached the summit of Snowdon.
“They wandered the slopes for hours until in darkness at 9pm they called 999 having found themselves on very steep and dangerous ground with no idea of the route taken to get there.
“The rescue team had great difficulty in locating the pair because of darkness and the very dense mist in a potentially very dangerous search area.
“This was a very demanding call out and it took a long time to reach the pair. Thankfully the weather was relatively warm.”
There were strong winds on the mountain and it was drizzling.
They were found at 3am and it took the team another three hours to walk them down the Watkin Path to safety. 16 team members were involved in the rescue.
Mr Benbow said: “This was the team’s 100th call out this year, and for the second night running it involved nearly 150 person-hours in locating the pair in very poor weather on extremely steep ground.
“This was the second extended rescue within two days when the team has had to respond to badly planned excursions.
“This second incident highlights the need for basic map skills and an understanding of what the mountain can throw at badly prepared individuals. The ill-prepared should be very wary of the consequences of their lack of planning and preparation.
“This pair was indeed very fortunate.”
The Llanberis team said walkers heading for the mountains should carry and know how to use a map and compass.
They should be prepared to change plans and return another day when weather conditions are better.
The team said returning on a known path is much safer than continuing into unknown ground and pointed out that, though their mobile phone gave the pair some compass directions, mobile signals cannot be relied upon the mountains.
Even in July appropriate clothing and footwear is necessary, it added. Mist and strong winds make locating casualties far more difficult.
It pointed out further guidance is available on its website.