Idwal Slabs. Photo: Jeremy Bolwell CC-BY-SA-2.0

Idwal Slabs. Photo: Jeremy Bolwell CC-BY-SA-2.0

A group of walkers had a lucky escape after straying on to a climbing route in bad visibility.

The four, aged 26 and 27, from the Dorset and Wiltshire area, had to be rescued after mistakenly starting to descend a rockclimbing route above the Idwal Slabs in Snowdonia.

Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation was alerted at 6.30pm on Saturday when one of the walkers made a 999 call after the group became cragfast.

Chris Lloyd of the rescue team explained: “The group of four young men was well equipped for walking on the mountains. They had climbed Tryfan and then Glyder Fach with the intention of descending the Gribin Ridge back into Ogwen Valley.

“Due to low cloud, they made a navigation error and descended Seniors Ridge. The descent of this ridge requires more skill and navigation otherwise one ends up at the top of the rocks climbs above the Idwal Slabs.

“Not only did the four successfully breach the upper defences of this rock climbing area, they managed to descend the first 30m or so of Tennis Shoe.”

The Tennis Shoe route is a seven-pitch, 160m (525ft) route, rated hard-severe.

“Hanging onto thin holds on the upper reaches of the Idwal Slabs, they telephoned for assistance – the cloud having lifted to expose the ground or lack of it, beneath them,” Mr Lloyd continued.

Four rescue team members were sent up the descent route to the top of the route. They set up a rope system to lower a team member to the group of four.

Mr Lloyd said: “When he arrived at the group, he immediately secured them to the rock face. A lowering system was set up to lower the party in two groups of two down the 100 metres to the reception party at the base of the slabs.

“Also at the bottom of the slabs was a rucksack containing the group’s car keys. This had made its own way down!

“The group of four was brought to Oggi Base at Bryn Poeth for hot drinks, a warm up and a debrief.”

The incident was closed at about half past midnight in the early hours of Sunday.

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