The team was alerted to three incidents on Tryfan. Photo: Terry Hughes CC-BY-SA-2.0

The team was alerted to three incidents on Tryfan. Photo: Terry Hughes CC-BY-SA-2.0

A climber called out mountain rescue after waiting five hours on a Snowdonia summit when his two companions got lost on a route.

Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation members responded after the group of three, in their late 20s and from the South of England, got into difficulties on Tryfan on Wednesday.

Chris Lloyd of the rescue team said members were returning from a 4×4 training course in the evening when they were alerted to the incident.

The three climbers were attempting a rock-climbing route on the mountain. He said: “After a miserable start to the day which deterred them from climbing in the Llanberis Pass, they opted for the easier but longer classic route of Grooved Arête, on the East Face of Tryfan.

“After the first pitch, one member decided to abseil off and scramble to the summit via the South Ridge. The other two continued the climb but lost the route just below the Knight’s move. Their colleague had reached the summit and patiently awaited their arrival – for five hours.

“Without mobile phone contact and without responses to his shouts, he made the 999 call at about 8.45pm

“Team members made visual and telephone contact with the two on the East Face, but mobile phone battery life was short lived. They were instructed to make their way to the Eastern Traverse at the top of the rock climbs.

“Meanwhile two hill parties of two were dispatched. One went to collect the lone man on the summit and the other to locate the two rock-climbers. After some searching, they were located down Green Gully.

“They were invited to climb back up to the Eastern Traverse, from where they were shown the descent via the North Ridge.

“A late start, damp rock, a route-finding error, low battery life on their phone and the lack of torches resulted in this callout.”

The rescue was one of five incidents for the Ogwen Valley MRO this week.

On Thursday the team was alerted by North Wales Police just before 1pm. They received calls from a party on Y Garn who had heard sounds of rock fall and shouts for help.

Mr Lloyd said: “Assistance from the Bristow’s S-92 helicopter was requested and granted. Team members in two parties searched the North-East Ridge and the back of Cwm Idwal in the Devil’s Kitchen area, while the S-92 hovered over the Gribin Ridge, scanning the rather loose scrambles on the East Ridge of Y Garn with its forward looking infrared camera.

“Nothing was found and no further shouts were heard.

“A passing group mentioned that some people had been running down some screes with shouts of delight, so this might well have been the source.”

The team was called out for the second time that day about 4pm. “Two people telephoned for assistance when they were ‘lost’ on Tryfan,” Mr Lloyd said. “They thought that they were ascending the South Ridge.

“Following a telephone interview with the team leader, it was realised that they were at the foot of the North Tower on the North Ridge. As they were being advised of the descent route, a party of descending hillwalkers passing by was able to escort them safely from the mountain.”

Friday saw another callout to Tryfan, to two parents in their 70s and their son, in his 40s, from the Derby area. They made a route finding error while on the mountain and ended up on steep craggy ground above the Milestone Buttress.

Mr Lloyd said: “Despite a few attempts to retrace their steps and find the correct descent, they were unsuccessful and dialled 999 for mountain rescue shortly after 4pm.

“Team members from the A5 road spotted them and instructed them by telephone to head for the distinct North Ridge path. Here they were met by two team members and escorted down to Oggie Base for a cup of tea and debrief.”

On Saturday about 9.30pm the team was called to help the Welsh Ambulance Service in the Llandudno area, where a 17-year-old girl had fallen down into a small overgrown disused quarry and was seen to be having a seizure.

Mr Lloyd said: “She and two young men, having crossed the fence, were scrambling down a steep overgrown path, when she slipped and banged her head on a tree branch.

“This may have been the cause of the medical incident. With the assistance of paramedics and about eight Ogwen members, the girl was successfully winched and evacuated by Bristow’s S-92 helicopter from this overgrown pit.”

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