A member of the Llanberis team in action on Snowdon during the rescues. Photo: Llanberis MRT

A member of the Llanberis team in action on Snowdon during the rescues. Photo: Llanberis MRT

National park bosses are urging walkers to be prepared when they head for the mountains after a recent spell of winter weather caught out visitors.

Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team was called out twice on New Year’s Day to people in difficulties in wintry conditions on Wales’s highest mountain.

Snowdonia National Park Authority said: “After a recent cold snap, wardens wish to remind those thinking of going out walking on the mountains to check the weather before setting off.

“Although the last few months have proved to be very mild, a cold snap over the New Year took many walkers by surprise. Although lower ground remained sodden from the weeks of heavy rain, higher up in the mountains hail and snow had fallen with compacted snow and ice on many of the main paths on Snowdon.”

A member of the Llanberis rescue team witnessed a walker fall from Crib Goch about 1.10pm on Friday. He rang 999 to call out team members following the incident.

A Llanberis MRT spokesperson said: “Two walkers who had been traversing Crib Goch decided to attempt to descend directly to the Pyg track.

“One walker then slipped and fell a significant distance. The second walker then started to descend dangerous and technical ground.

“The walker who fell sustained only minor injuries and was able to walk down to the warden centre at Pen y Pass. The second walker was lucky not to fall and was able to successfully descend to a point where our team member could assist him to a waiting team Land Rover.”

Within minutes, the Llanberis team was called twice by different members of the same group who were in difficulties on Crib Goch, a grade-one scrambling route.

The team spokesperson said: “Three walkers had climbed the east ridge of Crib Goch before attempting to descend the north ridge.

“The group found themselves in a position where snow and ice prevented two of them from proceeding. The third walker was able to descend a short distance before he unfortunately fell approximately 50m.

“We were first alerted by the snow-fast pair on the north ridge before being called by the walker who had fallen.”

The team sent eight of its volunteers on to the mountain to find and recover the separated group.

The spokesperson said: “Fortunately, the fallen walker was able to walk down to a point where team members could assist him to the team vehicles.

“The team then searched the east ridge and north ridge to locate the remaining two walkers. Once the walkers were found the team had to rig a roped system for evacuation due to severe winds.

“All three hypothermic walkers were then recovered to our base in Nant Peris.”

Helen Pye: 'It's essential to carry winter kit'

Helen Pye: 'It's essential to carry winter kit'

Helen Pye, national park senior warden for northern Snowdonia, said: “Even a little snow or ice on the ground can make the mountains very different places.

“And, when conditions are like they’ve been recently, dressing in warm clothes is not enough. It is essential to carry an ice-axe, crampons, ski goggles and spare warm clothing, in addition to the usual kit which is needed for hillwalking.

“So for walkers to be thoroughly prepared before setting out, we encourage them to follow our Twitter account and Tweets.

“Tweeting any change in ground conditions and reporting the conditions to the Met Office is an extremely valuable service we offer. Not only do we reach a wide audience, but it also provides the latest information on ground conditions in the mountains.”

The national park authority said this winter, a new team of people climb to the summit of Snowdon to check ground conditions.

Three or four times a week, in all weather conditions, members of the warden team on Snowdon, Helen Pye, Carwyn ap Myrddin, and Rhys Wheldon Roberts, gather detailed information on ground conditions to transfer the data to the Met Office.

Joining them is Anne Vowles of Fachwen, a highly experienced mountaineer who has just won a contract to assist the authority in collecting ground conditions data.

The information collected will clearly state if ice or snow will affect ground conditions on the mountains of Snowdonia. With the same information, the warden also uses Twitter to communicate any changes and messages via @snowdonweather and @mountainsafe.

Mountain weather forecasts for Snowdonia can also be obtained on the Met Office website.

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