The rescue scene on Craig yr Ysfa. Photo: Karl Lester/OVMRO

The rescue scene on Craig yr Ysfa. Photo: Karl Lester/OVMRO

A Snowdonia rescue team undertook a 7½-hour night-time operation to bring a climber to safety after he was injured while abseiling.

The dusk-to-dawn rescue involved members of the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation, RAF Valley rescue team and a Buxton MRT member who was in the area.

The Caernarfon Coastguard helicopter was also used to airlift rescuers to the site in the shadow of Carnedd Llewelyn on Saturday evening.

Ogwen Valley MRO was alerted at 8.30pm after a group of seven from London got into difficulties while climbing Amphitheatre Buttress on Craig yr Ysfa, as training for an Alpine trip.

Chris Lloyd of the rescue team said: “The large party took longer than planned to complete the route, with only two topping out.

“The other five decided to abseil into the amphitheatre itself with a view of scrambling down the treacherous loose rock-filled gully to regain the path over to the Ogwen Valley.

“The previous night’s rain had left the rocks greasy underfoot. The casualty, a man in his early 50s, made the first abseil. Trying to fight gravity for a better line he slipped and made a dramatic pendulum and was dashed into the rockface.

“He was able to complete the abseil but had suffered impact injuries to his left side. The remaining four were more successful with their abseil. They were also able to make contact with the two on the top to make the call for mountain rescue.”

The climber injured his hip and leg and was unable to continue the descent.

Rescuers in action during the incident on Amphitheatre Buttress. Photo: Karl Lester/OVMRO

Rescuers in action during the incident on Amphitheatre Buttress. Photo: Karl Lester/OVMRO

Mr Lloyd said: “Although the crag and Carnedd Llewelyn were cloud free, there was a massive bank of cloud to the South. While members of OVMRO were being mobilised a request was made for the assistance of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s S-92 helicopter.

“It was able to sneak into Cwm Eigiau but could not attempt a winch due to turbulence. Instead, he was able to taxi up team members, landing them at the foot of the crag. Another four team members were flown in from the East just above the Conwy valley.”

Two members of the Ogwen Valley team were celebrating separate birthday parties leaving the rescuers without enough troops to carry out the difficult stretcher evacuation of the injured man, so a call for help was put out to RAF Valley MRT who were staying in Nant Peris. Eight of their members were quickly flown in to the base of the crag too.

Mr Lloyd said: “The casualty was stretchered down into the back of Cwm Eigiau where it was hoped the S-92 would be able to return and evacuate him. However, when the time came, the cwm was cloud filled and it was raining. Plan B was to evacuate the casualty by Land Rover down the track in Cwm Eigiau, passing the huge breach in the concrete dam to the roadhead and down to an awaiting ambulance in the valley floor.

“Plan B was concluded as the dawn was breaking. The casualty was sent to hospital and his four friends were delivered to their cars in the Ogwen Valley. Members returned to chilli, rice and chips at Oggi Base at about 4.30am before hanging up all the wet kit.

The climbers were on Craig yr Ysfa. Photo: Nigel Davies CC-BY-SA-2.0

The climbers were on Craig yr Ysfa. Photo: Nigel Davies CC-BY-SA-2.0

“Five hours later, the cloud had lifted leaving a sunny and warm day, ideal for drying out kit and Land Rovers.

“OVMRO would like to thank the crew of the S-92 helicopter for their superb flying, members of RAF Valley MRT and a member of Buxton MRT who happened to be staying at Oggi Base for the weekend.

“The hut fees are: you will attend any callout that might happen during your stay.”

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