Team members with the Coastguard helicopter during the Monday rescue. Photo: Karl Lester/OVMRO

Team members with the Coastguard helicopter during the Monday rescue. Photo: Karl Lester/OVMRO

Several walkers, climbers and a man suffering from a suspected heart attack were among those rescued over a busy bank holiday weekend by a team in Snowdonia.

A Coastguard helicopter crew battled poor weather conditions on Monday to help Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation members aid a man in his mid-50s who was suffering chest pains on Pen yr Ole Wen.

The walker and his teenage son had made their way up the South Ridge of the mountain from the Ogwen Valley on a day where cloud and possible rain were forecast.

Chris Lloyd of the rescue team said: “After reaching the cloud-covered summit, the man started suffering chest pains.

“They started to descent via a very steep and loose gully, but the man became too ill to progress. He telephoned for assistance.

“Two team members were dispatched as a hasty team up the East Ridge, while other members gathered at base with more equipment for a taxi lift in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s S-92 helicopter, Rescue 936.

“Despite the weather being hot and sunny in the valley floor, the summits were covered in cloud and there was a strong westerly wind.

“With great skill, the pilot was able to land on the ridge between Pen yr Ole Wen and Carnedd Dafydd. Seven Ogwen members went in search of the casualty and his son. They were located on very steep and loose ground.

“The aircraft offered to stay at Oggi Base in case the cloud lifted to permit a winch out of the gully. However, conditions deteriorated.

“After treating the man for a myocardial infarction, he was loaded on to the stretcher, which was then hauled and carried up the scree to the ridge. Hopes of the helicopter lift were dashed due to the dense cloud so team members had to carry and sled the casualty down to Cwm Lloer on the north-east side of Pen yr Ole Wen, in the hope of getting below the cloud. However, the cloud continued to descend.”

Anticipating a long stretcher carry, the Ogwen team requested the help of RAF Valley Mountain Rescue Team and North East Wales Search and Rescue.

Mr Lloyd said: “At about 10pm a good landing zone was found for the helicopter. It was hoped that this would remain cloud free long enough for him to fly in from Caernarfon, land on, collect the casualty and fly to the local hospital.

“Fortunately, at last, luck was on our side. The helicopter landed and the casualty loaded. However, the great spinning rotors seemed to be drawing the cloud into this small cwm. In darkness, cloud and drizzle, with very great skill, the crew managed to escape from the cwm and fly to Bangor.”

The Newsar members were stood down just before entering the Ogwen Valley while he RAF team was able to help with transport to the OVMRO base once the rescue party arrived at the A5.

Tryfan, scene of two of the rescues. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Tryfan, scene of two of the rescues. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The rescue was one of six over the weekend, which began with a call for help at 7pm on Friday. A woman from Cheshire and her seven-year-old daughter had been scrambling up the North Face of Tryfan, but their trip took longer than expected.

Mr Lloyd said: “Wisely, they retreated trying to retrace their steps. Unfortunately, as too easily done, they lost the path and wandered onto the crags above the Milestone Buttress.

“With the prospect of losing daylight, they made the 999 call. A team member drove along the A5 road to view the mountain with binoculars. He soon located the two, who were picking their way through the rocky obstacles. The team member was able to make his way directly to them and guided them safely from the mountain.”

The rescue ended about 30 minutes after the first call.

On Saturday, police alerted the team about 7pm when a couple from Liverpool reported they were stuck on steep ground somewhere on the main cliff of Glyder Fach.

Mr Lloyd said the pair set off to scramble up Bristly Ridge but encountered difficulties. “They escaped to the right of the crag only to become cragfast,” he said. “Two mountain rescue team members were immediately dispatched up the Cwm Bochlwyd.

“Having telephone contact with the couple, the team leader asked that they identify themselves by using their torch. They were on the top of the Alphabet Slabs where there is a series of rock climbs. With limited daylight hours and the cloud level descending on the Glyders, the two team members scrambled up the footpath to the left of the slabs.

“On a small grassy ledge, they found the man. He pointed out that his female partner was stuck in a gully some 20m below.

“One team member abseiled to the woman and started preparing for her return to the grassy ledge. Perchance, MCA’s S-92 helicopter, Rescue 936, was passing by, having been up to the Lake District.

“He was able to fly in just below the cloud and snatch the woman from her predicament. Due to the proximity of the crag, he was unable to winch those on the grassy ledge. He took the woman to Oggi Base, while the man with the two team members scrambled down into a calm Cwm Bochlwyd.

“With the brilliant starlit sky, the surrounding summits could be identified, many of which had the torches of hillwalkers out for the night.”

As the rescue party descended, the team was alerted to two women in their early 30s who were walking the Welsh 3,000s. They encountered cloud between Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn and became lost.

The team used the Sarloc smartphone system to pinpoint the location of their mobile phone. They were given a bearing to walk to return them to the Ogwen valley. Mr Lloyd said the rescue party in Cwm Bochlwyd could see their torches descending. One other team member made his way up to them to speed their descent.

The couple from Liverpool were reunited at the team’s base at about 11pm and the two women arrived safely about 1am.

On Sunday, after a day of weather described by the team as glorious, OVMRO was called out about 6pm to a climbing incident where a 20-year-old man fell about 5m while leading on Clogwyn y Cyriau, a small crag in the forests to the North of Betws-y-Coed.

Mr Lloyd said: “Local team members found that he had landed on the ground below the crag and suffered injuries to both ankles. He was also experiencing back pain.

“After treatment, he was stretchered through the undergrowth and eventually to the OVMRO Land Rover ambulance parked on the nearest forest track. He was then taken down to Betws-y-Coed, where there was a road ambulance awaiting.”

The rescue ended about 9pm but the team received a call soon afterwards to say two rock climbers were lost on Tryfan.

Mr Lloyd said: “The young couple had successfully climbed Grooved Arete on the East Face and made their way down the North Ridge.

“However, with the onset of darkness, they found route finding difficult. A couple of team members made their way up to the two, guided by the couple’s torches.

“The couple were brought down to the valley floor by about 11pm.”

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