The man strayed on to the west face of Tryfan. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The man strayed on to the west face of Tryfan. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A walker was winched from a rescue hotspot in Snowdonia after getting stuck in a precarious position on steep ground.

The New Year’s Eve incident was the 22nd of the year on Tryfan for the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation.

The man, in his 40s and from south-east England, was descending the mountain’s North Ridge when he made a navigational error. A rescue team spokesman said this was easily done if people are not familiar with the route, and the walker was reasonably well equipped for his outing.

The team was alerted by North Wales Police shortly after lunchtime.

Chris Lloyd of OVMRO said the man found himself in a gully on the northern end of Tryfan’s notorious West Face and at a point of no return.

“The recent snow has mostly melted but the ground and rocks are saturated,” Mr Lloyd said.

“He was able to signal to the rescuers from his precarious situation with a good torch. Now knowing of his whereabouts, a plan was made to rescue him from above. But with deteriorating weather and daylight, the quickest option was for a helicopter evacuation.

“As a small hill party made its way up the mountain, a request was made for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency helicopter from Caernarfon. This was granted and it was soon on its way to the Ogwen valley.

“The difficulties of rescue by helicopter from the steep crags of Tryfan are that there is a risk of the downwash dislodging rocks or people. With this in mind, a contingency plan was made to fly a second party of mountain rescue troops to above the casualty to save on daylight time.

“Fortunately, the helicopter crew was able to winch the man directly but on a long winch to reduce the risk of dislodging him or rocks above.

“He was flown down to Oggi Base for a debrief and warm up in front of the log fire.”

Mr Lloyd said the Ogwen Valley team had been called out 112 times in 2017. In recent years callouts have exceeded 130 in 12 months.

He added: “Twenty-two of the calls have been for incidents on Tryfan. It is a popular destination.

“Thirty calls have been uninjured cragfast people, of which most were on Tryfan. This afternoon’s incident was fairly typical.

“We are grateful to the crews of the MCA’s helicopter for their valuable assistance.

“Best wishes to everyone for a safe and enjoyable 2018 on the mountains.”

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