The Coastguard helicopter in action above South Gully on Tryfan. Photo: Dave Brown/OVMRO

The Coastguard helicopter in action above South Gully on Tryfan. Photo: Dave Brown/OVMRO

A climber with a group that helped rescuers on a Snowdonia mountain was himself rescued a short time later after a fall in a gully.

Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation said the man’s helmet saved him from serious injuries.

The team successfully completed a scramble on the East Face of Tryfan on Wednesday, during which it met a group of climbers.

Chris Lloyd of Ogwen Valley MRO said: “They assisted team members by releasing climbing ropes abandoned by the previous evening’s rescuees.

“Later, the team members were just leaving Oggi Base when they were alerted to a fallen rock-climber on the East Face. He was one of this group.”

Mr Lloyd said the information provided was reliable and precise. “As urgency was required, a request for the assistance of the Coastguard’s helicopter was made and a callout sent to team members.

“Information about how the accident occurred is not available, but the climber had taken a tumbling fall down the steep walls of the South Gully, bouncing from ledge to ledge and very fortunately coming to rest where he did, on the last ledge.

“His helmet had saved him from serious head injuries.

“The helicopter was above the casualty within minutes but was unable to make a rescue from the confined and precarious casualty site.”

The aircraft crew flew rescue team members up the mountain and winched them down onto Heather Terrace. They were met there by other members of the group who had already fixed ropes for 100m up the gully to the narrow grassy ledge where the casualty lay.

Mr Lloyd said: “Heavily laden team members were assisted up this steep and very loose gully. Belays were established to secure team members to the mountain. A rope rescue system was built, ready to lower the seriously injured casualty into the gully and eventually down to Heather Terrace, where hopefully the helicopter could return and make a winch recovery.

“Treatment was being given by the team doctor and the casualty was being carefully packaged when news came that the helicopter had been called to a ‘water or sea’ incident, which takes priority. Fortunately, just before the casualty was about to be lowered for a long and difficult lower down this steep and loose gully, the helicopter returned about 6.15pm.

“Hovering directly above the casualty, with rotors cutting through the moist air, the winchman was swiftly lowered into the confines of this narrow gully.

“He rapidly carried out his checks and both he and the stretcher with casualty were hoisted up and away to hospital.

“With quietness returning and the prospect of dusk, the rescuers, greatly assisted by the other climbers, escaped down the gully, retrieving all the equipment as they went.”

The South Gully rescue was the Ogwen Valley team’s 100th of the year.

The following day, Mr Lloyd said a couple of team members were just completing a morning scrambling on the Glyderau and were about to descend from Cwm Bochlwyd when a call came for an 82-year-old woman with severe head injuries, located somewhere between Twll Du – the Devil’s Kitchen – and Llyn Ogwen. ‘In other words, somewhere in Cwm Idwal,” he said.

The two team members skirted round into Cwm Idwal trying to look for the site of the incident. Mr Lloyd said: “The team leader had requested the assistance of the Coastguard’s helicopter. It arrived in the cwm just as the two team members had found people on the path who were able to describe the location of the incident.

“The winchman was lowered onto the steep and rocky footpath just below the Devil’s Kitchen, quickly joined by the two team members. The lady had tripped and taken a tumbling fall while walking down the path from Llyn y Cwn above the Devil’s Kitchen.

“She had struck her forehead a suffered a severe puncture wound. A young couple, Nick and Steph, who were passing, greatly assisted with care for the casualty whilst awaiting the rescue services.”

Other Ogwen Valley rescuers arrived to help loading the casualty onto the stretcher on the steep ground and one team member escorted the casualty’s friend from the mountainside to the team’s base.

The casualty was then winched up to the helicopter and flown to hospital in Bangor.

“In the meantime, a queue of descending hillwalkers had built up above the incident site,” Mr Lloyd said. “They patiently waited until the casualty was winched up. There was clear evidence on the footpath that someone had had a severe injury.

“Our thanks go to Nick and Steph for their care for the casualty, and those who waited patiently on the footpath above the incident site.”

Mr Lloyd said, despite access restrictions to Snowdonia earlier this year, the number of callouts at this stage in the year is the same as a normal year. “The last week or so has seen team members being called to incidents daily,” he added. “While some of these calls were possibly avoidable, others have been for injuries, with rope rescues, stretcher-carries and helicopter casualty evacuations.”

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