Llanberis Mountain Rescue is a fairly unique team; primarily because Snowdon is a fairly unique mountain. It is often assumed that most rescues originate from its honeypot status and therefore feature inexperienced walkers. Why this can be the case the team's area also encompasses some of the most extensive rock climbing in the UK, Clogwyn Du’r Arddu, Lliwedd, the Pass and the Slate quarries; and some classic mountaineering ground like Crib Goch. This leads to a plethora of variety.
We only recruit extensively experienced mountaineers. We are lucky enough to have lots of members who are talented climbers and some are qualified instructors or guides. Amongst this group are a number of mountain instructors and AMI members.[caption id="attachment_27188" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Photo credit: Miles Hill[/caption]
I joined the team nearly ten years ago as part of an effort to give back to my community. At the time I'd been living in the area for several years and very much thought of the slopes of Snowdon as my home. Llanberis Mountain Rescue is one of the UK's busiest teams and as all of our rescues are on the mountain, it requires a high degree of personal competence. We therefore focus on training specific rescue skills rather than solely mountaineering skills. I have been lucky enough to be trained in off-road and blue light driving, higher levels of trauma first aid and pain management and getting to fly in helicopters on a regular basis.
One of the difficulties of being a keen mountaineer and instructor is being away from home either working or playing. I will be on call whenever I am at home. This is 24/7/365 and importantly we are all volunteers and rely on donations for our costs. In recent years becoming involved with the organisation and day to day running of the team I have realised how much work goes on behind the scenes; dealing with correspondence, finances, vehicles and equipment to get everything ready for the next call out.[caption id="attachment_27186" align="aligncenter" width="960"] The end of a stretcher carry. The stretchers are ingenious in the single middle wheel. This system allows it to be guided over lots of terrain with relative ease. Photo credit: Elidir Owen[/caption] [caption id="attachment_27187" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Rope rescue requires a great deal of knowledge and practise. Photo: Anthony Eccles[/caption]
I do enjoy my time out. Being on a rescue can be exhilarating, it can be physically tough and mentally exhausting, I can get home from work, go straight out again into inclement weather until the early hours and still get up for work in the morning. I get to work with a great group of dedicated volunteers who are also people I'd happily climb with.
Snowdon is a real mountain. The summit is five miles from any road. That’s quite isolated for Wales. It’s a big mountain massif and despite its popularity can still feel extremely wild and remote, especially when the weather changes. Weather is often a lot worse than forecast and in the winter especially it takes on a serious alpine feel.
- Be prepared - take proper outdoor waterproofs and warm clothing, map and compass, research your route.
- Get a weather forecast - I recommend the Met Office Mountain Forecast or MWIS.
- Have a plan B - turn back if the weather gets worse or if it is bad that morning.
For more information or to donate please visit the team’s website.