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Panic Attack on Cader Idris

October 14, 2018

Shortly after 11:00 a.m on Sunday 21st Oct, Aberdyfi Search & Rescue Team call-handlers were alerted to a woman reported to be having a panic attack in the summit hut on Cader Idris.

With the forecast low cloud, wind and rain well established over the peaks, the woman, in her early 40’s, had become anxious over her predicament; with no map or compass to assist,she and her brother were unsure in which direction their chosen route lay, and rang for mountain rescue assistance.

With the woman’s phone going straight to answerphone or ringing out unanswered, and attempts to locate the party using smartphone protocols not activated by the casualty, the Team had little information to work with. Team volunteers were therefore dispatched up the main routes from Ty Nant and Dol Idris and set about interviewing walkers coming off the mountain. It quickly became apparent that the pair had left the summit hut shortly after calling for help, but it was not clear in which direction they had travelled.

At around 1:20 p.m. North Wales Police reported that they had received a call from the pair saying they had joined up with a larger group, but again attempts to call the casualty or establish their location went unanswered. Drawing a blank trying to locate this larger group, Team volunteers retreated down the hill to man key exit-points and continued to quiz descending walkers.

Somewhere along the way the pair had seemingly split away from the larger group and at around 2:00 p.m., call handlers received a text saying that the pair had been “retracing their ascent route but must have taken a wrong turn” and were lost. Again attempts to call the casualty or establish their location went unanswered. Not knowing what their ascent route had been, Team volunteers had no option but to hold their positions at key exit points and see if the people appeared.

At around 2:20 the couple finally made contact to say they were off the mountain, and they were eventually located on the B4405 at Tal y Llyn by a volunteer making his way home.

Graham O’Hanlon was one of the volunteers who attended the rescue. “The mountains can be an enjoyable environment in a wide variety of weather conditions, but it remains the responsibility of those heading to the hills to understand the prevailing conditions and ensure they have the equipment and skills to deal with them” said Graham. “This call-out could easily have been avoided by carrying the most basic of navigational equipment and having the skills to use them.”