Party of 6 crag-fast on Cader Idris
October 19, 2020
At around 11:20 p.m. on Saturday 17th October, call-handlers from Aberdyfi Search & Rescue Team were made aware of a party of walkers stuck on Cader Idris.
The group, consisting of a man and five women, were players and coaches from a rugby club in the south-east of England. Attempting the Welsh 3-peaks challenge, the party had left Kent on Friday evening and had commenced the climb of Snowdon at 5 a.m. followed by the ascent of Cader Idris at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Having reached the summit of Cader Idris, a combination of poor weather, encroaching darkness and navigational errors took the group away from the intended route and on to the steep crags above Cwm Cau. While some of the group tried to find a way down, others called for mountain rescue assistance.
Using smart-phone technology, call-handlers were able to pinpoint the party’s location amongst the crags and the group was directed to retrace their steps up the steep ground to the plateau above, then move to intercept a fence line which would mark the safer way down from Mynydd Moel.
A small party of Team volunteers was dispatched up the hill to provide extra lighting and assistance as the group made their way off the mountain.
Tired after around 20 hours on the go, the walkers were otherwise unharmed, and everyone was safely off the hill by 2:30 a.m.
“Charity challenges such as the Welsh 3 Peaks can be great when things go well” said Team spokesperson Graham O’Hanlon. “However, being established ‘challenges’ can create the impression that they are somehow safer or need less preparation than a normal day on the mountains, and can encourage the participation of people without much or any hillwalking experience or skills. The diary pressures of organising group activities can lead to groups taking to the hills in unsuitable weather conditions, and the time pressures and fatigue of challenges like the three peaks can encourage groups to be working in the dark and to press on into a worse situation rather than retrace the route back to the last good position, particularly if this means going back uphill.”
“Charities such as our Rescue Team depend entirely on donations, and so depend heavily on the work of fundraisers such as these walkers. However, we would ask would-be fundraisers looking at challenges like this to consider whether collecting money for one charity whilst placing a burden of time and resources on another is actually fundraising at all.”