Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Walkers wearing just tracksuits are rescued on Snowdon


RAF footage shows the first pair being winched to safety and the second pair being located by the helicopter crew on the mountain

Mountain rescue teams say two pairs of walkers are lucky to be alive, after trying to climb Snowdon in treacherous weather in tracksuits and trainers.

Two men from Warrington, Cheshire slipped 200ft (61m) down a snow face before being located by an RAF crew.

Rescuers had been involved in reaching two students from London who became tired on the mountain on Tuesday.

Rescue teams said it was "utterly unnecessary" and they were horrified both pairs were so badly-equipped.

The latest incident happened on Wednesday morning after two men slipped around 200ft (61m) down a snow face.

The incidents came within hours of a campaign launched to improve safety.

Elfyn Jones from Llanberis mountain rescue team said both rescue incidents were "completely and utterly unnecessary".

Temperatures on the highest peak in England and Wales have been sub-zero for the whole week, with heavy snowfalls making conditions underfoot treacherous.

Tuesday's rescue saw two students, in their 20s and from the London area, overcome by exertion as they attempted to reach the summit of Snowdon via the ranger path.

Location map
Both pairs of walkers were rescued by RAF Valley crews

Wearing just trainers and tracksuits, they spent around an hour-and-half sitting in deep snow waiting for rescuers to reach them in the dark.

After being reached by the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team, they were airlifted off the mountain and treated for hypothermia in hospital.

Mr Jones said the man had no protective clothing, ice axes, crampons or torches.

"The only thing they had was a mobile phone which they used to call the ambulance service," said Mr Jones.

'Poorly equipped'

On Wednesday morning, the emergency services were called out at 10.30 GMT after two men in their 20s slipped on snow below Clogwyn Station.

Crews from RAF Valley said the pair were difficult to find because they were poorly equipped, with no maps or lights. Again, the pair were dressed in just tracksuits and trainers, despite Arctic conditions on the mountain.

Mr Jones said the pair were lucky to be alive, but they had been found relatively quickly using a thermal image camera.

The Llanberis team had followed the men's tracks through the snow to find them very cold and shocked.

We want people to enjoy the mountains, but incidents like these two give everyone else a bad name
Elfyn Jones

The men, from Warrington, had been on the mountain since early on Wednesday morning.

They and the pair from Tuesday had all been given "sound advice" about their failure to have proper clothing and equipment.

"I don't think we'll be seeing them in Snowdonia again soon ," he added.

"The mountains are a great place to be if people go properly equipped and prepared and take heed of the the conditions and the weather forecasts.

"We want people to enjoy the mountains, but incidents like these two give everyone else a bad name."

The latest rescues came within hours of the launch of the MountainSafe initiative on Tuesday.

Bringing together North Wales Police, the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association and the Snowdonia National Park Authority, it aims to highlight the dangers present in the area, and spell out the need to be properly prepared and equipped.

This year has seen an unprecedented increase in rescue call outs, more than 300 for the Llanberis, Ogwen Valley and Aberglaslyn teams.

Launching the scheme, Tim Bird, of North Wales Police, who is also a member of the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team said: "We want people to continue to come and enjoy the beautiful mountains of north Wales.

"But before they set out they need to ask themselves are they properly clothed and equipped; do they know the weather forecast; have they got the mountain skills needed for the terrain they're about to tackle?"

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