Page last updated at 12:23 GMT, Sunday, 22 February 2009

Abseil in dark to rescue climbers

A snow-covered Snowdon
It took around eight hours to rescue the men from Snowdon

Rescuers had to abseil 500ft (151.5m) in the dark to reach an injured climber and his two companions on Snowdon.

They were called at 2100 GMT on Saturday after the men from Liverpool and Stoke-on-Trent became stuck climbing a mountain face on Y Lliwedd.

An RAF Valley helicopter from Anglesey could not rescue them, so Llanberis Mountain Rescue team were called in.

Abseilers hauled the men to the top of a crag, then walked the men down the mountain in an eight hour operation.

The men, including a father and son, and all 41 members of the rescue team were off Snowdon by 0500 GMT on Sunday. Nobody was injured.

Ian Henderson, from the mountain rescue team, said the men had "a very lucky escape".

He said they attempted a grade three scramble - a form of climbing on ridges - on a mountain face 1,000ft (303m) high with no helmets and just one head torch.

Earlier rescue

He said: "The climbing leader, who expressed his surprise at getting stuck because of his E2 leading ability, became stuck on a sheer face facing outwards precariously on one foothold somewhere in the region of Ridge Route."

The men were noticed by a group descending the mountain who called for help.

Mr Henderson said: "Equipped with climbing harnesses, no helmets and their 30m rope in a rucksack the party had to wait in freezing conditions for many hours before two rescuers from the 41 involved, abseiled over 500ft to their position, in order to haul them to the top off the crag to walk off."

The mountain rescue team had earlier helped five walkers from the upper slopes of Esgair Felen in Snowdonia when they lost their way and became stuck on steep craggy ground high above the valley.

Rescuers have recently warned people not to attempt to climb Snowdon without proper equipment and clothing.

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