Britain's Busiest Rescue Team Breaks UK Callout Record

Llanberis MRT has become the country's first volunteer rescue team to exceed 200 call-outs in a year, with an incident on Crib Goch on 30th November.

Already the UK's busiest team, they are now the only one ever to reach a double century of incidents - an accolade they could doubtless do without.

crib Goch, 189 kb
crib Goch
© johnhenderson, Dec 2009

The Llanberis team’s area of responsibility includes Snowdon, the mountain with more footfall than any other in Britain. As a result, they see a wide variety - and a big number - of incidents throughout the year. They have also noted a staggering 400% increase in the number of reported incidents over the past decade.

As team chairman Rob Johnson explains;

“It is a dubious honour to be the first team to surpass 200 incidents in a year and the figure follows our busiest ever summer with 43 callouts in 31 days in August. Every single incident is responded to by volunteers and this is an incredible achievement for each and every member of the team. My heartfelt thanks goes out to every team member and the families, friends and employers that support them and allow us to provide this service.”

The 200th call-out was made as darkness fell on 30th November.

A pair of walkers had been traversing Crib Goch when one of the two fractured their ankle. They attempted to carry on but as the ankle injury impeded progress and darkness fell they decided to call for assistance. With low cloud preventing aircraft assistance a party of five team members were deployed on foot to recover the pair, with a further 11 in support. The casualty was treated for her injuries before being assisted to a point below the cloud where HM Coastguard’s Rescue 936 was able to pick her up for the flight to hospital.

The inexperienced often underestimate winter conditions on Crib Goch - axe and crampons, anyone?, 112 kb
The inexperienced often underestimate winter conditions on Crib Goch - axe and crampons, anyone?
© Dan Bailey

Despite the avoidable nature of many of the incidents on Snowdon, Llanberis MRT have adopted an approach of non-criticism of mountain casualties. Pressing instead for greater action and cooperation from agencies responsible for promoting and managing recreation in the area.

“There are full winter conditions on the summits of the mountains in Snowdonia at the moment" cautions Rob Johnson.

"Many of us have been enjoying some fine skiing and winter mountaineering over the last 5-7 days. It is important that people plan for their mountain adventures properly - check a mountain forecast and establish where the snow and ice will start and plan to avoid them if you haven’t got the correct winter equipment and experience. You can have a great day in the mountains without having to go up high. Remember it is always easier heading up - most accidents happen in winter when people try to descend on hard snow that is extremely slippery and often above steep drops."

"Enjoy the mountains safely!”

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