Climbers feared for safety when weather turned dangerous
PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 January 2015
A GROUP of eight adventurers found themselves sheltering under a piece of tarpaulin after becoming stranded on Mount Snowdon in winds of up to 70mph.
Five men from Weston – Jason Smith, Robin Matthews, Matthew Mitchell, Daniel Rihan and Peter Boardman – joined three others to take on the Welsh 3000 Challenge.
It involves climbing to the top of all 15 Welsh mountains of more than 3,000ft in a 24-hour period.
But what should have been an easy walk for charity turned into a dangerous climb, with the eight men stuck on a mountain in winds so powerful, Jason said it was at times impossible to stand up.
Jason, aged 44, attempts a new challenge for charity every year and said: “Halfway through the ascent, it was as if someone opened a door and the storm came across.
“The wind picked up to around 60-70mph. In what should have been a normal walk, we ended on a slope scrambling and climbing.
“Before we knew it, it was 1am on a risky ledge, trying to find a way up to the top of the ridge.
“Of all the places in the world I have been climbing, I thought it was going to be Snowdon that could end it.”
Although they were in a team of eight, half of them had never climbed before.
Jason added: “I was making sure each of them passed me first and I was always at the back to make sure each of them was as safe as possible.
“One or two of them were in what is called ‘mountain shock’, when you realise how dangerous it is.
“We slowly carried on and it was just fortunate that no-one had any injuries.
“We got to the top of the ridge at 2.20am, at what should have been midnight.
“We couldn’t even stand up, it was so windy.
“We did consider calling mountain rescue but it would have taken them about two hours to get to us, because they would have to walk as it would have been too windy for a helicopter.”
The group sheltered under a piece of tarpaulin and Jason said it was a night they would never forget.
At 8am, the weather cleared and they made their way up to the summit.
For Jason, it was not the first time a climb turned dangerous as in 2012, he and other friends narrowly avoided one of the worst European mountaineering accidents, in which nine climbers lost their lives.
The Snowdon climb raised £800 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and Stand Up To Cancer.