I love mountain climbing. Ever since I can remember my father has dragged me along on his long hikes around the local mountains of South Wales where I was brought up. I grew to love walking and I have always especially loved the beautiful sights from the summit of Mount Snowdon.

Prior to my accident, I had attempted to climb Snowdon twice. The first time the weather was dreadful, but it was my 18th birthday and I was determined to reach the top. We didn't make it and we were defeated by the weather. However, my second attempt was successful – my father and I scrambled across "y grib goch" and we reached the summit.

On June 17, 2013, I had a spontaneous idea to climb Snowdon. This crazy idea involved me going dressed as I was, and unprepared for the conditions. As I approached the top, I was exhausted, but I went to find a quiet space along the summit. It was a little ledge tucked out of the way of the crowd of people gathered at the top. I sat down and lay quiet watching the spectacular views.

"Next thing I remember is being freezing cold and not being able to see a thing for the fog surrounding the mountain."

I wasn't prepared for climbing up Snowdon. Not in the clothes I was wearing nor the equipment I had with me. Neither was I prepared to suffer the exhausting after effects of climbing so high so spontaneously. I fell asleep on the ledge I was laid on. Suddenly I woke to find myself falling. Next thing I remember is being freezing cold and not being able to see a thing for the fog surrounding the mountain. Sixteen hours later I mustered enough strength through my shivering to scream for help but got no reply. I must have fallen asleep or been out of consciousness for the next few minutes or so, enough for the fog to clear, and I was just about able to see the path, the "Pyg" Trail. I saw some people walking and managed to shout a few times for help. This time I got a reply and one of them started running towards me. "Help, I'm stuck," I screamed. They said they would call for help, and they did.

Twenty hours after I first fell, The Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team had managed to climb down to find me. I don't remember much detail but my gosh was I glad to see them. The RAF Mountain Valley Rescue Team then turned up, and apparently it was piloted by Prince William. Finding me was half the battle as they didn't know where I was. I was found 300ft short of the summit.

I was taken to hospital where I found out I'd suffered multiple spinal fractures as well as a fractured sternum and gouges to rival the Grand Canyon. I lay flat on my back for almost two weeks. I then learned to walk again following an operation to insert two titanium rods into my spine. I have learned never to go ill-prepared and always to let someone know where I am going, and what my plans are. The main factor contributing to my accident was my little preparation and the fact that I hadn't told anyone even though I felt prepared. I didn't realise the danger I was putting myself in.

My recovery was long and difficult. At the time of my accident, I was in my first year of a nursing degree. My dreams of a career in nursing had to be put on hold while I recovered. I would like to raise awareness of the dangers of climbing mountains unprepared.

Posted: 10/03/2016 12:37:43 3 comments


02/11/2017 13:34:31



11/05/2016 16:55:21

Bernard Carey

Remarkably honest and frank tale by a very lucky young woman. Thanks for sharing your experience.

05/05/2016 11:18:41

phil murphy

Well done for getting through it all and to all involved in your rescue.
You know its actually easily done, you go for a walk and just decide to change your mind and go off in a different direction, we have been caught out several times over the years by rapidly changing weather conditions.
Yes we should always carry adequate clothing and food/drink should we be caught out, humans are what we are and hopefully we don't put ourselves in or end up in a life threatening situation, but thank God for those wonderful rescue teams and volunteers should we ever need their service.

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