With the third year anniversary looming and the cold weather returning, we look back on a clip that shocked the nation.
On February 24th 2013 Mark Roberts set out on a routine climb in Snowdonia, near Crib Goch with two friends. But a chunk of falling ice, soon changed the shape of their day when it knocked him into a 100-foot slide down the side of the mountain.
Mark Roberts has grown increasingly interested in winter climbing of late, and under safe conditions it can be a fantastic hobby to have. Mark suffered an unfortunate fall during his time out this time around, luckily his cameras caught all the real action, as in his words: “It wasn’t one for repeating!”.
The falling ice came from above where his friend was trying to get a good position for his own ice axe. Before he knew it, he was sliding, and falling down the side of the Mountain.
“I knew it was going to go some distance. There was no feeling of panic, more a concerted effort to protect my head and neck and be aware of what was below me, where I was heading and what I could do to slow and stop myself before I got to the more serious rocky outcrops.” said Mark when interview by the BMC
“but, seriously, even with experience of risk assessment and making decisions, sometimes things just happen. When it all happens so quickly, you just try not panic and hope there’s some luck with you,”
Mark was found where he fell by Llanberis Mountain Rescue team a mere 30 minutes after the incident had taken place. With instances like this, the prompt response of the Mountain Rescue teams is very important. BMC asked Mark how quickly they had responded to him, when alerted by other members of his party:
“It seemed pretty quickly to me. Everything was under control and I was more securely fixed to the ground and being kept warm. The doctor lowered in and was there checking for neck and spinal injuries, asking the relevant questions and giving me a few painkillers to take some of the sting out of my bruises and breaks.
From my perspective, I don’t think there is anything the MRT didn’t do which they could have and that just shows how good they are. The helicopter was there, creating a tremendous downdraft. I was supported by two harness loops, and then it was lift off to Bangor.”
A great testament to the volunteer work provided by those in the Mountain Rescue teams. With such a fall it shows a great mind set that he managed to land with as few injuries as he did, a panic could have quite easily resulted in a much worse result. While the video is certainly one of shock and awe, Mark Roberts shared it with the BMC in hopes that other climbers could learn from it, it certainly puts a stark reality to the very real dangers that you can experience when ice climbing.
You can read the full interview with Mark Roberts on the BMC website.