Snowdonia Mountain Safety

December 7th, 2018

Earlier in the week on the Oakeley blog we featured a post about exploring our beautiful mountains and hills in the autumn and winter. The beautiful landscape of Snowdonia is just as stunning during these months as it is in the middle of summer – and it’s certainly quieter!

So today we’ll focus on staying safe on the hills. Here’s our handy guide to Snowdonia Mountain Safety.

In 2009, over 1,500 people were rescued on the hills by Mountain Rescue Teams in England and Wales. Make sure your mountain adventure goes safely and smoothly; follow this advice from Mountain Rescue Teams for a safe day on the hills.

Image by MarkNiles

Prepare and plan

  • Think about the equipment, experience, capabilities and enthusiasm of your party members, taking into account the time of year, the terrain and the nature of the trip – and choose your routes accordingly.
  • Learn the basic principles of first aid – airway, breathing, circulation and the recovery position. It could make the difference between life and death.

Wear suitable clothing and footwear

  • Wear suitable footwear with a treaded sole, and which provides support for ankles.
  • Clothing should be colourful, warm, windproof and waterproof and always carry spare, including hat and gloves (even in summer the tops and open moorland can still be bitingly cold, and it’s always colder the higher you climb).

Carry food and drink…

  • Take ample food and drink for each member of the party. High energy food such as chocolate and dried fruit are ideal for a quick hit.
  • Always carry water – even in cool weather it’s easy to become dehydrated; and in cold or wet weather, a warm drink is advisable.

…and the right equipment

  • A map and compass are essential kit and should be easily accessible – not buried in the rucksack!
  • A mobile phone and GPS are useful tools but don’t rely on your mobile to get you out of trouble.
  • A torch (plus spare batteries and bulbs) is a must as is a reliable watch.

Before you set out

  • Charge your phone battery! Many accidents occur towards the end of the day when both you and your phone may be low on energy.
  • Check the weather forecast and local conditions.
  • Eat well before you start out.
  • Leave your route plan and estimated time of return and contact details with an appropriate party.

On the hill

  • Keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to turn back if conditions worsen.
  • Stay together
  • If you prefer to go alone, be aware of the additional risk. Let people know your route before you start, stick to it as far as you can and notify them of any changes.
  • If you think you need mountain rescue, dial (999) as soon as possible and keep injured/exhausted people safe and warm until help reaches you.

Dangers you can avoid

  • Precipices and unstable boulder.
  • Slopes of ice or steep snow, and snow cornices on ridges or gully tops.
  • Very steep grass slopes, especially if frozen or wet.
  • Gullies, gorges and stream beds, and streams in spate.
  • Exceeding your experience and abilities and loss of concentration.

For more information visit or

**Information reproduced by kind permission of Mountain Rescue England & Wales

Thorarinn Stefansson on