Seriously tough climber crawls up mountain for two hours with broken ankle

Hiker sitting on floor holding injured ankle
(Image credit: Getty)

A British climber spent two hours crawling up a mountain using a handline after a loose boulder fell and broke his ankle. The man was scrambling with a friend on the popular Dolmen Buttress in Wales when the accident happened. He later explained that he had pulled on a rock, which came loose under his grip and hit him.

Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation received a call to help, and four team members who were already in the mountains set out to find the injured climber while the full team began preparations. The organisation requested help from the Coastguard, but low cloud and a higher priority job elsewhere meant their helicopter was unavailable.

The pair of climbers explained that they were around 50m below easier ground, and may be able to make their own way back if they could reach it. 

14-hour rescue

After finding the injured man, rescuers gave him painkillers and splinted his ankle to immobilize it, but were unable to carry him to higher ground. Instead, they set up a handline and helped him crawl up under his own steam – a process that took two hours.

Once he reached easier ground, he was loaded onto a stretcher and carried down to a point low enough to be accessible via helicopter – a tricky process that took hours and involved negotiating several bands of rock. He was winched aboard and taken to  Ysbyty Gwynedd for treatment.

The entire process took 14 hours from start to finish, and the rescue team estimate it was probably their longest job this year. "All remaining team members were off the mountain by 0330hr," the organisation explained in a Facebook post.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.