Mountain Rescue - The Truth News/article

© Mark Reeves
As the BBC reports another rescue on Snowdon in which several of the mountain rescue team were injured, Mark Reeves gives us an insight in to this often traumatic world. He has written an honest and thought provoking account of his time in the Llanberis rescue team, daring to speak out over the question of how teams are funded and the gruelling, and at times disturbing, work the team carries out.

UKC Article - Mountain Rescue - The Truth

In the latest incident on the highest mountain in Wales, forty eight rescuers were needed to assist two walkers who had been blown from the path high on the mountain. The poor weather and high winds meant that the helicopter couldn't fly close to the accident site, and the treacherous conditions underfoot meant that carrying stretchers was out of the question.

Reported on the BBC site, Ian Henderson, of Llanberis Mountain Rescue, said one of the injured rescuers had possible broken ribs.

In his article, Mark Reeves details the extremely harrowing and sometimes dangerous conditions faced by the team members on a weekly basis:

"As we scramble up the hillside, the full force of the impact is apparent, as clothing and rucksacks that have been ripped off his body are strewn across the mountain side; a mobile phone broken and scattered; blood, and body parts spread out over 100 metres or more. It was truly a gruesome sight of a quick and violent death..."

With funding and training high on Mark's list of issues, this article asks some important questions, some of which are difficult to answer.

UKC Article - Mountain Rescue - The Truth

 The Llanberis mountain rescue team respond to around 90 incidents a year. You can donate to the team on their page:

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12 Jan, 2009
Thanks Mark, very interesting article, keep up the good work
12 Jan, 2009
Mountain rescue is about as noble a job as you can get. Unsellfish and voluntary. I would donate more if I could.
12 Jan, 2009
OUTRAGIOUS, but fantastic article... I’m sure there will be lots of comment and discussion both positive and negative, but it all needed saying. The one thing I would say is that we are all volunteers and with that we can walk away, leave and do mountain rescue no more. But we don’t. The excitement, the environment, the self sufficiency of the rescuer is something that we crave and thrive on. Excellent and brave words.
12 Jan, 2009
Whereas i don't entirely agree with everything Mark has said, it's a good article, the same standard as Mark's blogs. I think that debate regarding MR in the UK is a good thing at times, it almost always descends into arguing about whether we should pay for rescue, and a general idea that MR should have some kind of remuneration. It doesn't really move things forward, but then i don't have the answer on how to make things better, so i'll shut up now :-)
12 Jan, 2009
A very good article, well written and not too many typos ;-) Having helped raise some money for Mountain Rescue, I think the comparison with the RNLI is very telling. Basically, like it or not, MR needs to start working (and behaving) as a proper national voluntary organisation rather than a disparate collection of local teams. National fund-raising for MR is a sensible and practical way forward regardless of whether MR receives any public money. Once teams accept the fully (which they don't seem to currently) then it would be a far easier to try and convince all of us (walkers, climbers and mountaineers) that we should all make a fixed annual donations as many thousands of sailors do to the RNLI. An option for all BMC members (and even Ramblers Association members) to have an extra 10 pounds each added to their annual membership fee as an MR donation would be a superb idea, but currently unworkable as MR does not have a top-down funding structure. Equally, if MR were better organised nationally, they would be in a better position to negotiate for direct fees/grants/support from the Police (or local/regional/national government) for their services. At the same time, one of the great strengths of MR is that it doesn't have any 'staff', everyone is a volunteer unlike many big charities that now have highly paid chief executives and professional fund-raisers. Any changes need to be balanced against maintaining this great volunteer culture.
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