An extract from the Log Book December 1950

EXTRACT FROM THE LOG BOOK DECEMBER 1950


The following appeared in the February 1998 newsletter……

…. which describes the very first Meet at Maes Caradoc, 26th - 30 December 1950, and sounds quite dramatic. Seven (of the current 18) members attended this (third) Club Meet, and were persuaded to participate in making a film of their first climb. This involved taking a camera and tripod up through Cwm Idwal to the foot of the Cneifon Arete, which was icy and treacherous. The film director (John Fowle) sent most of the party up the arête to be filmed in suitable positions, and Phil Gurdon obliged the camera by climbing onto the skyline, then risking his neck climbing onto the tea-table. A minor mishap proved to be a blessing when John dropped the tripod about 200 ft, with only minor damage, but in descending to retrieve it, discovered the snow slope to be an ideal place from which to shoot. Stella Chapman was then called upon to freeze in position for some time whilst filming took place. After the climbers reached the summit, Stella and John retired (eventually) to the hut to thaw out. Having lit the fire, and prepared supper, they decided that if the climbers had not returned by 8.30pm they should go and search for them. Accordingly, at 9pm they left for Idwal, one by the old road and one by the new. John quickly met up with Phil Gurdon and Geoff Smith, who reported that Inez McLaughlan had sprained or cracked her ankle, and Phil Williams had accompanied her to hospital in Bangor.

 The climbing party had been up the Gribin Ridge, descended via Bristly Ridge, and traversed for over an hour in beautiful snow, before visibility worsened due to cloud and snow. The compass being found unreliable, they ended up on steep snow-covered rocks, near Glyder Fach. Rather than continue into the unknown, they decided to retrace their steps to Gribin, and by 4pm they judged (with the aid of the map and compass) they had reached the head of Cwm Idwal. A long snow slope gave an opportunity to gain from the approaching darkness, by glissading down. But while attempting to glissade, Inez caught her left foot, damaging her ankle. It was impossible for her to walk, so she was lowered down on a rope about 200ft, and then carried a further 200ft by various members. It then became clear that the party was in fact descending to Llyn Bochlwyd. As darkness fell, they decided that someone should go for help, and Geoff accordingly set off for Idwal Youth Hostel to raise a stretcher party. He arrived there at 5.30pm in a battered condition himself, having slipped several times on large patches of ice, and wondering whether a 2nd stretcher party might be needed! However, he made it, and those at the Youth Hostel responded magnificently to the call for volunteers, 17 people setting out with stretcher and numerous torches, with Geoff as guide.

Meanwhile, Inez had been carried down to Llyn Bochlwyd and along the track to Idwal by the others, but was suffering from shock and the cold. By the time the two parties met at the outflow of the Llyn, (6.30pm) the two Phils had gallantly given her much of their clothing to wear, so the sight of the rescuers torches was extremely welcome! It was then discovered that the stretcher was without ropes, so the remaining rope of the climbing party was used to help lower the stretcher, with Inez, down the treacherous slope. The rescue party reached the Youth Hostel about 8pm, with much relief all round.

Inez had cracked her fibula, which was duly plastered and she spent a night in hospital, thawing out. She was able to leave the next day, and re-joined the meet, having been collected by Stella and John, who drove up the old road back to Maes Caradoc It appears that Inez stayed on, since she is reported as providing supper while the others were out walking. Some photographs taken during this meet are now displayed at Caseg. But the film they made has not, so far, come to light.
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