Snowdonia gets mountain safety app

Wednesday 15th Feb 2012 by theWeather Club

Image: Velela

At some point over the last couple of weeks as the temperature has plummeted and the snow drifts have risen, most of us would have had the thought, 'I wouldn't want to be out in that.' Unfortunately people out on a walk in the countryside are sometimes caught out in these conditions occasionally with tragic consequences. In an attempt to reduce the risks a new iPhone app has been launched to help people prepare for a trip into the hills.

The 'Mountain Info Service' app aims to give mountaineers and hill-walkers access to state-of-the-art information, as well as traditional safety advice and enable them to plan a journey or walk in the mountains of Snowdonia safely. The app is part of the Mountain information scheme by the British Mountaineering Council, Mountain Leader Training (Wales), Snowdonia National Park Authority, the Met Office and the National Mountain Centre, with funding from the Welsh Government.

During 2011, over 400 calls for assistance to Mountain Rescue Teams were made as people ventured to the North Wales countryside resulting in 291 Mountain Rescue team deployments. Recent research shows that a significant number of avoidable calls were made by people not adequately prepared or not possessing the required skills for their activity. The "Reducing Mountain Accidents in Snowdonia" survey concluded that young male adults from urban areas were mainly responsible for these avoidable calls.

Elfyn Jones, British Mountaineering Council (BMC) Officer for Wales, added: "To help this particular audience, as well as the wider public in general, the Project was developed to help reduce the number of unnecessary emergency call outs and, more importantly, help walkers to enjoy the great outdoors safely and responsibly. Although visitors may have researched the area on the internet before coming, some may not have the required skills to read and use maps and have not prepared themselves for travelling safely in the mountain environment. This app provides the necessary information for visitors who are planning a trip to Snowdon and will help them make an informed judgement before they begin their journey."

It seems the development of the app itself has got the project off to a good start. The Mountain Info app was rated as the best available app for mountain safety planning for novices by Trail magazine in autumn 2011.