With support from the BMC, the Mountain Info Services Project is being formally launched by Hywel Williams MP at the Snowdonia National Park Warden centre at Pen y Pass today.
It 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 number of calls for assistance to Mountain Rescue Teams in Snowdonia has significantly increased. However, this modern mobile technology and an awareness initiative will contribute towards reducing these calls and a safer enjoyment of the area.
During 2011, 411 calls for assistance to Mountain Rescue Teams were made as people ventured to North Wales to enjoy the beauty and special qualities of the area and this resulted in 291 Mountain Rescue team deployments. Recent research shows that a significant number of avoidable calls were made by young male adults who were not adequately prepared or did not have the required skills or equipment 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.
The Mountain Info Service Project aims to target this particular audience by using modern technology and today at the Pen y Pass cafe, a new app for the iPhone was launched by Hywel Williams MP.
Hywel Williams MP said:
“I am delighted to be launching this innovative Project. People are increasingly dependent on mobile phone technology – and mobile internet in particular – to access information. By applying the latest technology to the field of mountain safety, which is such an important issue in areas such as Snowdonia, there is a greater chance of accident prevention and of promoting the safe enjoyment of our wonderful hills and mountains. In so doing, the strain on local Mountain Rescue Teams will also be eased. I congratulate everyone involved with the Mountain Info Service Project, and hope that all mountaineers and walkers, be they local residents or visitors, will take full advantage of the advice and information that is available.”
On behalf of Snowdonia National Park Authority, Director of Land Management, Emyr Williams said:
“We are extremely pleased to be part of this Mountain Info Service Project. As an Authority, we sincerely hope that this iPhone app will be a useful tool for visitors to Snowdonia and will not only contribute to their enjoyment of the area, but that they also enjoy their visit safely. The project also contributes towards the Welsh Government’s health and well being agenda, from the psychological and physical wellbeing of visitors, to the economic wellbeing of local communities in the National Park.”
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.”
The partnership scheme is supported by the British Mountaineering Council, Mountain Leader Training (Wales), Snowdonia National Park Authority, the Met Office and Plas y Brenin (the National Mountain Centre), with funding from the Welsh Government , via Sport Wales. Other organisations which have also contributed and supported the project include the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association, Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team and the North Wales Mounainsafe Group (which includes the North Wales Police and the RAF Search and Rescue 22 Squadron).
As a result of the Mountain Information Services project, in addition to the development of the new Mountain Info app which is available from iTunes, three additional tools have been developed which include:
A daily report by Snowdonia National Park Wardens on ground conditions and snow levels on the mountains during the winter months, including advice on the skills and equipment required to enjoy these conditions safely. These are provided for the Met Office’s Mountain area forecasts page and on Twitter by following @safesnowdonia or @eryridiogel.
A series of five short video clips narrated by Sian Lloyd, demonstrating the way to prepare for a journey in the mountains including hazard avoidance and what to do in an emergency. These are available on the Met Office and YouTube websites.
A publicity and marketing campaign to publicise the project, made up of posters, banners, leaflets and commissioning articles in relevant magazines and periodicals
The Mountain Info app was rated as the best available app for mountain safety planning by novices by Trail magazine in autumn 2011 and, depending on funding, it is hoped that a Welsh version of the app will be produced in future.
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