MOUNTAIN rescue teams are urging hikers not to attempt selfies on the popular Trinnacle rock formation on Saddleworth Moor.
Oldham Mountain Rescue say they have experienced a significant increase in callouts for people getting into difficulty on or near the curious gritstone columns.
OMR leaders said more than a quarter of their rescues in 2023 have been to people following the ‘Trinnacle Trail’, with many involving injuries suffered while attempting to scale the 33ft high glacial structure.
“It’s become a popular trail since Covid times,” said Dave Wyatt, Deputy Team Leader.
“The route itself is advertised as a circular route, parts of it are very technical with scrambling involved.
“In three years prior to Covid we had four incidents in that area. In the times since, we’ve had 26. And that ranges from lost walkers to major trauma injuries which involved calling out rescue helicopters.”
Most recently, a group had to be rescued last week after becoming lost on the popular route. Rescuers found them some distance from Trinnacle – on Middle Edge Moss, close to Holme Clough – and escorted one party back to safety while others had to be removed by helicopter.
It spurred Mr Wyatt to issue a fresh call to hikers about mountain safety, and particularly about the Trinnacle walk.
“We’re not against people going to see it, we just want people to do it in a safe manner,” he added.
“Just check you’ve got the right gear, check the conditions, be able to use a map, have a fully charged mobile phone and know how to call the emergency services if you need us.
“We’re volunteers, so it’s obviously impacting on people’s family time and we rely on donations to fund our operation.”
Trauma on Trinnacle
One man who knows the dangers of getting ‘the obligatory photo’ from the Trinnacle is Imran Choudhury. The hiker was left with serious injuries in 2021 after falling while training for a trip to Kilimanjaro.
He was attempting to get photos and a video to encourage people to donate to the charity he was supporting with the Kilimanjaro climb, but he blacked out and tumbled down the side of the rocks.
“At the end of the video I said that if somebody were ever to fall from here, that’s the end of the story for them – and the next minute it was me,” he told the BBC.
The father-of-three was sent tumbling 200ft down the hill where Trinnacle stands. Luckily, two fellow walkers witnessed the fall and called the emergency services. He was eventually taken by Yorkshire Air Ambulance to hospital where he spent months recovering.
Mr Choudhury’s injuries included internal bleeding from where parts of his broken skull had penetrated his brain, a broken his shoulder, shoulder blade, spinal bone, a broken left leg and a badly damaged right leg. He spent the first three weeks in an induced coma.
The Oldham man said it was a miracle that he survived.
“At times I find it difficult to believe I’m still here with all the injuries and complications I’ve had, but I’ve still got a lot more good things to do and that’s why I’m still here,” he said.