Hikers Warned About Dangerous Selfies at Instagram-Famous Location

The Trinnacle pillar is seen before a sunset

While taking a triumphant selfie during a hike might feel like a must-have souvenir from a wonderful day, park rangers in the United Kingdom warn hikers heading to The Trinnacle pillar to resist the temptation due to the area’s dangerous conditions.

Known simply as “The Trinnacle,” the rock formation in England has become incredibly popular, especially on social media sites like TikTok and Instagram. With the rise in visitors has come an increase in incidents requiring rescue staff. More than 25% of Oldham Mountain Rescue Team’s incidents have been for people on the Trinnacle Trail.

“It is almost a [prerequisite] of visiting The Trinnacle that the hiker gets a photo of themselves on top of the pillar, but please use caution; it can be slippery when wet, and extremely exposed when windy,” a social media post from the rescue team reads.

Back in 2021, Imran Choudhury was seriously injured after falling 200 feet from the pillar, according to BBC. Choudhury broke his skull, shoulder, spine, and his leg in six places, and was in a coma for three weeks.

Choudhury fell after asking a pair of walkers to take his photograph. He describes his survival as a miracle.

This past Sunday, a group of hikers got lost and requested assistance. The Oldham Mountain Rescue Team performed a helicopter extraction and returned the hikers to safety, explaining that the hikers did the right thing by staying put and calling for help.

One issue leading to more callouts to rescue staff near The Trinnacle is that some of the photos and information that people are sharing on social media are misleading and, in some cases, outright inaccurate.

“Although the Trinnacle Trail may be advertised as one of the best walks in the UK, it must be understood there are some parts that are more than a walk: the section up Birchen Clough past Greenfield Waterfall is a scramble that often requires the use of hands and feet to make progress up the rocky steps; it is not for the faint hearted,” the social media post from the Oldham Mountain Rescue Team says.

“As well as the challenging terrain, even on the brightest of days, the weather in the hills can change in an instant. What may be shorts and t-shirt weather down in the valley can soon become a very different prospect at higher levels on the edge of Saddleworth Moor; rain, high winds and poor visibility are frequently encountered,” continues the rescue staff.

The rescue squad offered some advice for would-be hikers: check the route planned, access if it is within their capabilities, bring the right gear (whether that means waterproof shoes and spare clothing), keep and know how to use tools like a map and a compass should an app or GPS fail, and check the weather before going out. The group also encouraged people to ask for help should they find themselves in need.

“If you are planning on venturing out into the hills, suitable preparation will help ensure an enjoyable day,” the rescue team posted.

The influx in rescue calls highlights that while social media can help introduce people to the beauty of nature, these same posts do not always include all the information that prospective park visitors need to ensure their safety.

Selfies are causing problems around the world. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said last year that an increase in fall deaths may be due to more people attempting to capture selfies in risky spots.

Image credits: Depositphotos