Wednesday, 02 December 2015

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Walkers rescued from ledge on Lake District mountain

Four walkers were precariously stranded on a 4ft-wide ledge during a 10-hour rescue operation.

The men, all in their 20s and from south west England, became “crag fast” on Wednesday night, while descending Scafell Pike in the dark.

The group had walked across from Langdale earlier that day, after climbing Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark in the morning.

Leaving the summit of Scafell at 4.30pm, the walkers made a navigational error and dropped into Piers Ghyll, a notorious black spot. After climbing down the two waterfall pitches, they found they could not go any further and so climbed out of the hill – 300ft into the Lingmell Crags.

Paul Cook, team leader for Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team, said the four managed to get onto a ledge, but the ground around was steep, slippery and unstable and at about 8.45pm they called for help.

“They were safe, but in getting there the group had covered some dangerous ground and moving either up or down would have been quite difficult,” Mr Cook said.

“We were able to speak to them on the mobile phone and from the description we had a pretty good idea of where they were, so located them in the early hours.

“The real problem was getting next to them, because of the ground around where they were.”

Fortunately, the walkers had some equipment with them and had attempted to tether themselves to the rock face, but Mr Cook said the unstable nature of the rock meant the “reliability” of their tethers was unknown.

In total, 14 rescue volunteers were on the fells throughout the night, as they set up equipment to rope the four walkers to safety. The last man was rescued at 7.30am yesterday.

Mr Cook added: “The group were wet and cold when we got to them. Physically they were okay though, and will live to fight another day.”


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