23 in 2000
Unknown Location

Call from Whitehaven Police at 1800 hrs. They had received a 999 call from two lads (18 and 19 yr old) who reported being stuck on steep ground on the West side of Yewbarrow. When the Team Leader eventually managed to get in touch with them (by mobile phone) they gave me what appeared to be a map reference (from their GPS) but in a format which was new to the team – i.e.: North, 54 degrees, West, 3 degrees etc. They also described where they had left their car and what route they had taken and told me what lakes etc they could see from their location. The team leader believed they were on the side of Yewbarrow and given that there is no easy way off, that doesn’t involve going down craggy ground, he thought it best to ask a small group of team members to go and assist them. He therefore did a committee group alert and 11 members attended (4 on the base/radio relays and 7 on the hill) Fortunately one of the team members managed to interpret their map reference and determined that they might actually be on the side of Lingmel – a different mountain! Further telephone conversations managed to glean enough information to suggest they were on the side of Kirkfell, yet another different mountain !! We finally managed to sight them not far down from the summit of Kirkfell and got to them at about 8.30pm. They were simply frightened to continue without assistance and were on steep loose scree. We put them in helmets and harnesses and assisted them to walk down. Very slow going, with us getting back to Wasdale Head at 10.30pm. The moral of the story : we are seeing an increasing trend that when people use their mobile phones to summon assistance, a lot of them don’t actually know where they are! We can cope better if those people admit to being lost, rather than give us what appears to confident information on their location, only for us to find that they’re on a different mountain. This same situation has occurred several times over the last few months and it potentially makes the time taken to find and help people much longer.

Incident started at 18:00.