In the same phone call as above, Whitehaven Police also passed on details of a group of four climbers who were reported to be long overdue, having gone to do a long rock climb on Scafell crag. (Their ages ranged up to 74 yrs and information on medical history gave extra cause for concern.) The full Wasdale Team was immediately called out followed by support from the Millom Fell and Search Team and SARDA Search Dogs. The intention being to deal with the first incident before diverting attention to the second problem. About 18 Wasdale MRT members and 10 Millom FSRT members attended and started carrying out search routes on the mountain. The fell parties were carrying enough equipment to cope with the two casualties when they were found. The Wasdale members took additional ropes and climbing gear for the second incident. This would allow them to deal with the group of missing climbers depending on how the situation developed on the hill. 5 search dogs and handlers joined the search for the injured walkers doing various routes from Wasdale, Eskdale and Keswick. An RAF helicopter was requested due to the potential seriousness of the incidents but due to the severe weather conditions it had to return to base. At about 2300 hrs. assistance was also requested from Keswick MRT, who fielded around 12 more mountain rescue personnel. The two injured walkers were eventually found at around 0130 hrs. but not on the south side of Scafell Pike. They had been totally lost when the incident happened and were found by one of the Keswick search dog handlers relatively low down on the north side of the mountain adjacent to Greta Gill.. Although the information we had received had suggested much worse casualties, both were able to walk, with assistance. They were therefore helped to walk back down to their car on the Borrowdale side. They were checked over and treated by a Doctor from Keswick. One of the casualties was transferred for further checks and treatment at Carlisle Hospital. The group of four missing climbers managed to get themselves to the top of their climb Moss Gill, which finishes almost on the summit of Scafell, and then used their two torches to navigate off the mountain. Although they completed their climb and descent without Team assistance, it took them much longer in the poor weather conditions- heavy rain, thick mist and strong gale force winds. They got back down to Wasdale safely and were fully accounted for and off the hill by around 0145 hrs. A small group of Wasdale MRT members met up with the two casualties and Keswick dog handler and assisted them back to Sty Head, where they were handed over to members of Keswick MRT. The Wasdale members left them there and returned to Wasdale and back to base. All Wasdale MRT were back at base and the incident closed shortly before 0500 hrs. Monday morning. Thanks to everybody involved from the Wasdale team – to Millom and Keswick MRTs and to the SARDA dog handlers.
Incident started at 21:15.