25 in 2024
Piers Gill, Scafell Pike
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Other Agencies
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Part 1 – Walker rescue:
Cumbria Police tasked the team for the fourth time on Friday evening. A Father was reporting his son overdue from a walk up Scafell Pike. He had reached the summit successfully at 4pm, however no contact had been possible since. As it was not known which route had been taken, a search of all of the normal car parks was undertaken, with his car discovered at Seathwaite by Keswick MRT.
Due to the winter conditions including heavy snowfall at height, lone walker and his inexperience, a full callout was made for a search. Support from Keswick MRT, Duddon and Furness MRT, RAF Leeming, RAF Valley and Coastguard helicopter was requested and received quickly.
As teams started their allocated search routes, a further request was made for additional resources from other Lakes teams in the morning for contingency planning.
Unfortunately a key search asset Coastguard helicopter Rescue 199 was unable to complete its requested search area of Piers Gill due to low cloud. As such, the Team Leader diverted two team members onto this route.
Weather conditions of heavy snow and 6 to 12 inches of lying snow at height made search conditions difficult and hazardous, with some parties aborting search routes at higher elevations.
At about 2am, shouts from rescuers were rewarded with a faint call back followed by a whistle. Unfortunately it was the party tasked with Piers Gill, with the walker’s location at the bottom of the gill soon confirmed by searchlight and thermal imaging scope. He confirmed that he had broken his leg and couldn’t move. His two dogs were located above a waterfall pitch from him, but both seemed fit and well (see part 2).
With a technical rope rescue (likely) or helicopter winch (unlikely due to the location and conditions) now the two options, the Team Leader coordinated resources to attempt both. Rescue 936 from Caernarfon this time was tasked to help.
Two team members from another search route returned to the team vehicles at Brackenclose to ready medical, stretcher and crag rescue equipment. Eight loads of equipment were required, with only two team members, so Rescue 936 agreed to uplift the rescuers and equipment as close as possible.
The RAF MR teams were closest to the scene so were redirected, with a total of 13 rescuers.
With the weather improving and cloud base lifting, Rescue 936 attempted to directly access the walker, but this was not possible. Then, having found a landing site at Middleboot Knotts, they returned to Brackenclose to pickup the two team members and equipment. The RAF teams collected the extra equipment from the landing site and returned to scene. Rescue 936 left the area to refuel.

A team casualty carer was then lowered via a side gully into the bottom of the gill, with further rescuers and equipment following. It was quickly established that the walker had suffered serious injuries and was very cold, but thankfully he had managed to find a small shelf to keep himself mostly out of the

water. Medical assessment and treatment was given and cold wet clothing exchanged for dry in a bivvy shelter. As quickly as possible in very challenging conditions a stretcher, casualty bag, heat blankets, vacuum mattress and dual rope system was also established, and then the walker was packaged securely. The haul out of the gill was completed to the awaiting team members.

Rescue 936 then returned to scene and winched the casualty, before transferring swiftly to hospital for further assessment and treatment.
After the remaining team members were retrieved from the gill, equipment was packed up and the teams walked wearily back to Brackenclose.
Once back at base at about noon all team members enjoyed much needed food and refreshments kindly prepared by other members.
All in all, a very challenging search and rescue in winter conditions. Once more, great teamwork and support from all teams. We’d particularly like to thank the visiting RAF teams and Rescue 936 for their help on scene.
We wish the walker all the best and hope he recovers quickly and fully from his injuries.
All that remained was to rescue the walker’s two dogs. Additional team members with support from Duddon and Furness MRT had been obtained in the background with fresh legs ascending whilst tired ones came down…

Here is a video of the rescue

Part 2 – Dog rescue:
Team members from Duddon and Furness MRT and Wasdale volunteered to rescue the walker’s two dogs. They were cragfast and unable to reach their owner below.
As the ‘nightshift’ clocked off and returned to base, the relief dayshift was heading up the fell.
Once on scene, ropes were again used to keep team members safe whilst descending steep snowy ground to locate the dogs. They were encouraged gently with the lure of hotdogs back up the hill to safety and then back to base to be reunited later with family members.

It would be fabulous to help Duddon and Furness MRT raise much needed funds for their new base; they were instrumental in this doggy rescue and countless others on our patch over the years when we need support.

Here is a video of the rescue

Incident started at 20:14 and ended at 15:37 making 19.4 hrs in total. There were 17 Wasdale team members involved and the incident occured at NY212083. Total rescuer hours: 330