One of the busiest Mountain Rescue Teams in England. 2018 our 54th year

Busiest Year Ends Ever with a Rescue on Helvellyn in Atrocious Weather

Grid reference: NY 34300 15200
At approximately 1400 on New Year's Eve, Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team were called to assist a man who had become stuck on the face of Helvellyn in atrocious weather. The Team made contact with the man via telephone and ascertained that he had made his way onto the headwall of the mountain to avoid the snow above, having no ice axe or crampons with him. The man had managed to traverse across the mountain until he was unable to return the way he had come or go ahead, becoming stuck on a small ledge.

A RAF Sea King Helicopter from RAF Boulmer, which had been in Carlisle at the time, came to assist the team and managed to airlift five team members to Red Tarn. With deteriorating weather conditions and winds gusting approximately 50mph the helicopter then returned to base leaving further team members to climb up the mountain.

The first three team members made their way up Swirral Edge and could hear shouts and whistles in the mist but were unable to locate the man. They then ascended to the summit of Helvellyn where they spotted another light towards Striding Edge. Unable to locate the man from above, or descend safely to search given the high winds and driving rain, they continued to Striding Edge and descended about 100 metres. Team members then managed to locate the man's footprints in the snow and followed these across the face for about 250 metres until it became unsafe to continue due to the difficult craggy ground and weather conditions. At this point, a further four team members heard the man shouting again and two team members were able to traverse across from Swirral Edge at a different altitude and locate the man. He was then assisted down a snow gully to Red Tarn and walked off the mountain.

The man was stuck on precarious ledge for about four hours in total. The rescue lasted over six-hours and involved 11 team members. Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team would like to thank the RAF for their assistance in the very difficult conditions.