One of the busiest Mountain Rescue Teams in England. 2017 our 53rd year

Man survives 200 metre fall from Helvellyn and team evacuates 40 people from Kirkstone Pass

Brown Cove
Grid reference: NY 34600 16500
22/02/2015
Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team were nearing the end of a winter training exercise on Sunday morning when a 28 year old man stumbled out of the white-out conditions and collapsed at their feet. The man, who it later transpired had fallen about 200 metres from Swirral Edge on Helvellyn, was initially unable to tell the rescue team what had happened or whether he was alone.

He was assessed and quickly transferred by stretcher to one of the Team’s vehicles, which was parked nearby at Brown Cove dam. The man was then taken by Landrover Ambulance, which was fitted with snow chains, to Patterdale MRT’s base where he was assessed and later released. Remarkably the man had only suffered minor injuries.

Mike Blakey, Team Leader, said: ‘This was one lucky chap. Not only did he fall a long way from a mountain on which three people have died so far this year, but he managed to make his own way down in a snow storm. He had no idea where he had ended up. He described falling through the snow when he was on the ridge and coming to rest about half way down the mountain, still in a blizzard. We had originally planned to train in Red Tarn in the morning, but with the severe weather forecast we changed our plans at the last minute. Five team members went to Red Tarn to attempt to find and recover some of the climber’s equipment from the rescue on Tuesday night last week. The rest of the team went to Brown Cove. If we hadn’t changed our plans this man would not have been rescued so quickly, and it would be difficult to say if he would have found help. He probably should buy a lottery ticket!’

At the time of the incident, the Team had just received a call-out from Cumbria Police to assist with a major road accident on the Kirkstone Pass. After evacuating the man who had fallen from Helvellyn, fifteen team members went to assist at this incident, and were joined by Penrith Mountain Rescue Team. Langdale Ambleside MRT were on scene along with two ambulances, Police and the fire service who assisted with the extraction of a casualty from one of the cars which was on its roof. Because of the heavy snow several vehicles and their passengers were stuck, including a coach and 24 Chinese tourists. The teams worked together using their Landrover ambulances to transport forty people in total back to Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team base.

The team were out for a total of twelve hours including training on Sunday – a total of 26 hours in the last five days. A team spokesman said: ‘we’re constantly filling up our freezer with food at the minute and it keeps getting eaten by casualties and team members alike! I think we’ll need a bigger freezer, if 2015 keeps up at this rate.’

The team is currently fundraising to replace their current radios which are tired and starting to fail. Donations can be made online at www.mountainrescue.org.uk