Twelve-hour operation for Lake District mountain rescuers

A scene from a rescue on Wastwater Screes on 3/10/21. Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team.
A scene from the rescue. Credit: Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team

A mountain rescue team in Cumbria spent more than 12 hours carrying out an operation on the county's fells this weekend.

This happened on Wastwater Screes and involved more than 30 volunteers and a helicopter.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) - who carried out five rescues in total on Sunday, helped by Duddon and Furness MRT - have reminded walkers of the importance of being prepared for their expeditions.

Two walkers had set off to walk round Wastwater but lost the path and started to ascend the loose scree when they got to the boulder field. 

Rope rescue from above was considered too dangerous by team members who went to the top and proceeded back down to rescue from below. 

Using ropes and climbing gear the two walkers were carefully brought back down from their location to a more stable but still very high up the scree.

The decision was made to call in helicopter support to winch them both from the very loose scree slope as walking them back down was considered too dangerous under those conditions with unstable and moving boulders. 

It was considered too hazardous an area for the helicopter crew to return and winch team members down the mountain due to the very strong downwash and close proximity to the unstable rock buttresses. 

The five callouts were taken by the team leader from Cumbria Constabulary in a matter of hours, the first at 12:55 pm Sunday and then a further four between 4:00pm and 5:00 pm that afternoon including one person with an injured wrist in a group and the remainder lost in the bad weather having very limited equipment, particularly maps and compass.

The weather was appalling and had been for most of the day, normal access routes for teams were impassable because of water levels in rivers and streams. 

A spokesperson for the MRT said:

The group also stressed the importance of being dressed properly and pointed to the Adventure Smart website.