A Lakeland rescue team is warning walkers to beware after their third rescue in a year in a notorious blackspot.
Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) was on the fells for seven hours rescuing a man and a woman from Piers Gill on the flank of Scafell Pike. The two were cold and wet but uninjured.
Piers Gill: no-go area for walkers
The team was alerted at 10.30pm last night to the plight of the walkers, in their 20s, who had ventured into the gill by mistake. Team leader Julian Carradice told grough: “It was a technical rescue using ropes. We had to pull them up and winch them out up a vertical wall covered in slime. We were constantly dodging falling rocks.
“They had gone down there without knowing where they were going.”
The problem for walkers lies at the head of the gill, where it leaves the popular Corridor Route which descends from Scafell Pike and Scafell. Fellwalkers are straying into Piers Gill (marked in the picture with an X) rather than following the safe path. Richard Longman of the Wasdale MRT said: “The number of people needing rescuing from Piers Gill is becoming a serious concern to the team.
“It is a dangerous and difficult place; a jumble of large boulders, waterfalls and vertical rock faces that leads the unwary further down until it is impossible to go either up or down. There is no mobile phone reception!”
Rescuers from the Wasdale team, who were aided by Cockermouth and Duddon and Furness MRTs, searched for two hours before the stricken walkers were found. It took them a further two hours to get them out of the 100m-deep chasm. Team members then escorted them back to their car in Wasdale.
The rescue took place in heavy rain and thick cloud.
Last month, the Wasdale team’s deputy leader David Willey said: “We believe the path of the Corridor Route will be improved soon where it crosses Piers Gill, so as to reduce navigational errors here.” This followed a difficult rescue of six walkers in the gorge, one of whom had survived a fall into the bottom of the gill.
Mr Carradice gave grough readers this advice: “Don’t go into Piers Gill. And don’t follow water downhill – it will find the shortest route, which often leads over a sharp drop.”
43 volunteer MRT members were involved in last night’s rescue.
- The team also warned that the Foxes Tarn route to the summit of Scafell has suffered a rockfall recently. A walker suffered minor injuries after being trapped when rock detached itself from the sidewall of the gully leading from Mickledore to the tarn. There are still loose boulders in the area and care is needed.
Alternative routes to Scafell include Broad Stand, another Wasdale MRT blackspot which was the scene of a fatal fall this year, and Lord’s Rake, which has a large loose chockstone which it is feared will become detached at some point.