Sharp Edge: 'incidents tend to be serious'

Sharp Edge: 'incidents tend to be serious'

A woman suffered spine and arm injuries after falling 10m (33ft) from an accident blackspot in the Lake District.

The 26-year-old was walking on Sharp Edge on Blencathra with a companion when she slipped from the ridge and ended up in a gully.

Keswick Mountain Rescue Team was called out to the incident at 2pm today, Wednesday, and was joined by the crew of the Great North Air Ambulance in rescuing the walker.

The woman had fallen at what the rescue team dubs ‘the usual gully’ where a step down has to be made from a sloping slab on to a narrow edge.

A Keswick MRT spokesperson said: “A highly efficient joint agency approach saw the Great North Air Ambulance lift team members and equipment from Mousthwaite Comb on to the ridge.

“The paramedic from the air ambulance worked with team members to stabilise the casualty, while other team members walked up by the usual route to assist.

“Other members of the party were secured by ropes, and the Great North Air Ambulance then ‘landed on’ just to the east of the ridge, to allow a helicopter from RAF Boulmer to winch the casualty and her companion direct from the gully into the aircraft.

“They were flown to the Cumberland Infirmary [in Carlisle] so the lady could have further medical treatment.

“This combined operation by the three services meant that in an incident that might in many circumstances last four hours or more, the casualty was on her way to hospital within an hour and a half of the first call.”

The team repeated its warning about the difficulties of Sharp Edge, a grade-one scramble that leads from Scales Tarn to the summit plateau of 868m (2,848ft) Blencathra.

The spokesperson said: “Sharp Edge is notoriously slippery after rain and for some days afterwards. Descent is much harder than ascent. Incidents on Sharp Edge tend to be serious.”

After the woman was airlifted to hospital, team members dismantled the ropes used and returned to their base. The rescue lasted more than 3½ hours and involved 14 volunteer Keswick MRT members.

It was the team’s 96th callout of 2012.

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