Felltop assessor Graham Uney. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Felltop assessor Graham Uney. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

One of the Lake District’s felltop assessors has revealed he was one of the two men involved in a mountain incident that prompted a massive rescue effort lasting more than eight hours.

Graham Uney, who takes it in turns to make the daily ascents of Helvellyn in the winter, was climbing with a friend when he fell on Monday afternoon.

Mr Uney, who is also a member of the Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team, described how he helped his friend Ed Docwra, also a mountain rescuer, after he fell about 8m while winter climbing on the High Street Range.

Posting on Facebook, Mr Uney said: “We were climbing on Blea Water Crag near the head of Mardale, and had had a great morning climbing the Far Left Fall, then moved over to the Blea Water Icefall.

“Ed was leading a pitch on the main icefall when he fell, sustaining major injuries including broken ribs, scapula, and damage to one of his vertebrae. I made him safe and called it in to mountain rescue.

“As you can imagine, it was a huge relief to see Penrith Mountain Rescue Team arrive, closely followed by Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team.

“I’m a full team member with Kirkby Stephen team, and Ed is with Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team, so when Patterdale also came to assist it was great to know that we were surrounded by friends and colleagues all there to help get Ed safely down from the icefall, and off the fell on his way to hospital.

“Thanks for being there for us guys.”

Forty volunteers were involved in the rescue late into the night, during which two helicopters, from the Great North Air Ambulance and Coastguard, had to retreat due to the severe conditions at the site.

The Coastguard helicopter was eventually able to winch Mr Docwra into the aircraft when it returned to the area shortly before midnight.

The Coastguard helicopter was finally able to winch the injured climber from the fell. Photo: Penrith MRT

The Coastguard helicopter was finally able to winch the injured climber from the fell. Photo: Penrith MRT

He was flown to the major trauma centre at Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Graham Uney said: “Ed is already on his way to making a recovery, and I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing him well in record time, and in sending your thoughts and love to his wife and family.

“Get well soon fella! Stay strong, and we’ll soon have you back out on those fells.”

Mr Uney is one of three men who provide weather and ground condition reports during winter for the Lake District National Park Authority’s Weatherline service. He shares the duties with Jon Bennett, who has performed the task for 10 years, and Zac Poulton, who was recruited to the team this season.

Mr Uney and Mr Poulton also run winter skills courses on behalf of the park authority.

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