Ice-axe and crampons are essential on Striding Edge. Photo: Mike Blakey

Ice-axe and crampons are essential on Striding Edge. Photo: Mike Blakey

Two Lake District rescue teams have advised walkers they need to carry ice-axes and crampons when heading to the area’s high fells.

It follows two incidents where volunteers were called out to aid people in difficulties on the mountains.

Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team was called out on Tuesday afternoon after two men called for help when they were unable to find their way off Fairfield. Fourteen team members joined the search for the men and the Patterdale team also called out its members, who searched Hartsop above How, Dovedale and St Sunday Crag, to check potential routes the missing walkers might have taken to descend from the mountain.

Langdale team members located the pair and assessed them before walking off the fell with them.

The previous week, the Patterdale team was called out to aid a couple who got stuck on Striding Edge on Helvellyn.

Police fielded the call from the walkers who were cragfast about 200m before the final ascent on to the mountain summit.

Team members made their way to the ridge from Grisedale. A spokesperson said: “Team members made their way onto Striding Edge, which is in full winter conditions, and traversed along Striding Edge using crampons and ice-axes until the couple were located.

“The couple, after assessment, were cold but otherwise uninjured, were provided with ‘emergency crampons’ and short-roped back along the ridge to safety.

“We would like to pass on their thanks to three winter climbers who stayed with the couple and kept them safe and warm until the team arrived.

“The team would like to emphasis the requirement to be adequately prepared for traversing the ridges in full winter conditions and importantly, be able to use the equipment in an emergency.”

The rescue lasted six hours and involved 11 volunteers from Patterdale MRT.

A Langdale Ambleside MRT spokesperson said: “For many people, winter is the best time to be on the hills.

“A beautiful sunny, freezing day on ice- and snow-covered ground high in the hills can be one of the best days of your life. It goes without saying that winter days are colder, shorter, and can be wetter.

“Snow and ice adds an extra dimension. When there is snow on the ground, an ice-axe and crampons should be regarded as essential. You may not need them, but if you do, there is no substitute.

“Four-season boots will keep your feet warm and dry, as well as provide a solid platform to fix the crampons. Put them on before you need them and take them off after. Hopping on one foot on steep ground is not the time to try and put them on.

“Anti-balling plates, or a thin carrier bag fitted between boots and crampons will stop snow building up and freezing on to your feet. Ice-axes are a personal choice, but if you’re walking don’t be lured in to thinking a climbing axe will be better.

“The steepness of the pick and curvature of the shaft will make it much less useful on anything but very steep ground. Carry the axe in your hand, or down your back between your rucksack straps where it is accessible as soon as you think you need it.

“It’s no use attached to the back of your rucksack.

“Take buying advice from a reputable outdoor shop.”

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