The Coastguard helicopter winches the injured climber from Great End. Photo: Keswick MRT

The Coastguard helicopter winches the injured climber from Great End. Photo: Keswick MRT

Rescuers were called out to two incidents where outdoor enthusiasts were injured in falls on wintry Lake District mountains.

A skier fell a long distance on Helvellyn on Sunday and a winter climber was seriously injured in a 650ft fall on Great End in the Scafell range the same day.

The incident on Helvellyn was the third on the same range over the weekend, including one where a man fell to his death.

Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team was called out when the skier fell a considerable distance from the headwall of Helvellyn above Red Tarn. Members of Penrith MRT also joined the rescue effort and the Caernarfon Coastguard helicopter flew to the scene.

The injured man was then airlifted to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle for further treatment.

The helicopter refuelled and returned to the Patterdale MRT base, during which Keswick Mountain Rescue Team was alerted to a fallen winter climber on Great End.

The 27-year-old woman was climbing in Cust’s Gully when she came off, tumbling 200m and suffering serious head and arm injuries.

A Keswick MRT spokesperson said: “In the process, a second climber fell, though he escaped, initially, apparently unhurt.

“Keswick team were swiftly en route, summoning air support from the Coastguard, given the time it would take to get on scene. As luck would have it, Rescue 936 from Caernarfon was at Patterdale MRT’s base, having just finished a rescue on Helvellyn.

“Patterdale were able to mobilise five members and a doctor to fly direct to the scene, thereby saving time, and giving the casualty more immediate assistance. Keswick team members continued up the hill, in case circumstances required a land evacuation.

“The Patterdale members, doctor and the paramedic from the aircraft treated both casualties at the scene, who were then flown to Furness General Hospital for treatment. The Patterdale members then made their way down to Seathwaite with Keswick MRT members, to meet up with two Patterdale vehicles which had driven round to pick them up.

“Keswick Team members returned to base, after what has been a challenging weekend.

“Thanks to Patterdale team for their timely assistance, and Rescue 936 for shortening what would have been a long carry out.”

Twenty-one volunteers from Keswick MRT took part in the rescue, along with the six from Patterdale team, in an operation lasting almost three hours.

The umbrella body for mountain rescue in Cumbria said it was concerned about the number of incidents on Helvellyn, where the man died, and stressed winter equipment and knowledge was essential for anyone heading for the high fells of the Lake District.

Richard Warren, chair of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association said: “Over the weekend, Helvellyn has been the centre of three rescues involving members of Keswick Mountain Rescue Team and Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team.

“Saturday saw two rescues, one on the west slopes and one on the eastern side. This was followed yesterday by a further incident on the eastern side.

“The second incident on Saturday was attended by both Patterdale and Keswick teams where a walker fell 60m down a snow slope by Browncove Crags which overlook Thirlmere. He tragically did not survive his injuries.

“Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the family and friends of the walker who fell.

“This is the fourth incident this year at Browncove Crags involving tripping and slipping which is on the descent route from the summit of Helvellyn back down to Thirlmere.

“The teams across the Lake District really do want to get a message out about the winter conditions on the mountains and the need for preparation, planning and a real understanding of the risks that exist high up on the slopes.

“The messages will continue to go out about the need for the right equipment but even with the correct equipment accidents do happen and therefore people need to be prepared for every eventuality, either to help yourself survive in the event of having an accident but equally helping others who they may come across and need helping.

“The Easter weekend is not too far away and winter conditions will remain on the slopes and gullies sheltered from the sun. Crampons are essential on steep snow slopes to prevent a fall and an ice-axe to stop the sliding.

“Please remember that spikers are not a substitute for crampons. The message is very clear – have the right equipment but also practise using it whether it is a map and compass for when you get lost or an ice-axe to arrest a fall.”

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