Weekend Rescue on Sharp Edgeby Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com Nov/2012
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On Saturday Nov 24 a father and son had a lucky escape on a wintry Sharp Edge, Blencathra. With snow and ice now back on the hills it pays to go prepared.
As the temperature in the valley was 4 degrees on Saturday, it was no surprise that there was ice on Blencathra, say Keswick Mountain Rescue Team - especially given the volume of rain that had fallen in the last week.
However the treacherous conditions did catch out a 41 year old man and his 12 year old son, who managed to get part of the way up Sharp Edge before getting stuck in the gully leading to the summit. They phoned for assistance, then waited for an hour and a half in a precarious position, on very slippery ground.
'The Team sent a fast group of six, and also requested the help of an RAF Sea King from Boulmer' says the Keswick MRT report.
'The Team summited with the necessary equipment in 55 minutes from leaving the base, and the helicopter arrived at more or less the same time as the first team members. Some very skillful flying from the aircrew meant that father and son were winched to safety in a few minutes, and were then flown down to their transport at the foot of the mountain. The aircraft then returned, and flew Team members and their equipment down to their vehicles at Mousthwaite Combe.'
'This could have turned out very differently, had the two not been able to hang on, and they were very aware of how fortunate they had been.'
Sharp Edge is an accident black spot at any time of year, but particularly treacherous in wet or icy conditions. In winter it should be treated as a mountaineering route. The infamous 'usual gully' beneath the 'bad step' sees the most casualties; just last week a woman fell here, suffering arm and spinal injuries.