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Sunday, 31 August 2008

Sharp Edge.

I've climbed 3 rocks this month, Blencathra, up via Sharp Edge on 3rd August, Old Man of Coniston, and yesterday, Skiddaw. All 3 were thoroughly enjoyable, but man did I suffer on Sharp Edge - due to what I believed to be defective (and defecating) boots. It was truly, honestly, as slippery as the slopes of Hell, and it felt like climbing on ice, so much so, sometimes I used my knees in order to get better traction than my crappy boots. Anyway, imagine my horror when I read the report below. Just shows - this ain't a game, and I certainly won't be taking my children up any of these trecherous routes in the near future!!
Woman Dies in Lake District Plunge
3:00pm UK, Saturday August 30, 2008
A woman has died after she fell 200 feet from a mountainside in the Lake District along with her husband and six-year-old daughter. All three were airlifted to a Carlisle hospital in two Sea King helicopters following the plunge, but medics were unable to save the life of the 38-year-old woman.
Her husband, 48, and daughter survived the fall and are being treated for non-life threatening injuries, a Cumbria Police spokeswoman said.
She added: "Officers can confirm that the three people involved were a family from Peterborough.
"Tragically the 38-year-old wife and mother has been pronounced dead.
"Police will not be releasing the identity of any of the family members at this stage."
The Ministry of Defence, which sent rescue helicopters from RAF Bulmer and RAF Valley, said the family had fallen while walking on Sharp Edge, Blencathra.
The dramatic ridge walk is popular with hikers, but can be a precarious route.
Keswick Mountain Rescue lists 53 reported incidents on Sharp Edge in the last 60 years, with nine that resulted in death.
Most accidents involved hikers losing their footing on slippery rock.
An MoD spokesman said: "We believe they tumbled or fell about 200 feet.
"The second helicopter recovered the lady who had fallen and took her to hospital.
"The first helicopter was scrambled at about 2.45pm.
"It was wet and slippy. They were just below the cloud line around 2,000 feet up the mountain. It is quite steep there.
"Two other adults were taken down the mountain by Keswick Mountain Rescue team."
A note from
A very sad reminder, if one was needed, that mountains can be dangerous places. Clearly no-one knows the circumstances but Sharp edge is comprised of slate which when wet is extremely slippy and there are a couple of exposed moves along it. No-one should underestimate this ridge scramble which, on a warm dry day is an absolute delight but when wet turns into something very different !

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