Another Death In The Mountains….A bad year

by Mick Ryan – [Missing photo!] On Friday a family of three from Peterborough fell off Sharp Edge, Blencathra in the Lake District. In a joint operation Keswick Mountain Rescue Team, RAF Leuchars Mountain Rescue Team and Sea King helicopters from RAF Boulmer and RAF Valley rescued the family, however the 38-year old mother was pronounced dead. Her 48-year old husband and 6-year old daughter are being treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. A spokesman for Keswick Mountain Rescue Team said, ?A family of three, a mother, father and six-year-old daughter, simultaneously slipped while traversing Sharp Edge and fell more than 100 ft down the ´usual gully´. Despite the well resourced rescue, the mother sadly died.? Conditions were described as wet and slippy. Sharp Edge is alpine in nature and parts of the ridge are very exposed. It is a notorious accident black spot. Keswick Mountain Rescue Team have logged 53 incidents on Sharp Edge since 1947, that include 9 fatalities, and many serious injuries. The last fatality before Friday´s tragedy was on 30 December, 2007 when a 60-year old man fell 100 feet and died from his injuries. Sharp Edge is mountaineering, not hill walking. A Bad Year It has been a very bad year for deaths in the mountains, with at least 3 climbing deaths in the Lake District, over 100 fatalities in the European Alps, most recently last week when 8 climbers died in an avalanche and 11 deaths on K2 in the Himalaya at the beginning of August. Just a brief glance at many of the Mountain Rescue rescue logs in the UK show that accidents are happening on a weekly basis. You can donate to Mountain Rescue at The message is clear. Climbing and mountaineering are dangerous, you can die or suffer serious injuries out there. Make sure you have the skills to reduce the risk, understand the dangers that you might face, plan ahead and don´t let ambition cloud good judgement.