Keswick Mountain Rescue Team | Great End
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Great End

31 August 1949 to 21 January 2015

Total Incidents: 64 (13 fatalities)

31 August 1949
Great End
Incident No 13


A call was received that a man had fallen. He was a Frenchman and was killed in the fall and carried down to Wasdale by his own party. Our Team was, of course, unaware of this. The stretcher and equipment was carried to Sty Head Tarn and back again in heavy rain.
25 December 1952
Great End
Incident No 27


Called out to search for 2 climbers (23 yrs & 25 yrs) reported missing, last seen on Great End. Small party taken to make sure they hadn’t been cragfast. Found 2 bodies at 0130 hrs. Stretcher used from Sty Head and ours from Police Station. Bodies down to Seathwaite about 8 am. Wearing smooth-soled shoes.
5 February 1961
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 151


10 climbers were avalanched. 2 were buried, 3 injured.
4 March 1962
Great End – SE Gully
Incident No 155


Climber (23 yrs) fell while descending and sustained leg and back injuries.
25 March 1962
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 156


Avalanche brought down several climbers. One (35 yrs) was killed, one (25 yrs) suffered concussion and another (26 yrs), multiple injuries.
6 March 1965
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 232


Climber (19 yrs) fell 800′ down gully when the cornice collapsed. He sustained a broken arm and internal injuries.
21 December 1965
Great End – Cust’s Gully
Incident No 247


Climber had fallen when his crampons locked while descending the gully. He sustained torn knee muscles.
1 January 1966
Great End – SE Gully
Incident No 248


2 climbers overdue. Found on their way down.
1 April 1966
Great End – SE Gully
Incident No 251


2 men fell down the gully. One had a broken leg, the other had head lacerations.
11 December 1966
Great End
Incident No 274


Search for 2 climbers overdue after climbing gully. Found in Eskdale at 0830 hrs after a bad night out.
31 May 1969
Great End – Ruddy Gill
Incident No 353


Man (42 yrs) collapsed from a heart attack and died.
28 February 1972
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 436


Man (36 yrs) and 2 women (35 yrs & 18 yrs) slipped 600′ on wet snow. One casualty sustained a fractured spine, humerus and dislocated shoulder. The other sustained a fractured skull base, arm and severe lacerations. Their crampons were on their rucksacks.
28 February 1972
Great End – SE Gully
Incident No 435


Ice axe belay failed and climber (25 yrs) fell 300′, fracturing his tibia and fibula.
22 March 1972
Great End area
Incident No 439


Search with Wasdale MRT for missing climber (22 yrs) who was found in Greta Gill at 0400 hrs having left a suicide note.
14 April 1973
Great End – Brunt Gully
Incident No 473


Woman slipped on snow into gill. Was later extricated by her own companions, uninjured.
14 April 1975
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 534


4 climbers reported missing. They turned up at Seathwaite at 0645 hrs having been benighted in bad weather.
31 December 1976
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 596


Cornice broke, causing avalanche and carrying 4 climbers (20-29 yrs) down with it. RAF rescue helicopter took casualties to hospital.
5 April 1978
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 635


Report of cries for help. Man (24 yrs) had fallen 40′ into gully but was extricated before arrival of the Team.
24 May 1978
Great End – Skew Gill
Incident No 641


Woman with head, back and leg injuries.RAF rescue helicopter in attendance.
28 January 1979
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 662


Overnight search after avalanche. Benighted and lost in deep snow.turned up next day in Brotherilkeld.
14 March 1979
Great End – Cust’s Gully
Incident No 665


Climber (50 yrs) fell from the top of the gully sustaining fractured skull, broken ribs and collar bone. 2 other climbers uninjured.
13 January 1980
Great End
Incident No 702


Search for overdue walker. Found on The Band at 0900 hrs just before Panel meeting called.
20 January 1980
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 703


5 people avalanched and 2 injured. RAF rescue helicopter called to assist.
21 January 1980
Great End – Scafell Pike
Incident No 704


2 men missing after walk to Scafell Pike. Bad weather forced stay on summit plateau. By morning one unable to proceed. Companion reported him to be on Great End. Many search teams out in 5 days of bad weather. Body found on day 6 by search dog on Ill Crag buried under snow.
13 February 1983
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 806


2 climbers (28 yrs & 15 yrs) overdue from climb. They were found benighted at 0200 hrs, dug into a snow drift. Misty, snow and ice.
6 September 1983
Great End – Cust’s Gully
Incident No 840


Woman (26 yrs) with broken tibia and fibula after her dog dislodge a stone. Airlifted from foot of gully by RAF helicopter. Cool and dry weather.
15 February 1984
Great End
Incident No 851


Man (44 yrs) tripped over crampons and slid 500′ sustaining a broken arm and head injuries. Climbers in area commenced rescue. Clear and cold.
19 February 1984
Great End
Incident No 852


A man (44 yrs) slipped on ice on path breaking his tibia and fibula. He had earlier completed a night ascent of Central Gully. Fine, cold weather.
4 January 1986
Great End – Window Gully
Incident No 955


A climber (25 yrs) stuck on climb when he lost his rope!  Eventually slid down to safety on ever-increasing snow. New snow, windy, cold.
9 November 1986
Great End
Incident No 982


2 walkers became separated in bad weather and one failed to return. Team and search dogs turned out to assist Wasdale MRT. Man (20 yrs) found unharmed near summit above Skew Gill. Storm force conditions imminent.
10 January 1987
Great End – Window Gully
Incident No 984


A climber (22 yrs) slipped while retrieving a dropped glove and fell, knocking off another climber below. Both went 300′. 1st climber sustained a broken leg, rib, hand and head injuries. The other had minor cuts and bruises. Helicopter on exercise was diverted to assist.
2 February 1987
Great End – Central Buttress
Incident No 987


A man (23 yrs) slipped and fell over 500′ when off-route with 2 friends. His fall was fatal. One other remained cragfast but the other managed to climb off. A party of 7 who were trying to find Cust’s Gully or The Band footpath. Casualty had bendy boots with poor tread.
11 November 1988
Great End – Cust’s Gully
Incident No 1083


A party of 30 Royal Marines had radioed for help after one of their number had dislodged a rock on to others below. 3 sustained cuts and injuries to legs and arms. They were evacuated by helicopter.
25 February 1989
Great End – summit
Incident No 1093


A man (56 yrs) collapsed and died whilst walking near the summit in fresh, deep snow. His body was recovered and carried down by the Team.
25 March 1989
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 1096


A man (25 yrs) had been struck by a boulder dislodged by another party while climbing. Although he sustained cuts, bruises and fractures, he managed to complete the climb and make his way down to the valley over several hours. The Team met him near Seathwaite.
2 April 1989
Great End – Calf Cove
Incident No 1097


Request to assist in the possible evacuation of 14 schoolgirl hypothermia cases. A massive search by many teams in blizzard conditions. The party was eventually located near Sty Head making its way down.
8 April 1990
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 1155


A solo climber, having fallen, called for help. A passing walker raised the alarm. He died before reaching hospital in spite of helicopter assistance.
3 March 1991
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No  213


6 climbers were avalanched out of the gully. Most walked away with light injuries. One sustained 2 broken vertebrae, a broken pelvis and other injuries. A helicopter took him to Hexham General Hospital.
17 September 1991
Great End – foot of crags
Incident No 1251


Other walkers found this man at the foot of the eastern end of Great End crags. In spite of the use of a mobile phone and the nearness of a rescue helicopter from RAF Leconfield, the man was found to be dead.
20 December 1992
Great End – SE Gully
Incident No 1349


2 climbers became benighted climbing SE Gully. They were assisted to the top of the crag on 2 top-ropes.
24 October 1993
Great End – Cust’s Gully
Incident No 1410


A man was heard shouting for help by passing walkers and a camper at Sprinkling Tarn. When the Team arrived, the man had extricated himself from the icy gully, but had no torch to walk down. He was escorted down by the Team.
6 November 1993
Great End
Incident No 1414


He thought he was on Scafell. He met a woman who was also lost and led her down a gully, traversing out when it got difficult. He used his mobile phone to call for help, but wasn’t sure where he was. The two of them were taken of the buttresses of Great End, about 250′ down the face! Assistance was also given by RAF Leeming MRT.
16 January 1994
Great End – Skew Gill
Incident No 1430


A man reported his beagle to be stuck high up on the side of Skew Gill. As he was in danger of falling with the dog, he came for help. At the 1000′ boulder, the Team encountered the dog which had been rescued by other walkers.
14 February 1994
Great End
Incident No 1433


2 adults and 2 children had completed a gully climb (? Cust’s). The 2 men slipped on the descent, one sustaining a lacerated scalp the other concussion. They had all managed to walk down and were met by the Team at Stockley Bridge.
19 February 1994
Great End – The Band
Incident No 1436


A man fell 100′ when his crampon came off. He sustained a compression fracture of his thoracic vertebra and a broken rib. He was taken by helicopter to Hexham General Hospital.
20 February 1994
Great End
Incident No 1437


A woman (20 yrs) slipped and fell 200′ while descending after climbing. She was taken by helicopter to the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, with head injuries.
19 March 1994
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 1443


A man (59 yrs) soloing up the gully was avalanched and was carried down 500′ sustaining fatal injuries. Another man was hit by the fall at the foot of the gully but he managed to walk down. A helicopter assisted in the rescue.
20 March 1995
Great End – SE Gully
Incident No 1520


A man (33 yrs) fell while climbing a snow gully fracturing his tibia and fibula. He was lowered to the foot of the climb where he was picked up by helicopter and flown to hospital.
27 December 1995
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 1589


A man (37 yrs) fell 40′ on top pitch, injuring his thigh. He was lowered to the foot of the climb before his companions were able to raise the alarm. A helicopter airlifted the man to hospital.
23 February 1996
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 1599


A solo climber (34 yrs) was at the top of the gully contemplating the cornice when the slope below him avalanched. He was swept 800′ to the foot of the scree fan. A helicopter flew him to Carlisle. It transpired he broke no bones nor suffered any major injuries.
4 July 1996
Great End – Calf Cove
Incident No 1626


A report of 6 children and 2 adults, one with a sprained ankle and hypothermia. A helicopter assisted but found the wind problematical. The casualty was carried to the helicopter and the remaining party escorted down.
17 January 1999
Great End – Central Gully
Incident No 1818


An avalanche swept the gully, falling over or through several climbers.  It caught 5 people in its lower reaches.  2 injured managed to make their way off unaided, and another 2 uninjured tended to the only stretcher case.  This incident was reported as 15 avalanched climbers.   Accordingly, 89 rescuers and a helicopter attended!
20 January 2001
Great End
Incident No 1962


2 men on Aspirant, a winter climb, reported seeing a body lying in the snow on the crag. Closer investigation found this to be the man missing since September last year. For safety reasons, the body was recovered the following day.
20 January 2001
Great End – SE Gully
Incident No 1963


Whilst investigating the above, 3 climbers were seen from the helicopter, waving for assistance.  They were brought to the top of the climb and escorted off.
22 January 2001
Great End
Incident No 1964


2 climbers returned to collect their sacks, having left them at the foot of Central Gully the day before. They became separated. The poor weather conditions warranted a token search. Found in Wasdale mid afternoon.
16 February 2002
Great End


A walker reported having found 2 abandoned rucksacks at the foot of SE Gully.  They both looked as if they had been there for some time.  They were retrieved by team members and given to the police for investigation. POSTSCRIPT – The climbers had apparently completed their climb late (in January) and had been unable to relocate their rucksacks.
20 August 2009
Great End


2 young men (23 yrs), who were taking part in the 3 Peaks Challenge, got themselves well and truly stuck when they attempted to downclimb the north face, having become lost without compasses. We lowered them off in a 5-hour rescue.
29 January 2010
Great End


A climber (62 yrs) was hit by a falling block of ice which had probably been dislodged by other climbers higher up the route. It rather looked as if he had broken his collar bone. While he was making his way down, he was met by a member of the Team. The climber was helped down and transport to hospital in Carlisle was arranged.
3  March 2010
Great End
14:24 An experienced climber was soloing Window  Gully and had almost completed the climb when he triggered an avalanche. Other climbers in the area remember seeing him in the gully and were concerned that he had been carried down in the avalanche. 3 mountain rescue teams,  search  dogs and 2 helicopters were mobilised. Happily, one of the first team members at the scene found the climber who was able to confirm that he had not been avalanched or injured.
21  March 2010
Great End


A man, one  of  a group of 3 workmates, got out of control when  sliding down a snow slope and fell 200m over the crag to his death. Others in the area tried to resuscitate him but nothing could be done. A RN Sea King assisted the team in the recovery olf his body.
6  December 2010
Great End


2 climbers became cragfast in poor snow conditions, whilst attempting a winter ascent. They  believed that they were  at  risk  of  being  avalanched.  The Team responded with an initial team of 6 being despatched, and were grateful to be offered assistance by the RAF, whose helicopter lifted two Team members plus kit to the scene from Seathwaite, thereby saving an   hour.    The  helicopter  crew then decided that the two climbers could be winched from where they were, and within 30 minutes had landed them,  and  the  Team  members, back at Seathwaite.
8  January  2011
Great End – Left Hand Groove


2 climbers got into trouble when completing the climb and requested help in getting out of the gully. They were encountered by 2 other climbers doing the same route, who were able to help them out of their predicament.
8  January  2011
Great End – Left Hand Groove


Another 2 climbers were reported to be stranded somewhere on the cliff. It then transpired that
21 January 2015

Great End

20:24  Two climbers failed to return after completing SE Gully on Great End. They texted to say that they were at Esk Hause, and one of them was very tired. The Team monitored the situation for a while, and then at 2300 mounted a search of the area with one of the Team’s search dogs and a small number of personnel. This failed to turn them up, and the search was stood down at 0500, to restart in the morning. As the Team and further search dogs were assembling, information came in from the police to say they had been found at the lower end of Eskdale.
17 members, Search Dog Team – 6 hours 34 minutes