Keswick Mountain Rescue Team | Sharp Edge
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Sharp Edge

1947 to 5 January 2016

Total Incidents: 89 (11 fatalities)

January 21, 1961


Search in poor conditions for a young man who had slipped and fallen 100′ receiving fatal head injuries.
March 27, 1975


Cries for help heard. 2 men (18 yrs & 21 yrs) found cragfast on icy crag.
December 29, 1975


Woman (27 yrs) slipped on wet rock and fell 200′ into gully sustaining multiple injuries.
February 4, 1976


Party of 8 from Rugby School overdue. They turned up as the Team was being called out.
July 28, 1978


Man (50 yrs) fell about 6′ and sustained a broken leg. Assisted by Patterdale MRT and Ullswater OBMS.
March 10, 1979


Boy (15 yrs) slipped. Man (26 yrs) fell attempting rescue. Man killed. Boy sustained head injuries. RAF rescue helicopter called.
April 15, 1983


Man (31 yrs) became cragfast while trying to avoid difficulties on descent of the ridge. Cool, dry day.
June 5, 1983


Man (69 yrs) slipped sustaining injuries to scalp, face and arms.
July 29, 1987


A German man slipped about 60′ off the Edge sustaining multiple abrasions, lacerated scalp, leg and arm injuries. He managed to regain the Edge but then collapsed. He was carried down with difficulty as he weighed about 18 stones. Warm, dry day.
August 16, 1987


A woman (69 yrs) walking on her own was reported to have fallen from the Edge. She suffered from multiple injuries and was flown by a helicopter in the area to West Cumberland Hospital. Wet day.
October 10, 1987


A woman slipped and fell over 100′ on descent from the Edge to an easier path and suffered multiple injuries. She was lowered 200′ to easier ground. Her husband and 2 young sons (10 & 12 yrs) were also taken off in darkness.
October 17, 1988


A woman (62 yrs) slipped and fell about 70′ from the Edge into a gully, sustaining multiple injuries. She was lowered from the gully and picked up by a waiting helicopter but was found to be dead on arrival at hospital.
November 9, 1988


Police requested the Team to investigate a rucksack which had been seen beneath the Edge. A search, with dogs, revealed nothing. It was later discovered that the rucksack had been dropped and not retrieved because of its inaccessibility.
March 20, 1989


2 men became cragfast in icy conditions when the weather deteriorated while they were descending. They were located and escorted off by the Team.
July 13, 1989


The sighting of a body at the foot of the crag was reported by some Danish walkers who were on Sharp Edge. The body of a man (24 yrs) was not identified for two weeks.
November 12, 1989


A Royal Marine lost his footing and fell about 150′ from the Edge, sustaining head and leg injuries. A helicopter was called to assist. The man was fortunate, subsequently being found to have only relatively minor injuries. A bright day but greasy underfoot.
September 22, 1991


A woman fell from Sharp Edge at the awkward step. She sustained multiple, fatal injuries.
October 1, 1991


A man (26 yrs) succumbed to the weather while on an adventure training course.  He was carried down in extremely high winds.  The stretcher and bearers were all blown over and scattered by the wind at one point.
January 25, 1992


A man slipped and fell to his death whilst traversing Sharp Edge – somewhere around the ‘Bad Step’. A helicopter in the area was able to evacuate the body as the Team was arriving at the scene.
August 9, 1992


A young lady (25 yrs) was reported to be cragfast.
October 3, 1992


A solo walker (26 yrs) fell from the bad step sustaining multiple, fatal injuries. As the Team was already in action, the helicopter and Cockermouth MRT were called to assist.  The report was of 2 casualties.
June 1, 1993


A girl (17 yrs) in a large group slipped and fell 120′ when she sneezed. She sustained a fracture/dislocation of her thoracic spine but no damage to her spinal cord.
July 17, 1993


A boy (13 yrs) in a youth group slipped and fell down a gully to the foot of the Edge. A helicopter on exercise in the area assisted the Team in his immediate care. He was airlifted to Carlisle Infirmary with head and spinal injuries.
December 5, 1993


A family with young children reported to be in difficulty on Sharp Edge. The Team found the group descending in the dark with help from other walkers.
July 2, 1994


A woman (32 yrs) slipped while walking along the side of Sharp Edge and fell 100′. She sustained head and arm injuries. She was treated and then lowered to foot of the crag before being carried to a waiting helicopter which had been training in the area.
July 7, 1995


A youth (17 yrs) slipped from the bad step and fell 200′ down a gully. He was taken by helicopter to Carlisle but sustained only multiple minor injuries.
October 7, 1995


A man (36 yrs) slipped and fell 150′ down a gully on the north side. He broke his spine and suffered severe lacerations to his head.
December 22, 1995


A man became cragfast while traversing. He went to ground in a bivvy bag but was rescued from his predicament by other walkers who then informed the Team by mobile phone.
March 3, 1996


A man (54 yrs) slipped and fell 150′, receiving fatal injuries. Despite helicopter assistance to quickly reach the scene and an attempt to resuscitate, the man was pronounced dead.
December 7, 1996


A man (35 yrs) slipped while scrambling and broke his leg. He was airlifted to hospital.
31 December, 1997


A man (33 yrs) slipped on greasy rock and fell 200 metres to the bottom of the ridge.  He was helicoptered to hospital with multiple injuries.
January 4, 1998


3 people caught in a blizzard on the summit become cragfast on descent of Sharp Edge, one of them having fallen a couple of times. Alarm raised by mobile phone.
May 3, 1998


Other walkers reported shouts for help at the bas step. They were found walking down as the Team approached the area.
October 13, 1998


A man slipped and slithered to the bottom of the Edge in torrential rain and high wind. He sustained relatively minor injuries.
May 11, 1999


2 men (38 & 50 yrs) became cragfast as they tried to complete the ridge in wet, greasy conditions.   They raised the alarm by mobile phone.
May 30, 1999


A man (30 yrs) was pulled off the Edge by his collie on a lead.  He fell about 25′ receiving head injuries and lacerations.  He was airlifted by helicopter and his companion and 2 dogs were escorted to safety by the team.
August 18, 1999


A young couple became cragfast in cold and wet conditions.
September 4, 1999


A male fell runner (39 yrs) slipped and fell 150′ down a gully.  He sustained chest, arm and leg injuries.  After treatment at the scene he was winched into a helicopter.
November 20, 1999


A lady (53 yrs) slipped and fell 50 – 100′ down the usual gully, sustaining head injuries.  She was taken by helicopter to hospital in Carlisle.
January 16, 2000


A man (30 yrs) slipped from the Edge and fell down what has become known as the ‘usual gully’. He sustained serious multiple injuries. A rescue helicopter was in the area training with Patterdale MRT and was able to airlift the casualty direct to Newcastle.
October 7, 2000


2 men encountered problems in wet weather, when one of them fell back on the other. They both lost their nerve and mobile phoned for help. Fortunately, other walkers following were able to assist them before the Team left.
October 15, 2000


A woman (36 yrs) slipped on greasy rock and broke her wrist 20 metres before the ‘bad step’.
November 4, 2001


A man (32 yrs) slipped from the ridge at the awkward step and full 40′ into the ‘usual gully’. He sustained multiple minor injuries and was airlifted to hospital by helicopter.
November 22, 2001


A lady (50 yrs) slipped and fell into the usual gully, dislocating her shoulder. She was airlifted to hospital.
April 5, 2004


A walker called in because she had seen a couple of people shouting and seemingly in difficulties near the notch on Sharp Edge. Although the area was checked out by team members, nothing untoward was found. A false alarm with good intent.
March 19, 2005


A man (62 yrs) who slipped while traversing under the Edge fell 40′, sustaining a broken arm, broken ribs, head injuries and a punctured lung. After treatment from the Team on scene, he was airlifted by a Sea King helicopter to Carlisle.
October 15, 2005


A woman (54 yrs) lost her footing while trying to regain the crest of the ridge. She fell 50 metres and sustained serious multiple injuries. She was airlifted to Carlisle Hospital by a RAF rescue helicopter.
December 29, 2005


A young couple became cragfast and very cold when the snowy and icy conditions overwhelmed them. 2 members from Cleveland MRT managed to shelter them until we arrived with ropes to lower them from their predicament.
18 February, 2006


A passer-by encountered a group of 5 who were having difficulties on the Edge in snowy conditions. By the time the Team had set off, she had managed to help them to the top of the mountain.
18 September, 2006


A man (21yrs) and his partner (19 yrs) became cragfast on Foule Crag after descending to the Edge. Having attempted to get down the gulley on the north side, they then encountered greater difficulties so traversed into even worse ground. They were both lowered 40 metres by the team to the foot of the gulley and escorted down the fell.
7 February, 2007


A couple became frozen to the spot when traversing the Edge because of the icy conditions. A beautiful, sunny day for being on the tops, but lethal for the unprepared. The couple were asked to stay put until we reached them when we assisted them down with ropes and reassurance.
16 June, 2007


A man (43 yrs) stumbled while traversing the Edge and managed to dislocate his shoulder. We were assisted by a RN Sea King helicopter which airlifted the man to hospital in Carlisle.
30 December, 2007


A man (60 yrs) slipped and fell about 100′ down the ‘usual’ gully. Despite the best attempts of those around him and the services of a RN Sea King helicopter, the man sadly died from the injuries he sustained.
29 August, 2008


A family of 3 (mother, father and 6-yr old daughter) simultaneously slipped while traversing the Edge and all fell over 100′ down the ‘usual gully’. 3 helicopters assisted in the rescue, as did RAF Leuchars MRT. Despite the well-resourced rescue, the mother sadly died. The father received minor injuries and the daughter, head injuries.
30 October 2008


We were called to assist 2 groups of walkers who had become cragfast on the final section of Sharp Edge, due to the wintry, icy and slippery conditions. 3 men and a woman were in one group and a father and son in the other. All were safely roped back down and walked to safety.
9 January 2009


A young couple (M28 & F25 yrs) got lost in the cloud on the summit area and wandered off the path (unknowingly) towards Sharp Edge. They were in cloud and extremely icy conditions, yet got themselves quite well down, but then became inextricably icebound! They provided us with a latitude and longitude fix from their mobile phone which we used to locate them. We roped them up to safety and took them back to their car!
23 January 2009


After shouts for help were heard by passing walkers, we located a man and a woman who had become stuck in bad ground in poor weather and icy conditions. They were roped to the top of the ridge and escorted down Scales Fell.
10 February 2009


A man (37 yrs) became stuck when he realised that the icy conditions were against him when trying to traverse the Edge. Other walkers in the area raised the alarm. We helped him back and accompanied him back to the valley.
29 March 2009


A man slipped and tumbled 75′ down from the Edge towards Scales Tarn. As we were approaching, we became aware that there was a rescue helicopter training in the area. It was called to investigate and was able to winch the man up and take him to hospital with only minor injuries.
27  July 2009


A man and a woman (both in their 50’s) managed to fall from just below the ‘awkward step’ on the north side of the Edge. The alarm was raised by others in the vicinity. They had fallen about 20 metres. She had spinal and head injuries but he was relatively unscathed, although was unable to extricate himself. The Great North Air Ambulance assisted by ferrying team members to the summit of the Edge and the RAF Sea King was used for winching the casualties and taking them to hospital.
14  September 2009


A man (43 yrs) got himself into a situation where he was unable to move and became ‘frozen’ with fear. His sister was with him. She phoned for help. Other walkers managed to help him out of his situation as the team was arriving on the scene.
7 November 2009 12:56 3 people became cragfast in the wet and slippery conditions. The rest of the party had managed to get to the top. Meanwhile, other people on the Edge managed to help extricate the stricken group before we got to the scene.
27 November 2009 12:51 A man slipped on the wet rock and tumbled between 20 and 30 metres down into the usual gully. He sustained multiple fractures as well as a possible spinal injury. A Sea King rescue helicopter from RN Gannet dropped their winchman/paramedic off at the start of the Edge and we took him along the Edge with us to the gully. After treating the casualty at the scene, the stretcher was winched into the helicopter and flown to hospital Carlisle.
2 April 2010


3 people attempting the Edge were caught out in a blizzard and became stuck and disorientated. While we were proceding to the incident, along with a Sea King helicopter from RAF Boulmer, 4 other climbers managed to safely assist the 3 who were in trouble up to the top of the ridge.
12 August 2010


A group of 4 reported themselves cragfast at the end of the  Edge, with one of them suffering a panic attack. The Team assisted them from their precarious location to safety, and they were able to walk off.
23 September 2010


A 40 year old woman fell approximately 60m from the awkward step into the usual gully on the north side. The Team responded quickly, and with the aid of the Great North Air Ambulance, who lifted a paramedic and the Team Doctor close to the scene, was able to stabilise her and splint her injuries. An RAF helicopter winched the casualty from the scene, and flew her to hospital.
22 October 2010 11:16 A 49 year old man walking with his uncle became cragfast on a slippery section of the ridge close to the ” Bad Step” . The Team roped him and his uncle back down on to the lower footpath, and from there they were able to descend unaided.
28 December 2010


The Team was requested to assist a couple who had become cragfast above the bad step. Team members who had been dealing with a previous Incident were re-deployed, and a further team was sent to support them. The couple were roped to the summit ridge and walked off.
15 February 2011


2 walkers set off in wintry weather but got into difficulties in the icy and windy conditions. We set up a fixed rope and assisted them off.
15  May 2011


A group of three called the Police to request assistance as they were cragfast on the Edge, close to the difficult step. The Team sent a party of 8 to deal with the incident, and after a handline and a rope were rigged, the group were escorted off the edge unhurt.
19  July 2011 13:30 A walker tackling Sharp Edge became cragfast on the exit ramp  to  the  summit when his knee locked. His companion raised the alarm, and the Team sent a group to rope him up to the top. Once recovered, he was able to walk slowly down with Team member
3  September 2011 13:41 Two men attempted to do Sharp Edge in very poor weather conditions, and got stuck above the difficult step. The Team sent a small group out to rope them off, and held some more back in case of a second call
4  February 2012 15:55 A 38 year old lady attempted Sharp Edge and became cragfast on ice, just beyond the awkward step. She was discovered by a member of the public who called the Police. The Team immediately despatched a team of 6 to assist her, and further members joined as they become available. The two were recovered by rope, and assisted off the fell.
26  February 2012 14:28 A male in his 40s took a 50 foot tumbling fall into the usual gully whilst descending Sharp Edge. He suffered serious head, facial and leg injuries. The Team was immediately mobilised, and requested air support to assist with the rescue. The Air Ambulance managed to drop off a doctor and a paramedic, but then was forced to withdraw by the weather. Unfortunately, the cloud base then descended and as a consequence, the Team had to lower the casualty 150 feet, and only then could a Sea King from RAF Boulmer load the casualty aboard and fly him to Carlisle for treatment.
12 April 2012 21:07 A taxi driver reported seeing flashing lights in the Sharp Edge area. As there were no reports of anyone overdue, we assumed it was probably some walkers late coming off the hill.
29 October 2012 13:30 A lady and her 11 year old son, walking with their dog in very slippery conditions, were advised by other walkers that it was possible to descend Sharp Edge from the summit. They managed to get most of the way down towards the bad step and became cragfast, having witnessed the events of the following incident. The Team split forces between the two incidents, with one party going to the summit and rigging ropes to enable the lady, her son and dog to be recovered, and walked off down to Scales.
29 October 2012 14:16 Three men decided to descend Sharp Edge. Having reached the difficult step, they decided it was too dangerous to continue. In trying to retreat, a 17 year old slipped and fell 20 metres into the usual gully, on the north side of the ridge. He was extremely fortunate only to suffer minor abrasions and cuts, and even more fortunate not to fall further. A 19 year old attempted to get to him and became cragfast 15 metres down Foule Crag. Eventually, a member of the public managed to get to him, and ascertain that his injuries were not life threatening. The Team rigged ropes from the ridge to allow a Team member to recover both casualties to the lower path, where they were then walked off to safety.
21 November 2012 14:01 A 26 year old lady walking with a companion, slipped on the Edge, and fell 10 metres into the usual gully, suffering arm and spinal injuries. A highly efficient joint agency approach saw the Great North Air Ambulance lift team members and equipment from Mousthwaite Comb on to the ridge. The paramedic from the air ambulance worked with team members to stabilise the casualty,  while other Team members walked up by the usual route to assist. Other members of the party were secured by ropes, and the Great North Air Ambulance then landed on just to the east of the ridge, to allow a helicopter from RAF Boulmer to winch the casualty and her companion direct from the gully into the aircraft. They were flown to the Cumberland Infirmary so the lady could have further medical treatment. This combined operation by the three services meant that an incident that might in many circumstances last 4 hours or more, meant that the casualty was on her way to hospital within an hour and a half of the first call. The Team then de-rigged the ropes, and returned to base.
24 November 2012 12:06 A 41 year old man and his 12 year old son managed to get part of the way up Sharp Edge in icy conditions, and then became cragfast in a very precarious position in the gully which led to the summit. They phoned for assistance but were stuck for an hour and a half before the Team reached them. An RAF Sea King from Boulmer was tasked to assist. 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 skilful flying from the aircrew meant that father and son were winched to safety in a few minutes, and then flown down to their transport at the foot of the mountain. The aircraft then returned and flew Team members and their equipment backdown 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.
4 April 2013 15:12 The Team was summoned to rescue a cragfast dog, which had slipped off the edge and was stuck on a 45 degree rocky slab. As the dog was a 6  stone Rottweiler, this looked as if it would be a somewhat problematic rescue. 4 Team members went out with the requisite gear, but while they were en route, the dog fell off, and went 100 metres down the fell towards Scales Tarn. The owner reported that the dog was standing, which sounded positive and shortly afterwards, Team members at the scene were able to report that the animal appeared unhurt, apart from cuts and abrasions,  and  was  able  to  walk. The Team made arrangements for the dog to be assessed at a local vet once the owner had brought it down from the hill. A very lucky dog !
5 May 2013 13:08 A 25 year old man walking alone, slipped off Sharp Edge on the Scales Tarn side, falling 10m and damaging his foot badly. He was in a precarious position, and the Team despatched a vehicle immediately, and requested a winching helicopter to assist. A Team member walking in the area was able to locate the casualty’s position. The casualty’s recovery  was complicated by very slippery conditions, loose rock and a shortage of good anchor points for rope rescue. A Sea King from RAF Boulmer was unable to access the site initially because of low cloud, so the Team lowered the casualty on a stretcher 150m.  He  was then moved to a point where the helicopter was able to retrieve him with some brilliant flying. He was flown to the Cumberland Infirmary for treatment.
9 September 2013 15:32 A 43 year old male reported himself cragfast near to Sharp Edge, and informed  the  Team  that  his companion had fallen 40m down a gully, but was by and large unhurt. The Team despatched a vehicle with 6  personnel  immediately, and others went direct to the scene. The fallen casualty was fortunate only to have damaged his ankle, but was able to help himself down off the fell using a pair of walking poles, after  a  check  over  by  the  Team  doctor.  The Team had to rig the crag to recover the gentleman who was cragfast, who turned out to be in an awkward situation. He was eventually recovered to safe ground, and walked off by Team members.
26 October 2013 13:59 A  year  old  female  and  her  dog,  walking  with  a  friend, became    cragfast  on  the  Foule  Crag  side  of  Sharp  Edge.  The  Team  sent a    group  of  6,  followed  by  a  further  smaller  group  to  retrieve  her  from  her  precarious  position.  She  was  assisted  to  the  top,  and  was  then
walked down to Mousthwaite Comb, where she was reunited with her walking companion.
5 November 2013 14:29 Two females (25/26) and their collie dog got stuck on the Edge,   when the dog ” froze” and would not move. All then became stuck and were suffering from cold, in the squally showers. The Team sent out a small group, whilst others stood by in case further numbers were needed. They were roped off, and walked down to Mousthwaite Comb.
24 November 2013 07:06 We received a report, from a local person walking her dog, of flashing lights coming from the Sharp Edge area. We quickly mounted a search of the area iin case someone had been out overnight but nothing was found. A false alarm with good intent.
28 March 2014 20:10 Four mountain rescue teams, 8 search dogs from the Lake District and 1 from SARDA England combined to search for a 64 year old man who failed to return from a walk on Blencathra. Overnight, Keswick team and 6 search dogs combed the main routes up the mountain until 3 am, but without success in very poor visibility. Early in the morning, Keswick team, a further 6 search dogs, Cockermouth MRT, Penrith MRT and a rescue team from RAF Valley who were in the area, took on a search of large areas of the mountain. They were assisted by a Sea King from RAF Boulmer. It was not until 10.30 a.m. that two Keswick Team members spotted something red in a gully north of Sharp Edge, and this turned out to be the body of the missing walker. It appeared he had suffered head injuries in a fall. His body was evacuated by the RAF Sea King. A very sad outcome for all concerned.
25 September 2014 10:59 A 28 year old man, scrambling on Sharp Edge, slipped and fell 10 metres from the difficult step. He suffered a compound fracture of the elbow. The Team mobilised promptly, and requested the assistance of both Air Ambulance and a Sea King, in the hope that the casualty could be airlifted swiftly to hospital. Unfortunately, the weather did not support that course of action, as the cloud base was very low. The Air Ambulance departed, and the Sea King stood by at Carlisle, until the Team was able to evacuate the casualty to a point below the cloud where he could be airlifted. He was taken to the Cumberland Infirmary for treatment.
19 members – 4 hour 19 minutes
1st May 2015 12:57 A 27 year old woman became cragfast and was too scared to move. One Land Rover with Team members went immediately, and others stood by at base, and also provided a radio relay. The Team got as far as Scales Tarn, when a passing group were able to assist the woman up the grooves to the top of Foule Crag, and a member of Cleveland MRT who was on the hill offered to escort the party down. At this point the Team stood down.
17 members – 1 hour 50 minutes
30th August 2015 14:34 Police notified the Team that an informant had phoned to tell them that a couple had got themselves cragfast after getting off route at Sharp Edge. The lady was particularly distressed, and the Team lost no time in despatching a group of 6 with the necessary equipment to rescue them. Once on scene, the Team rigged a section of Sharp Edge gully, to enable Team members to descend to the couple and retrieve them to safe ground.
8 Team members – 3 hour 27 minutes.
5th January 2016 13:08 Two male walkers, tackling Sharp Edge, slipped and fell into the top of the “usual gully”, one of them tumbling about 20 metres. Although he had taken a bang on the head, he was able to scramble part of the way back up, but both then became cragfast about 4-5 metres from the top. The Team turned out one vehicle immediately with another following, and some going direct. Once on scene, the gully was rigged ready extract the two casualties, and they were assisted to the lower path. They were then able to walk off the ridge without assistance. They were very fortunate, for Sharp Edge in wet weather is very slippery and polished, even when drying out, and there have been some serious and fatal incidents here.
18 Team members – 3 hour 56 minutes.