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Thread: Man dies on helvellyn,1600ft fall,12.01.2008

  1. #1
    Ultra King Diddi's Avatar
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    Myself and Anthony Parker werewildcamping therewhen it happened ..and watched the rescue unfold.... BBC NEWS...

    R.I.P

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    Ultra King Diddi's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Ultra King Imperial Dave's Avatar
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    what were the conditions like up there Diddy?

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    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Looks like the same conditions as I had on the same day on Scafell Pike, but with a bit more visibility, and without the attendant drama. The difference, I suppose, is that you'd expect problems with cornices on Helvellyn, and high winds would be a problem on the edges.

  5. #5
    Ultra King Diddi's Avatar
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    Cant really say what the conditions were like Dave,we only went as high as Red tarn but the incident was at the foot of the cliff face on the other side of the tarn,Think he might have been climbing up the Corrie,but i dont want to speculate too much because i dont know.

    Therewas the odd strong breeze at the time of the accident where we were and about 9pm that night the winds really did pick up and we managed to trash yet another tent.

  6. #6
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    The BBC report, as is often the case, is misleading anyway. It's a physical impossibility to fall 1600ft on that part of Helvellyn. Also note their very exact conversion to 487m. The altitude difference between the summit of the fell and Red Tarn is half that figure. I know that mountain rescue officials seldom feed info to the press, so I guess the press invent their own 'facts'. You do well not to speculate Diddy!

    Take no notice of me... I've been griping about things like that since 1974, when the Daily Mail reported someone had fallen "1831ft off the sheer face of Pendle Hill" and died. There's no sheet face, and as 1831ft is the height of the hill, the fall would have terminated at sea-level, presumably on Blackpool Promenade. The local Burnley Express reported the same incident with more attention to detail, saying that the man had fallen 12ft over a quarried edge near the top of the hill.

  7. #7
    Ultra King Diddi's Avatar
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    That is my local hill paddy.

  8. #8
    Ultra King Chairman Bill's Avatar
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    Interesting that BBC report. Headline fall of 1600ft, later amended to 1000ft. As Paddy notes, both still more than the actual drop.

  9. #9
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Diddy - it used to be my local hill. I used to see it almost every day when I walked to school, depending on the weather. I also recall that no-one in the area would ever take you seriously on any subject until you'd climbed it, though that's not the case these days.

    Ian - it's sloppy journalism and the BBC should be ashamed of themselves!

  10. #10
    Ultra King Diddi's Avatar
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    Im a Burnley lad,and can see it everyday(weather permitting) from my house..

  11. #11
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Diddy, I was over there between Christmas and New Year, but didn't climb Pendle Hill on that occasion. Instead, I was out on the moors round Boulsworth Hill, Widdop and Gorple.

  12. #12
    ‹bermensch Nigel Healy's Avatar
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    It might have felt to the poor person like a very long fall. I dislodged a boulder as I jumped from rock to rock down Snowdon and a 6-foot diameter rock was dislodged and chased me down the mountain. Sure it would eventually stop I didn't panic much initially, but it didn't seem to want to stop and was gaining on, so (silly me), I jumped to the side, now it was probably only 100 feet fall but it felt like a thousand, life does literally flash before your eyes and my last memory before hitting rock was I hadn't yet spent all my student grant.

    Hitting the ground didn't hurt, it was days later beginning the morning after I really suffered. I think these poor chaps on the mountains probably don't physically suffer but mentally may have due to feelings of anger or guilt for getting into the situation. The mind is sadly often the weakest part of the human.

    Striding Edge, well it's very dangerous in poor visibility as you can end up trying to climb the ridge rather than skirting around the difficult bits, even if you've tackled it a few times and the paths fork chaotically. In good visibility its scary but not difficult. I find Squirrel Edge just to the north much harder physically, quite a narrow area to scramble past and a strong gust could pull me off.

    If the conditions are poor, then whilst it takes longer time, one can travel a more southerly arch round to Helvellyn to avoid risk due to slipping on the narrow ridges, there's that valley that comes up to the north of Fairfield I think.

    I can see Langdale Pikes from a bridge close my house. Langdale is about 2 hours by train+bike or about 5 hours via bike. Getting to the east of Helvellyn involves going over Kirkstone pass, adds about an hour to the journey.

    Pendle hill is about an hour away if I take direct a busy road, I'm not sure it actually has any dangerous/tricky bits on it? It's a bit hairy on a bike in places, south of Sabden or around Newchurch or Roughlee.

  13. #13
    Widdler
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    Statistically, yesterdays tragedy was bound to happen. There were literally hundreds of people heading up Helvellyn yesterday: walkers, climbers, day trippers, and people with picnics.The snow conditions varied from perfect to abysmal and backin 10 yards, and the wind from dead calm to howling gale. Most people were well kitted out, though I thoughta surprising number did not see the need for crampons, andmost ice axes seemed to be for ornamentation only.On the other hand, the bloke who got blown into Brown Cove on Wednesday was adjusting his crampon straps, so maybe they are a bit of a liability.

    I had a look at Swirral edge, and decided that clagged in as the edges and the summit were, not to mention the queues,it was not worthan epic, and went up Catsycam instead and had the summit to myselfwith a brilliant view.

    The more people who head into the hills on a day where the risks are magnified by weather and conditions, the more likely it is that someone will come a cropper.

  14. #14
    Ultra King Diddi's Avatar
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    Chris "were you there yesterday"???maybe i saw you??

    I was wildcamping,and i must say that 9 out of ten people had the full winter kit(axes/crampons etc).and were useing them.

    I did come across one guy who got to Striding edge and was advised to turn back and he did,and thats how we met him,coming of the ridge.

    The actual accident was not on Striding edge or Swirrel edge but in between.It definatley was a day not for the average day tripper but the more experianced like you say!!

  15. #15
    Ultra King Jamie @ www.trekkingbritain.com's Avatar
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    Sad news indeed again. We were up Skiddaw while this was going on and there was the odd blizzard and gale and snow and ice lying on the floor but nothing to put most people off doing anything on the Lakelands highest peaks really. Real shame and a horribleaccident. Its a risk we all take clambering around on the hills when they are snowy and icy that we may slip but its a risk I'll take for the rest of my life as theres nothing better than crisp winter hills. I hope the guy who died lived a happy hill walking life and made the most of the wonderful life that was given to him.

    There were two lads walking up Skiddaw on Saturday with Adidas trainers, carrier bags and no coats in blizzard conditions, I bet they were'nt anywhere near as experienced and well prepared as this poor fella.

  16. #16
    ‹bermensch Ian Brookes's Avatar
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    I was out at Helvellyn on Saturday climbing V Corner and topping out on the summit at around 12.30 / 1pm.

    See photos are here...

    For climbing the conditions were the best I've seen for ages, well packed snow and ice all the way up the face and really not that cold initially.

    We walked straight passed the summit shelter where there was literally 20 to 30 people, the weather at this point was quite wild, white out conditions, no place to wait around so we came straight down Swirral Edge.

    I must admit that was the most dangerous part of the day and even with crampons and ice axes I did manage to slip the odd time, yet I passed numerous people going past me back up the edge without any crampons, made me shudder!

    When we came down out of the cloud I was shocked to see the amount of people walking up, as mentioned there must of been hundreds on the mountain over the day.

    I didn't hear the helicopter as we were back at the car before 2pm, so I'm assuming the accident happened after then?

    Whatever the reasons for the accident myheart goes out to the family invloved.

  17. #17
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Here's more curious BBC reporting...

    A man has died after falling 813ft (248m) from a ridge on Helvellyn.

    Where do they get their figures from?

  18. #18
    ‹bermensch Simon Chaplin's Avatar
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    Ian, nice photos. I wish I could try that some time.

  19. #19
    ‹bermensch Nigel Healy's Avatar
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    This may be off-thread, but I've really walked far in icy conditions. I have done it a couple of times and been careful, avoided routes where slipping my feet could create a big fall. I've don't own crampons or ice-axe, and never used them. The main problem is its dark early and you have to allow to come off quite early to allow for a slippage to make you walking-wounded slower descent. I sometimes carry a stick to aid limping but usually don't use it.

    So what is the risk? Is it simply the crampons+axe allow you to do the routes in icy conditions you don't need those items in summer?

  20. #20
    Ultra King Diddi's Avatar
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    An Om member and journalist has just mailed me asking for my permission to use my pictures in the local Cumbrian newspapers,and would also like my take on the events.

    Now i do not want to comment on what happened as i do not know any facts other than what i saw,but what about my pictures??? what should i do?? see if he is interested in a donation to Mountain Rescue and give him some photos??

    Or just ignore this,not been in this situation before so help would be great...

    DIDDY

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