cc:, martin
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Subject:        Mountain Rescue and the 3 Peak challenge event

For the attention of Julie Clayton - Radio Cumbria


I spoke with Martin Lewis this morning and he asked me to contact you re the problems we are still having with 3 peak challenge events.   We were called out by the police on Saturday night  for a couple from the north-east who were doing a trial - they turned up safe and well before the team was mobilised so no major inconvenience on the part of the team.   As an aside, it is worth mentioning that there were 57 minibuses parked on the car park at Wasdale Head at 6.30 p.m. Saturday evening. All of the vehicles would be three peak challenge people.

There was a further call-out last night just after midnight for another group of 11 doing the challenge - the problem with this group is that they have still not called the police to say they are safely off the mountain and mountain rescue are no longer required.   This sort of behaviour is not acceptable and somehow we need to get the messages across that teams need to be well prepared / fit enough to complete the challenge and if they do get into difficulties you cannot just call the police on a whim and then carry on and finish the challenge without informing anyone that you are safely down.  

We are approaching the busiest time for three peak eventer - 21st June being the longest day with greatest amount of daylight.  A good time to reinforce messages about preparedness.  Julian Carradice , Team leader is happy to be called and do something on radio about it.  

This is an extract from the Team Leader's email to the Committee earlier this morning to let us know what was happening re the Police callout last night - the team leader has just put a message out to the committee advising that he has closed the police log but still nothing from the informant.


Richard Warren
Chairman Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team



I took the call form the Police just after midnight last night.  It was about a group of 11 reported long overdue on Scafell Pike.

The informant was at the NT camp site in Great Langdale but the phone there doesn't accept incoming calls.  His mobile was out of range........  I couldn't get any detail until having spoken with him.

At 12.45am he rang me on my home no, having rung the Police again and been advised to do so.
* Group all in their late 20's except for 1 in 30's and 1 in 50's.
* no medical conditions amongst the group
* all with torches
* maps and compasses in the group
* last seen at about 8.30pm at Ill Crag - i.e. two descents still to go before the Pike.
* some of the original group turned back there - the 11 had continued, probably making the summit after 9pm
* all had windproof clothing etc
* all had set off from Langdale at 6pm intending to return the same way and doing the 3 peaks.

On that basis:-
* I didn't expect them back before midnight
* it was unlikely anyone was at real risk - it was a warm and clear night
* If someone had an injury the group was big enough for someone else to stay and others to make their way off to raise the alarm
* at that time of day, I didn't think people would appreciate continual updating by group pager message

I said we'd review at first light and asked him to ring again at 5am this morning..... Police updated at 1am.

The informant hasn't rung back!

I've left a message on his mobile (7am this morning) reminding him that a Police Log is still open

So what do we do know?.......  They're either :-

a) still out there

b) off the hill and driven off to Snowdon or Ben Nevis (not sure which order they're doing it in)

My conclusion is "do nothing", at least nothing about sending people onto the hill to search.  But have a growing concern that a group doing a mountain challenge seem to know little or nothing about mountaineering ethics.  If they are off and gone I see it in a similar light to leaving life boat crews to search the seas when people that are known to be safe already.

I will continue to leave messages and will update if I get any more info but for now, there is still a log open.


Postscript - no further contact from the informant as at 12.00 p.m. 11 June so the incident was closed and the police log closed.