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Mountain rescue warning over Sharp Edge

Posted 22 November 2012
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Mountain rescue warning over Sharp Edge
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Winter is a time when walkers and climbers need to be well prepared for the outdoors, with colder weather and shorter daylight hours, not to mention the increasing possibility of snow and ice on higher ground, being obvious issues.

Torches, thermal clothes and crampons when encountering snow are all items that people can use. But taking good advice is also important.

There are some places on mountains that become particularly dangerous in certain weather, even for those in the right clothing and footwear. Keswick Mountain Rescue has issued a new warning about one such spot in the Lake District.

Sharp Edge on Blencathra consists of slate and is therefore harder to grip when wet than on dry days. The drops on both sides are large and can lead to serious injury or death.

The Keswick Team has responded to a second incident in less than a month on the ridge, leading to it repeating on its website the advice it gave after the first of them.

It said: "Sharp Edge is notoriously slippery after rain and for some days afterwards. Descent is much harder than ascent. Incidents on Sharp Edge tend to be serious! "

Last month, a women and her dog had become cragfast on the ridge after trying to descend it in wet weather. In this month's incident, a 26-year-old woman slipped and fell ten metres as she tried to get down from a slab to what the rescue team called "the usual gully".

Those taking on Sharp Edge can approach it from Scales on the A66, or Mungrisdale from the north. Rising high above Scales Tarn, the climb consists first of the knife-edge ridge, followed by a steep gully that can be ascended to reach the smooth upper slopes of Blencathra.

If the weather is not favourable for Sharp Edge, the 2,848 ft mountain can be climbed via several routes on smooth, grassy slopes.

Once on the peak, walkers will encounter an unusual summit. Instead of being topped by a cairn or trig point, there is simply a circular metallic marker embedded in the ground.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801492875-ADNFCR