Dow Crag

Incident 42 of 2020:-
5/12/2020, 13:50, Dow Crag, SD262976
Winter conditions continued to prevail on our fells, with plenty of snow remaining high up and a ‘feels like’ temperature well below zero Centigrade. The weak sunshine did little to warm up the flank of Dow Crag. These are conditions which are easy to anticipate by looking at a good weather forecast (e.g. Met Office), and should have prompted anyone contemplating anything adventurous to use crampons and an ice axe, having already learned how to use them.
Two scramblers got into difficulty ascending Easy Gulley, and became cragfast on very steep ground to the edge of the gully. There is a chockstone blocking it, and a known scramble around it, but they appeared to have pushed on into climbers’ territory on A Buttress without any gear, and were now stuck on a narrow ledge. They called Cumbria Police, who in turn called us.
We despatched two Land Rovers as far up the Walna Scar road as we can drive, and then started the long hike, with all our crag, ropes, winter and night kit, up to Dow Crag via Brown Pike, looking to descend to the stuck party. Because of the limited remaining daylight (sunset was at 15.50), we requested helicopter assistance, and Rescue 199 from Prestwick was tasked to help. Their flying time to Dow was quicker than our hiking time with kit, so they arrived first, and took the decision to pick them off the crag with the helicopter’s winch. The very cold scramblers were then flown down to the fell-gate car park, and driven to our base for a debrief. Our hasty party had reached Brown Pike, and walked back down again.
14 volunteer members attended for 2 hours and 10 minutes.