Man dies after climbing frozen waterfall

A man has died after falling 80 feet while ice climbing a frozen waterfall on Boxing Day.

He had been climbing with a companion, both from the north east of England, when one fell on Howgill Fell, near Kirkby Stephen, on the border between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

The area is a rocky gully called Cautley Spout, which is normally a vertical waterfall from the top of the fell, but had frozen over making it ideal for ice climbing practice, according to local mountain rescuers.

Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team were called by police at 11am on Boxing Day, and a team of 14 volunteers were joined by 13 more from Kendal Mountain Rescue, two from Teesdale Mountain Rescue and three members of the Cave Rescue Organisation, who were in the area.

A paramedic was winched down from an Air Ambulance but could not resuscitate the injured climber and it is understood he was pronounced dead at the scene. His climbing companion was not injured.

The man's body was winched from the foot of the waterfall by a Sea King helicopter from RAF Valley before being transferred by ambulance to hospital.

Arthur Littlefair, team leader of Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue said: "It was a fine clear day and one can understand people want to go out and enjoy the fells.

"We have no criticism to make. Like any sport, of any sort, it always has an element of risk to it. Sometimes things happen, accidents happen."