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U.K. Climber and Mountain Rescuer Dies After 20-metre Fall

He took a big fall, was wearing a helmet, but tragically died from head injuries

Sam Pilcher, 31, was out climbing with a friend when he suffered a tragic freak accident at Quayfoot Buttress in Borrowdale. Pilcher had recently joined Ambleside/Langdale Mountain Rescue Team and worked for Kong Adventure Keswick.

On May 27, Pilcher was climbing when he apparently lost his footing and fell approximately 20 metres to the ground. While Pilcher was wearing a helmet at the time, he still managed to sustain a “very serious” injury. Had he landed in a different position, his boss, Lou Osborn said that he would have survived the fall.

“He was so unlucky,” she said. “He did everything right but was really unfortunate.”

A witness who saw Pilcher fall immediately called 999, the U.K. version of 911. Members of the Keswick Mountain Rescue team responded. Using ropes, they lowered a paramedic down to Pilcher to make an initial assessment of Pilcher’s condition before lowering both to the base. Pilcher received some preliminary treatment before being rescued by a helicopter that took him to Newcastle Hospital, where he apparently succumbed to his injuries three days later.

The Keswick Mountain Rescue Team posted its own tribute the same day.┬áHe “sounded like an amazing guy with such a promising future. Our thoughts and condolences to his family and friends,” the team wrote.

Kong release a statement saying that Pilcher joined their team in February 2020 and “instantly brought enthusiasm, drive and passion to his job. He was exceptionally hard-working and was extremely popular with all of our staff and customers and quickly bonded with all of those he taught. He recently set up the Home-School group climbing sessions that were particularly well attended.”

He and climbing partner Steve Chadwick recently teamed up to climb 18 of the oldest routes in the Lake District in the footwear that was available at the time, they called it “old routes in old boots.”

Sam Pilcher