Tribute to Cumbria rock climbing instructor Sam Pilcher killed in ‘tragic accident’

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A Cumbrian climbing instructor was killed in a “tragic accident”.

Sam Pilcher was climbing with a friend at Quayfoot Buttress in Borrowdale on Thursday afternoon (May 27) when he had a “leader fall from a climb”.

The Keswick Mountain Rescue Team said Mr Pilcher suffered “very serious injuries” and was transported by air ambulance to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

In a statement on Facebook yesterday (June 1), Kong Adventure Keswick confirmed that Mr Pilcher, who recently joined Ambleside and Langdale Mountain Rescue Team, died of his injuries last week.

The message read: “It is with great sadness that we share the news that one of our teachers lost his life last week.

“Sam Pilcher was climbing with a friend when he suffered a tragic freak accident at Quayfoot Buttress in Borrowdale.

“Sam joined our team in February 2020 and instantly brought enthusiasm, drive and passion to his job. He was an exceptionally hard worker and extremely popular with all of our staff and clients and quickly bonded with anyone who looked after him. he has taught and recently set up home-school group climbing sessions which were particularly well attended.

“Sam had also recently joined the Ambleside / Langdale Mountain Rescue Team and was thrilled and eager to help with many rescues.

“Sam was passionate about helping other people who are vulnerable or experiencing difficulty in their lives.

“Recently he teamed up with another of our instructors – Steve Chadwick – to climb 18 of the oldest routes in the Lake District with the shoes available at the time – ‘Old Routes in old boots’.

“Sam wanted to raise awareness and support the Dewolf bushcraft group which provides sanctuary and support for rescue workers, NHS staff and veterans.

“Steve will continue this challenge as a tribute to Sam and is looking for climbing partners to hold his ropes. If anyone is interested in supporting this challenge in Sam’s memory, please contact Steve at our center.

“We would like to thank the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team, his climbing partner Jamie and everyone involved in his rescue and for the superb care he received at Newcastle Hospital.

“Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”



The Keswick Mountain Rescue Team was called to Quayfoot Buttress on May 27

The Keswick Mountain Rescue Team was called to Quayfoot Buttress around 1:30 p.m. on May 27 after Mr Pilcher’s fall was witnessed by a member of the public in the parking lot below.

A spokesperson said: “The team reacted quickly with two vehicles heading towards the valley.

“Once at the rock, a small team climbed to the top of the rock to perform a rope rescue, lowering a paramedic to the victim.

The team paramedic then tied the victim to himself and our ropes for descent to a reception group of team members and paramedics who assessed and performed initial treatment. .

“The victim was then laid on a stretcher in the parking lot to a waiting ambulance before being transferred to the GNAAS air ambulance to then be transferred to the RVI Hospital in Newcastle.

“Many thanks to the Coast Guard helicopter which was also called in due to the nature and severity of the incident in the event that a winch evacuation was required.”

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