Ice climber plunges to his death from frozen waterfall

A man died after falling 80 feet while ice climbing a frozen waterfall on the border between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

He was climbing with a companion, both from the North East of England, when one fell on Howgill Fell, near Kirkby Stephen, on Boxing Day.

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, said mountain rescuers.

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

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

An RAF Sea King helicopter winched the body from the foot of the waterfall and it was taken away by ambulance.