Incident 40/2014 – fallen climber at Brownstones Quarry

At 20.10hrs this fine and dry evening, we were paged by NWAS (Greater Manchester Area) EOC Parkway, answered by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE.

Garry was informed of an accident to a climber at the popular climbing / bouldering venue of Brownstones Quarry, immediately adjacent to Colliers Row Road, Smithills, Bolton, to which NWAS had already despatched an Emergency Ambulance (On route) and their HART team (Also on route)

A very quick response by two of our Team Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances was made, with a full team pager call out going out at 20.15hrs.

During this initial stage of the response the HART Team Leader and Garry, our Team Leader, were in mobilephone contact regards the location, with a course of action discussed that HART and NWAS would provide the casualty care and the team would arrange the stretcher evacuation if required. (Which was in the event required)

Just after the NWAS Emergency Ambulance arrived at the road head, with the crew proceeding to the accident site, our first responding team members arrived at 20.19hrs.

Team member Steve Fletcher, who had been climbing just along Scout Road at Wilton Quarries, went to the casualty site, whilst team member David Cook who lives nearby, set up a road side control and ‘logging’ point.

At the casualty site, Steve met up with the NWAS crew, being joined quickly by other resident nearby, responding team members.


In the company of a much more experienced male climbing companion, the 38 year old male climber from Eccles, had fallen from a modest height, whilst bouldering, yet had sustained a suspected very painful serious lower leg fracture.

At this stage the HART team also arrived at the casualty site, and with the responding NWAS Ambulance crew, assessed the mans injury, administered drugs for his pain, and using one of our specialist vacuum splints, packaged his injury.


A short stretcher evacuation on one of our mountain rescue stretchers (SAR Alpine Lite) was then carried out by team members as darkness fell, and the temperature suddenly dropped, with thanks to the HART team for providing area / scene lighting.

By 21.03hrs the casualty was in the warmth of the NWAS Ambulance which departed shortly afterwards for Royal Bolton Hospital.


Our last team members left the roadside RVP at 21.45hrs, with Team member Michael Eddleston in our BM1 Land Rover journeying to Royal Bolton Hospital to retrieve our Casualty Bag and Vacuum Splint.

The following resources were involved in this incident;

  • NWAS (Greater Manchester Area); EOC Parkway Control, Emergency Ambulance and two crew based at Atherton Ambulance Station.
  • NWAS HART; HART Team from Trafford Park, including Duty HART Team Leader and 5x HART members, plus four responding HART Specialist vehicles.
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team; 22x Team Call Out list members on scene, of which 18x were involved in the actual stretcher carry, one further team member was stood down responding. Two Team Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicles (BM1 and BM3) responded.

All three emergency service teams present from NWAS, NWAS HART and Bolton MRT worked seamlessly together to effect the prompt treatment and evacuation of this climber, with the climber involved and his companion giving their thanks to all on scene.