Epic on Pillar

"We did early rescues in Eskdale, Albert Hargreaves and I, we'd some amusing rescues.

I was so proud of being in business the partnership was known as Cross and Hargreaves and it was in the first month or two of our being in Eskdale and Ben Alick came round, we hadn't a telephone, and Ben had come round in his car, and said, "I've come to see if you'll help. There's a fellow stuck on Pillar Rock. His friend's come down and he won't stir, he's stuck on the ledge on something called The Nose.". And we knew what The Nose was.

So we got our climbing stuff and jumped in the car and we took with us the only thing - we had no torches - a hurricane lamp and I think this was late April because it was light till about half past nine and we'd just time to get to what we called Looking Stead the light began to go and we went along what is known as the high level route and then Shamrock traverse, and then we'd to descend on to what is known as Low Man on Pillar and find the head of the gully that runs down to the north climb and The Nose by which time it was dark, and we lit the paraffin hurricane lamp and we'd taken two ropes with us and we tied one rope at the top, we found this gully and we tied a rope to this big boulder at the top and then we went out gently down the slope and it didn't go far enough to The Nose so we were tied to our rope, one at either end we tied the hurricane lamp at the end of the rope down the gully.

I'll never forget this because the wind was blowing and this thing was kind of going like this. Then we felt our way down and it was just by chance, you know, we went leap frogging like, passing and belaying and so on and just by chance that I should be one to find my foot - there was nothing for my foot to land on so I realised that we'd come to the Nose, so Hargreaves belayed me tight and we got some slack rope and we shouted off the top because this fellow would only be about fifteen feet below us on the ledge but there was a wind blowing and every now and again it was almost daylight with the moon and then the cloud would come over it and it would be dark, it was wonderful and eventually we got a squeak from this person down below, no doubt he was scared stiff when he heard this yelling, he would think there were dobbies about, and I'll never forget, although Rushin afterwards said, "Don't worry we'll soon have you out of there, Cross and Hargreaves are here!"

And eventually we got a rope down to him and got him tied on and we pulled him up as though he were a cork out of a bottle and then he had the time of his life with us getting him off Pillar and we got back to Burnthwaite about three in the morning. "

From the Ambleside Oral History Group archive