A woman from Manchester died after falling from a peak in Snowdonia. Experienced climber Samantha Jane Orton was on Glyder Fach in the Ogwen Valley when she fell and sustained a fatal leg injury.
An inquest held at Ruthin County Hall today (October 28) heard Mrs Orton, of Cringle Road in south Manchester, fell around three metres on the Chasm Route at approximately 2pm. The 55-year-old was with her friend and fellow climbing enthusiast, Hannah Carrington, on the day the tragedy occurred, June 2.
Just minutes before the fall had shouted down to say how much she was "loving" the climb and the views, WalesOnline reports. But just moments later Ms Carrington heard her friend let out a "loud terrified scream" followed by an "agonising cry as if she was in pain."
Mrs Orton had been leading the climb which meant Ms Carrington couldn't see what had happened, but other climbers nearby shouted that they could see Mrs Orton on a ledge, and that she appeared to be unconscious.
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The Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team was called alongside crews from the Welsh Ambulance Service and the Coastguard. The Air Ambulance and Coastguard helicopter arrived from Caernarfon and airlifted Mrs Orton from the steep mountain face.
Mountain rescue volunteers worked alongside ambulance and heli-med staff to provide medical treatment on the ground, but sadly Mrs Orton died at the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue base in Capel Curig shortly after 2.30pm. Ms Carrington was brought to safety by other climbers, and later given the devastating news that her friend had passed away.
At the hearing, Ms Carrington told how the pair had travelled to Snowdonia to climb the route after reading about it in a book Mrs Orton had recommended. The inquest heard the pair were experienced climbers who had carefully planned the route and were wearing appropriate safety equipment including helmets and harnesses.
A post mortem conducted by consultant pathologist Dr Mark Atkinson found Mrs Orton had died from "cardiovascular shock from blood loss due to a leg injury as a result of a fall from height." Having heard how much Mrs Orton had been enjoying the climb before the fall, her father told the hearing "she died doing what she loved."
Giving a conclusion of accidental death, senior coroner John Gittins said: "This was an accident, pure and simple. There is no suggestion before me that this anything more than a tragic accident."
Mr Gittins said "none of us know what is around the corner" but in his job he gets to see people "living their dreams." He added "she died doing what she loved in a place she was very fond of."
In a statement released following the incident, Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue said: "The second callout of the day came at 2.30pm to reports of a fallen climber on Glyder Fach. A lead climber took a fall on Chasm Route and was reported as unconscious, nearby climbers moved to help and the coastguard helicopter winched the casualty but sadly she had not survived.
"The climbers then assisted her partner back down the climb to waiting team members and she was looked after at base. The team's thoughts are with the casualties' family, friends and climbing partner, the team would also like to thank the assisting climbers for all their help."
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