Friday, 11 December 2009

Fred Botterill

Botterill’s Slab, high on Scafell in the Englsih Lake District, was one of the first rock climbing routes in the UK to be graded Very Severe (see previous post). Created in 1903 by Leeds climber, Fred Botterill, this week’s Footless Crow reproduces an account of the first ascent, taken from the Yorkshire Rambers Club Journal 1903/04.

It was while climbing on The Napes crag's Eagle's Nest Ridge, another test piece of the day, that Botterill was involved in an accident that saw the lead climber, Thomas Rennison, fall to his death. Following this, Botterill gradually withdrew from the crags.

The Manchester Guardian reported the inquest into the accident and it makes fascinating reading to see just how unprotected climbers were in the early days of the sport. Much more about this in The Guardian Book of Mountains.

Manchester Guardian, September 28 1909:

(click to enlarge)

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