Climber dies after 100ft fall from mountain

Ian Brown died after falling 98ft from Mount Ponoig, Spain. (Image by Google)
Ian Brown died after falling 98ft from Mount Ponoig, Spain. (Image by Google)

A climber plunged almost 100ft to his death while abseiling from a Spanish mountain.

Ian Brown, 36, was described as a “loving and thoughtful” person with a spirit of adventure at an inquest into his death on Thursday (May 30).

The inquest was held at Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby)

The inquest was held at Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby)

He was an experienced climber and qualified mountain rescuer who had scaled Snowdonia and enjoyed hobbies like white water kayaking, the inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall heard.

But the countryside ranger, of Conwy, Wales, died after falling around 30 metres (98 ft) from a mountain known as the “sleeping lion” on November 27, 2018.

His wife Kate Brown, a librarian, said in a statement read at the inquest, “Ian was loving and thoughtful, full of energy and was always looking for the next adventure.

“From a young age he knew he wanted to be a countryside ranger. He loved his work and being outside in all weathers. He would commit completely to any task and would often come home covered in mud.

“He loved sharing his passions with others, introducing them to a new outdoor activity.”

Born in Brighton and a former Lewes resident, Ian worked for conservation charities like the RSPB and Wildlife Trust, and held various jobs as a countryside ranger helping conservation efforts across the UK.

His wife said, “When I broke my leg he invited my sister Rachel to a rock climbing holiday in Spain. He was only too happy to pass his love of climbing to someone else.

“He was an experienced and competent climber. He didn’t push himself, instead enjoyed the experience.”

‘I remember screaming and falling’

The inquest heard how Ian and his sister-in-law Rachel Palmieri decided to take a different route from the set path on Monte Ponoig, in Costa Blanca.

She said in a statement, “He said the rope wasn’t long enough but it was okay because we could abseil the rest of the way.”

They checked the anchor several times to see if it was secure enough to hold their weight, Rachel said. She was the first to abseil down.

“Half way down I felt it slacken, he shouted my name, I remember screaming and falling. The next thing I knew I was lying on the ground wrapped up in ropes.”

Ian, who had been attached to Rachel, had fallen 25-30 metres, a report by the Spanish authorities said.

Rachel, herself suffering a leg injury, managed to call the emergency services and a helicopter rescue team was sent out to find them. Tragically it was too late for Ian.

A post mortem found his cause of death was from multiple injuries.

Coroner Alan Craze said, “It clearly relates to the rope becoming unanchored, that we can be certain of.”

He recorded Ian died as a result of misadventure. He expressed his condolences to the family.