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Avalanche Kills Climber in Scotland

Two climbers fell around 600 metres down the Number Two Gully, one survived and is serious condition

A 49-year-old climber has been killed in an avalanche on the country’s highest peak Ben Nevis. The climber’s partner, a 42-year-old, survived but suffered serious injuries. The avalanche took the climbers hundreds of metres down the north face. Over 30 rescuers from Lochaber and Glencoe mountain rescue teams answered the call Friday afternoon. The two U.K. climbers were in a team of four on the route called Number Two Gully, the two other climbers phoned for a rescue.

Ben Nevis routes

Donald Paterson, leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, said, “It appears they were near the top and their weight made a cornice give way and that triggered the avalanche. The wind conditions meant that the helicopter couldn’t get in so the teams found the pair on top of the snow and stretchered them off the mountain. They must have fallen 600 metres (1968ft) and the chap who survived was very lucky. Though badly injured, he dodged a bullet while his friend didn’t. Sadly, so often, that is the luck of the draw. We wish to extend our condolences to the deceased’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

There have now been 10 fatalities that the Lochaber MRT has dealt with in what is now a record breaking year of call outs for the team. They’ve dealt with over 120 logged rescue calls. Ross Cadie, Senior Mountain Safety Advisor, of Mountaineering Scotland, “When winter arrives in Scotland’s mountains, we need to make sure we do our homework before heading out. Planning and preparation from trusted sources and matching your adventure to your level of skill and conditions will help you return home safely.”

Inspector Matt Smith, Police Scotland’s mountain rescue team lead added: “As ever, our amazing volunteer mountain rescue teams will be there to support those in difficulty right through the season whatever the weather.” In January 2019, we reported about two deaths in on Ben Nevis, read more here.