Two bodies, of a man and a woman, were found on Ben Nevis last night (23 March) by mountain rescuers.
It's not yet been confirmed whether the bodies are those of Rachel Slater and Tim Newton, who have been missing on the mountain since February after failing to return from a climb on Ben Nevis. However, Police Scotland released a statement last night saying: "Formal identification is taking place and the families of missing climbers Rachel Slater and Tim Newton have been informed."
The bodies were found in Observatory Gully, although in separate locations. And mountain rescuers indicated that there were signs suggesting an avalanche had occurred in the area,
While no formal confirmation has been released yet, Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team (LMRT) paid tribute to the searchers and rescuers, and gave their condolences to the families and friends of Rachel and Tim on its Facebook page.
We are still awaiting confirmation, but while that comes our thoughts go out to those that have been involved in this tragedy for over a month. The couple were reported missing on 15 February, but initial searches were continually hampered by hazardous weather conditions, including high risks of avalanches.
Dave Turnbull, chief executive officer of the BMC, said: The BMC sends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Rachel Slater and Tim Newton, who were both experienced climbers and BMC members. Scottish winter conditions can be as challenging as those found on many of the highest mountains in the world and climbers venturing into the British uplands are well aware of the risks involved.
"LMRT has done a tremendous job in the face of difficult and dangerous conditions, and it is deeply sad that the search didn’t have the outcome that we were all hoping for."
For climbers that are considering heading to the Ben, Heather Morning, mountain safety advisor at the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, says: “The Scottish winter mountains are beautiful and awe-inspiring; attracting hundreds and thousands of mountaineers and climbers every season. However, the Scottish mountains can be a challenging and dangerous environment when high winds, low temperatures and variable snow conditions prevail.
“Prior to heading out into the mountains, everyone should ensure that they have researched their route, based on current weather and avalanche information. It is also essential to ensure that individuals have the correct clothing, equipment and emergency kit for their chosen activity. More information can be viewed on the Winter Safety page of our website.”
The Access and Conservation Trust
The BMC's charity – the BMC Access & Conservation Trust – promotes sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside by facilitating education and conservation projects across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
By educating climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to enjoy outdoor recreation while minimising their impact on the landscape, conserving the UK’s upland resources, and campaigning for improved access rights, ACT enables future generations to continue to enjoy outdoor activities and the physical, mental and social benefits they bring to individual lives and society in general.
WATCH: the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign film
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