A climber has been killed and another injured after an avalanche on the highest mountain in Scotland.
The man, 49, was hiking Ben Nevis when he and another man, 42, plummeted nearly 2,000 feet off the 4,413-foot-high mountain’s north side yesterday.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The other climber survived the dizzying fall but suffered serious injuries and was taken to Belford Hospital in Fort William for treatment around midnight today.
The pair were part of a group of four attempting the Number Two Gully, a trench covered in precarious high-angled and overhanging snow.
Nearly 40 members from Lochaber and Glencoe mountain rescue teams and a helicopter were sent after the other two hikers raised the alarm.
Donald Paterson, leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, said it appeared the pair were ‘near the top and their weight made a cornice (an overhanging ledge of snow) 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,’ he said.
‘They must have fallen 600 metres 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.’
On Facebook, the Lochaber rescue team said: ‘Sadly one had sustained fatal injuries and the other was seriously injured after a slide of 600 metres (approximately).
‘With the weather creating some challenging conditions the helicopter was limited to the assistance it could offer.
‘This meant that we had an extended extrication of the casualties and 8hrs after the initial call we delivered the casualty to the Belford Hospital for further assessment and treatment.
‘At this time, our thoughts are with the families of both involved.’
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: ‘Around 3.25pm on Friday, 30 December, 2022, we received a report of two people falling in an avalanche at Ben Nevis.
‘The Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team were dispatched and a 49-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.
‘A 42-year-old man was taken to Belford Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.’
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