109 climbers involved in avalanche incidents in Scotland

A total of 109 people were caught up in avalanche incidents while out walking or climbing in Scotland last winter.

Mountain rescue teams undertake avalanche training near the summit of Aonoch Mor. Picture: Ian Rutherford/TSPL

Three people died in a 10 day period in February this year, while a further two fatalities may be linked to avalanches, according to a new report by the Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS).

The service recorded 205 avalanches between December 2015 and April - 159 were caused naturally and 46 were triggered by people.

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While a majority were relevantly minor, 21 climbers were carried down slopes by the falling snow.

“Significantly, 21 human triggered avalanche incidents occurred during a 10 day period in February, with three fatalities,” the report said.

“This period was also during the mid term holidays and coincided with stormy conditions, poor visibility, snowpack instability and when considerable to high levels of avalanche hazard, were issued by the SAIS, notably in the Lochaber and Creag Meagaidh areas.”

The report does not name the individuals killed or seriously injured by avalanches.

SAIS assesses avalanche hazards in six mountain areas, including Lochaber, Glen Coe, Creag Meagaidh, Southern Cairngorms, Northern Cairngorms and Torridon.

Climbers and hikers are advised to check the service’s regularly updated online warning system before setting out in winter months.

The highest number of recorded avalanches in Scotland in the modern era was in 2013/14, with 350 snow slides caused by exceptionally snowy conditions.

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