Ben Nevis search for missing climbers called off due to 90mph winds

Tim Newton and Rachel Slater
Tim Newton and Rachel Slater
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A search for two missing climbers on the UK’s highest mountain has been suspended due to high winds and freezing temperatures.

Tim Newton, 27, and Rachel Slater, 24, from the Bradford area, had been tackling Ben Nevis in Lochaber over the weekend.

But rescuers have called off the search because of the ‘challenging conditions’ on the peak.

The alarm was raised when they were reported overdue from their expedition on Monday.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team said 36 people were involved in searches on Tuesday, with two of the team caught up in an avalanche.

It is believed the couple had been camping in a green tent behind the Charles Inglis Clark (CIC) memorial hut on the north side of the mountain.

Police Scotland confirmed the search had currently been postponed.

And Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, in a message on social media, added: “Very challenging conditions during search for Rachel and Tim.

“80/90mph winds with windchill giving temperature which feels like -20c. Two of the rescue team men avalanched traversing below No 3 Gully Buttress.

“Today there were 36 people out from Lochaber MRT, RAF MRT and three members of SARDA Scotland.

“After five hours of searching, it was decided that conditions were too dangerous to continue search which was focused on Coire na Ciste and South Trident Buttress area following a possible sighting of two people fitting their description climbing in this area early Sunday afternoon.

“If you were on South Trident Buttress on Sunday could you call Police Scotland on 101 and ask for Fort William Police.”

On the Facebook page they posted photographs of their tent at the CIC hut and a picture of them on Ben Nevis last year.

Ms Slater is an experienced, well-travelled climber.

In an online blog, she wrote: “I’ve been around rocks my whole life as my parents are very keen climbers - most of my childhood was spent scrambling around at the bottom of the cliff with the occasional easy top rope.”

She is currently employed as a mineral, waste and environmental consultant near Bradford.

Mr Newton, originally from Leicester, also lives in Bradford and has studied physics at the universities of Manchester and Leeds, according to his Facebook profile.

Logbook entries for Ms Slater on UKClimbing.com suggest she has conducted a number of climbs with Mr Newton.

The area where the couple camped is a popular entry route into the Carn Mor Dearg Arete.

The narrow walk leads to the summit of Ben Nevis and scales a 2000ft cliff drop, known as the North Face, into the Coire Leis gully below, where the CIC hut is located.

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