An avalanche on Friday afternoon on the north face of Ben Nevis has claimed the life of one climber while another was left with serious injuries. The avalanche occurred around 3.35pm on Friday (December 30), with emergency services announcing the 48 year old dead at the scene.
A post on the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team’s Facebook page reads: “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 eight hours after the initial call we delivered the casualty to the Belford Hospital for further assessment and treatment."
The rescue team also revealed the avalanche itself had a slide of 600 metres (1,969 feet), which led to the men being trapped on Ben Nevis’ number two gully. The team have offered their condolences to the families of both climbers and have notified their next of kin.
It is the second death to occur on the north face of Ben Nevis, with a peak of 1,345 metres - the highest in the United Kingdom. Climber Rob Brown died after a fall from the north face of the mountain in August of 2022, where he was found in the Zero Gully area of the climb.
Despite its popularity as a climbing destination for many, accidents have been commonplace on Ben Nevis due to its tricky navigation and tendency for bad weather, leading to poor visibility. In the late 1990s, Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team erected two posts on the summit plateau to assist walkers attempting the descent in foggy conditions. These posts were subsequently cut down by climbers, sparking controversy in mountaineering circles on the ethics of such additions.