Man survives Cairngorms blizzard by hugging his dog for warmth

A snowboarder who was lost in a blizzard survived by hugging his dog for warmth as they waited to be rescued.

A snowsports enthusiast survived subzero temperatures in blizzard conditions in the Cairngorms by cuddling his dog to keep warm

The man, from the Edinburgh area, dialled 999 after becoming disorientated in bad weather around 3,500ft (1,067m) up on Cairn Gorm near Aviemore at 5:45pm on Saturday.

A team of 23 from the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team (CMRT) were dispatched to the scene and found him huddling in a bivvy bag with his Labrador cross when they reached him at around 8pm.

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Willie Anderson, CMRT team leader, said: “The man was well equipped but the weather was poor and he was a bit overwhelmed.

“It was really bad weather but we got to him. He was very cold, probably in the early stages of hypothermia.

“He hadn’t had a lot to eat so his energy was low.

“The dog helped keep him warm, the dog was absolutely fine.

“It was good that we got to him because he would have been in very poor condition by morning, there was a wind child of around minus 20C and it was a blizzard.”

The man was said to be well equipped and had checked information about avalanche risks. The mountain rescue team walked the man and his pet back down the mountain to safety, with neither needing medical treatment.

Mr Anderson added: “It is always a challenge to have to navigate in the dark in addition to snow and high winds.

“We’ve also got to be careful with avalanche slopes.

“Thankfully the man eventually got a good signal which meant we were able to identify his exact location on a grid reference. We were absolutely delighted with the outcome and really pleased that both the casualty and his dog are both safe and well.”

Last week three climbers were killed in an avalanche on Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak.

The sister and brother of one of the three visited the scene of the tragedy at the weekend.

Swiss national Mathieu Biselx, 30, was the only survivor of the avalanche on Ben Nevis last Tuesday.

He lost three members of his climbing group who were members of the Swiss Alpine Club in the town of Sion in the southwestern canton of Valais.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team (LMRT) said that two family members visited the scene of the avalanche at the weekend.

In a post on Facebook they wrote: “Today some of 
the team with Graeme from Scottish Avalanche Information Service took a friend from the Swiss Alpine Club, a sister and brother of one of the No 5 Gully casualties, up to the scene of the accident so that they could have a better appreciation of the incident and report back to family and friends in France and Switzerland.”

Two of the avalanche victims were French, aged 41 and 32, and the third was a Swiss 43-year-old.

LMRT also asked climbers to look out for ice tools belonging to the four climbers 
which have not yet been recovered, although they have 
collected most of their equipment and effects which will soon be repatriated to France and Switzerland.