Climbers urged to aid search for missing Ben Nevis couple

Climbers Rachel Slater and Tim Newton, who have been missing for a week after failing to return from a climb on Ben Nevis. Image: Police Scotland/PA Wire
Climbers Rachel Slater and Tim Newton, who have been missing for a week after failing to return from a climb on Ben Nevis. Image: Police Scotland/PA Wire
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Mountaineers who have recently climbed Ben Nevis are being asked to log the route they covered to help in the search for a young couple missing on the country’s highest peak for more than a week.

Rescuers hope patrols will be out on the mountain on “most days” this week as weather conditions look set to improve.

Rachel Slater, 24, and Tim Newton, 27, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, failed to return from an outing on the UK’s highest mountain on Valentine’s weekend.

Ground and air searches have been ongoing since they were reported missing last Monday but efforts have been repeatedly hampered by treacherous conditions.

A 26-strong team braved sub-zero temperatures, high winds, driving snow and poor visibility on Saturday in a renewed bid to trace the pair.

But they were forced to suspend the mission on Sunday due to “increasingly hazardous weather” and a high risk of avalanches.

However, Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team (LMRT) said conditions are looking more favourable in coming days.

In a message on their Facebook page, the team said: “The weather next week is looking a little bit better than last.

“The winds look like they will be moderating a bit as temperatures drop. Snow is forecast every day with periods of heavy snow adding to the existing snow pack.

“The team will try and get parties on the hill most days.”

And they are calling for other climbers to share information with them to support the search and help rule out areas that have already been explored.

“We would ask anyone who plans to climb on the Ben this week to post on our Facebook page the areas they were climbing and the routes done,” the team said.

“This will help us eliminate parts of the mountain.”

In their latest statement, Police Scotland said: “Reviews continue to be ongoing and it is hoped that there will be an improvement to the conditions on Monday or Tuesday.

“Both Rachel and Tim’s family continue to be appraised of these circumstances.”

Ms Slater and Mr Newton were thought to have been camping near the Charles Inglis Clark memorial hut on the north side of Ben Nevis.

Their families have praised the overwhelming response from members of the public and the climbing community.

Meanwhile, two hillwalkers were found “cold and desolate” on the same peak over the weekend.

Brothers Rory and Leon Probert from Wales were located in the summit shelter on Ben Nevis, cold and wet but otherwise unharmed.

Rescuers from LMRT walked them down to safety.