Missing Ben Nevis climbers: 'Dangerous conditions' halt search
February 16, 2016 5:25 pm
The search for two climbers missing on Ben Nevis has been suspended because conditions were “too dangerous”.
Tim Newton, 27, and Rachel Slater, 24, from Bradford, had been climbing on the mountain over the weekend.
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.
A car belonging to Ms Slater has also been recovered.
Rescuers described the conditions as “challenging”, with winds gusting up to 80/90mph.
A statement on the Lochaber MRT Facebook page said: “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.”
It added: “Two of the rescue team men avalanched traversing below No 3 Gully Buttress.”
Anyone with information about the missing couple has been asked to contact the police in Fort William.
Image copyright Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team
Image caption Two rescuers were caught up in an avalanche during the search operation
Police Scotland released a picture of the couple and said they would have been wearing climbing gear similar to that seen in the photograph.
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.
Numerous messages have been posted on social media from people sharing information and voicing hope that the couple will be found safe.
On the Lochaber MRT Facebook page, Tony Walker wrote: "The missing persons are Rachel Slater (my niece) and her partner Tim Newton.
“Both very experienced climbers. Most likely they are wearing the same clothing as in the photo. Any info greatly appreciated.”
On a climbing forum, Patrick Roman said he saw the pair at the weekend.
He said: "I was outside the CIC on Saturday morning.
“There were two people matching the image in the photo. He was wearing a red jacket and she a green and turquoise jacket.”