Climbers safe after 40 hours on Ben Nevis

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The Independent Online
The two women climbers who were found yesterday after spending 40 hours sheltering in a snowhole on Ben Nevis described last night how "very, very frightening'' their experience had been, writes Peter Victor. Zoe Green, 20, and Iona Kim Roden, 22, both students at the University of Central Lancashire, were discovered at 11.25am yesterday on Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, after an ordeal which began on Thursday.

From their hospital beds in Fort William, the women issued a statement saying of their rescuers: "We have never been so relieved as when we saw these three men coming towards us."

The alarm was raised when they failed to meet up with their companions after telling them they were planning to climb in the Tower Ridge area of the mountain. Rescuers began searching for the pair on Friday but failed to spot them bivouaced on a ledge 300ft from the top of the north face of Ben Nevis.

On their way to the hospital, they gave an account of their wait for the rescue team. "We knew the survival procedure, so basically we said to one another: `We can't go back; we can't go up. So we'll just have to stay here'. So we dug a snowhole and got inside our bivouac bags.

"It was very scary and very, very frightening."