Snow and cold take deaths to record high: Rescue workers are warning climbers of changeable weather, reports John Arlidge
Thursday 24 February 1994
Mountain safety groups warned climbers and walkers in the Scottish mountains to guard against unseasonably variable temperatures and winds, which have been accompanied by the heaviest snowfalls for seven years.
Alf Ingram, secretary of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland, said: 'In the past two months we have experienced temperatures from plus 5 or 6C to minus 27C with the wind chill, and winds of between zero and 125mph.
'Sometimes these changes have occurred within a 12- or 24-hour period, so that people who have looked out of the window in the morning and thought that they would be going out for a pleasant stroll or climb for the day have found themselves locked in a battle for survival.'
Douglas Paterson of the Glasgow Weather Centre said: 'There is much more snow on the slopes now than at this time last year because, unlike 1993 when a prolonged thaw led to serious flooding, temperatures have stayed mainly below zero. As well as creating avalanche problems the snow, combined with high winds, has also led to the build-up of large cornices (snow overhangs) - which are extremely dangerous.'
Last week Jacqueline Greaves, 53, fell through a cornice in the Cairngorm mountains and spent two nights in temperatures below minus 20C before being rescued.
The body of an Irish climber, Kevin Mulroy, 29, from Edinburgh, was recovered from Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, yesterday morning. Rescue teams said the man and his companion Brian Boot, 27, from Chester, made a 'navigational error' while attempting to descend in 'white-out' blizzard conditions and fell into a gully.
In response to the latest deaths, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland yesterday issued safety guidelines for climbers. Kevin Howett, national officer for the council, said that despite warnings climbers and walkers were underestimating the dangers on the peaks.
'The mountains of Scotland may not be as high as the Alps or as steep, but they are much, much further north,' he said. 'When you get up above 1,000 metres there is nothing between you and the North Pole, and when the wind starts blowing and the snow closes in conditions are arctic.'
Climbers should check long- and short-range weather forecasts and local avalanche warnings before setting out, he said. If navigating with a map and compass was not 'second nature', they should practise the skill. He added: 'You can't beat the mountains but you can come to terms with them. We are not saying climbers should stay off the slopes, but they should act to minimise the risks.'
- 1 Chelsea victory parade mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 2 Preston fan who appeared to snatch Jermaine Beckford's shirt from eight-year-old boy identified and says: 'the truth will come out'
- 3 Johnny Depp facing 10 years in jail for illegally bringing dogs to Australia
- 4 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
Johnny Depp facing 10 years in jail for illegally bringing dogs to Australia
US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission, Benefits, OTE £100k: SThree: ...
£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...
£27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you a recent graduate loo...