A Bristol University student has died after a 500ft ‘horrific’ fall down Ben Nevis on New Year’s Day – the second death there in a fortnight, it was revealed today.
The female climber, 22, who has not yet been named, was on the Ridge Route between the summit of neighbouring Carn Dearg and Ben Nevis on a climb with three others.
But at around 3300ft up she slipped on ice and fell down the mountain to her death.
Her friends, also studying at Bristol University, were stuck on the ridge above and later helped down by a mountain rescue team.
Cardiff University student Patrick Boothroyd, 21, died on Britain’s tallest mountain in December after tumbling 1,500ft when a ledge of snow collapsed, but his friend Leo Grabowski miraculously survived.
|The unnamed woman died crossing a ridge connecting Ben Nevis (pictured left) with the summit of neighbouring Carn Mor Dearg (right of picture)
This is the coastguard helicopter flying close to Ben Nevis where a young woman fell to her death yesterday
The pilots managed to rescue three other students from the ridge (pictured) in blizzards and strong winds
Cardiff University student Patrick Boothroyd, 21, (left) died on Britain’s tallest mountain last month but his friend Leo Grabowski (right) miraculously survived the same 1,500ft fall
Describing today’s tragedy John Stevenson, leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, said: ‘We got called out about 10.30am. The woman had a big fall on very steep ground – around 500ft I would say. ‘The rocks are very icy at the moment and where she slipped there was an almost vertical drop.
‘There is not much snow just now, but it’s very cold and icy and there is a lot of black ice about.
‘It was actually a very nice day and the climbing conditions were good but difficult because of the ice.
‘The helicopter airlifted the three people she was with, one female and two male I think, away as they were also stuck in the ridge.
‘It has been a very quiet two months for us but unfortunately the only two call outs we have had have been fatalities.
‘It is hard to say but she would have stood little or no chance. It is a very rocky drop too. She would have gone straight down. It would have been a horrific fall to happen where it did.
‘The conditions are icy and very cold at the moment. She was with a group of four university students from down south.
‘The other three – I think two men and a woman – were stuck on the route and were clearly very shocked.’
A coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Inverness airlifted members of the mountain rescue team to recover the woman’s body.
It also managed to extract the other climbers off Ben Nevis.
‘The helicopter did a magnificent job. The cloud cleared enough to allow it to get in – but it was a difficult job,’ said Mr Stevenson.
‘We witnessed another example of exceptional flying getting the team into location to evacuate the casualty and in recovering her colleagues from a very difficult location.
‘Our thoughts and condolences are with the young woman’s family and friends. It is very sad start to 2019.’
Patrick Boothroyd, 21, pictured in the Dolomites in September, died after snow collapsed on Ben Nevis in December, sending him 1,500ft down the mountain
He was near the top of Tower Gully on Sunday, 16 December, with a friend and co-climber in his 20s, when an overhanging ledge of snow collapsed on them on Ben Nevis, Scotland
The woman is the first to die on Scotland’s mountains this year.
A University of Bristol spokesman said: ‘It is with great sadness that we can confirm that on 1 January 2019 one of our students died in an accident whilst on a hiking trip to Ben Nevis in Scotland. The student was part of a larger group of students who had organised this new year trip to the Highlands.
‘Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this student. This tragic accident will be deeply felt across our university community, and we will make sure we have support available to all those affected.’
The tragedy comes only two weeks after the death of another young climber on Ben Nevis.
Cardiff University students Patrick Boothroyd and Leo Grabowski were scaling Tower Gully on the 4,413ft peak on December 16 when a ledge of snow collapsed, causing them to fall 1,00ft.
Mr Boothroyd, 21, suffered a serious head injury while Mr Grabowski survived the fall with only broken bones.
Despite being dazed and disoriented, the 28-year-old immediately rang 999 and did his best to help his friend.
He covered him with a survival bag and huddled next to him, shielding him from the snow and wind. They were rescued after an hour but Mr Boothroyd could not be saved.