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Climbers plucked from Ben Nevis after spending five hours stuck in freezing conditions

The Carn Mor Dearg Arete and the north face of Ben Nevis. Picture by William A. Cameron
The Carn Mor Dearg Arete and the north face of Ben Nevis. Picture by William A. Cameron

Two climbers were plucked from the freezing face of the UK’s highest mountain after spending over five hours stuck on its fearsome north face.

It was the third rescue for Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team in two days – the second from Ben Nevis.

In the latest seven hour rescue, two local students were stuck about 3,000ft up the 4,411ft high peak on Castle Ridge.

They called for help around 6.30pm on Sunday.

Sixteen members of Loochaber MRT were sent to their aid after the Inverness-based coastguard search and rescue helicopter was unable to reach them – due to the men’s position on the climb.

The rescuers were airlifted to Halfway Lochan on the mountain befoore the stranded pair were later hauled to safety.

“One of the climbers had slipped and fallen 15 metres but was still on the rope. However he lost his ice axe,” said John Stevenson, Loochaber MRT team leader.

“It was pretty chilly and the lad that was suspended managed to get his feet on a wee rock. He lost his ice axe and could not climb back up. They were stuck for five to six hours on the climb, they were cold but they were well equipped.

“We got to them and got them back to the top and then down to Halfway Lochan where the helicopter took us off. We managed to get back to base and finish up around 1am.

“The night was very clear and cold. The conditions are superb and there are a lot of people on the hill at the moment. We don’t know where they come from, but there are a lot of people who enjoy the mountains who live in the area. We just ask people to follow the rules and stay safe.”

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