A group of three rock climbers were rescued off Eagle Ridge near Lochnagar following the early onset of darkness on Sunday, October 10.
An operation was mounted by Braemar Mountain Rescue Team and Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team with assistance from the Coastguard after a call-out was received regarding three stranded people on Eagle Ridge.
The ridge is a popular and well-known spot with rock climbers.
Mountain rescue received the call-out at around 8pm. The rescue helicopter was requested to transport the gear required to lower the three people down from the ridge.
The team were placed near to the two men and one woman and only by the illumination of one of their head torches were the team able to locate them.
However, due to strong winds, the helicopter was unable to help once the team was on the scene and so the team had to lower each person down to the bottom of the gully.
This is the fourth call-out over the weekend for Braemar Mountain Rescue Team and Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team after spending two days attempting to locate a lost hiker.
‘In the darkness, you lose all the landscape features you would normally navigate from.’
Some of the recent incidents are being linked to the change in weather and darkness setting in a lot sooner as factors in people needing to be rescued.
Malcolm MacIntyre, support manager for Braemar Mountain Rescue Team, said: “It’s something that always catches people out this time of year. The days get shorter quite quickly; especially when the weather is bad.
“It’s common for people to set off later than they intended and end up out at night and for many people that is an alien experience for them. In the darkness, you lose all the landscape features you would normally navigate from.
The case of the three rock climbers is unusual due to the fixed routes that climbers generally use and don’t stray away from. They tend to go up and come back down whereas walkers can wander off course and end up lost and disorientated.”
Several of the mountain rescue teams have urged people via social media to think carefully and plan for walks during this time of year.
Packing items such as a head torch could be vital as it was in this case due to it notifying the rescuers of the location of the climbers.
After the lowering operation was completed, the team escorted them back safe and well and eventually back to base at 5.30am on October 11.
The onset of darkness also limited the three stranded climbers from abseiling down the side of Eagle Ridge themselves.
Mr MacIntyre said: “You tend to rock climb in pitches, which is 50-metre lengths, and Eagle Ridge is around six pitches so it is quite a long route.
“By the time you get into darkness you can’t always see what is below you and the fear that your rope is not long enough to reach the bottom.
“You tend to abseil off the side of Eagle Ridge, down into the adjacent gully which is usually straightforward. However, I understand why they chose not to do that as they might not have been confident when you can’t see what’s below you.”