A student from Bristol has died after falling 500 feet on Ben Nevis.
The 22-year-old woman, who has not yet been named, was on the Carn Dearg Buttress ‘ledge route’ on the mountain’s north face on a New Year’s Day climb with three others.
At around 3,300ft up she slipped and fell to her death.
Police say she was taking part in an organised university climb.
She is the second university student to die on the mountain in two weeks.
John Stevenson, leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team described the fall as ‘horrific’.
Today we were going to post a review of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team review of 2018 but given the events of today, this…
He said: “The rocks are very icy at the moment and where she slipped there was an almost vertical drop of 500ft,”
“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.
“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.”
In challenging weather conditions, the Inverness coastguard search and rescue helicopter took in members of the mountain rescue team to recover the woman’s body.
The helicopter also lifted the other climbers off the mountain.
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Mr Stevenson said: “The helicopter did a magnificent job. The cloud cleared enough to allow it to get in – but it was a difficult job.
“We witnessed another example of exceptional flying getting the team in to evacuate the casualty and 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.”
The tragedy comes only two weeks after the death of another young climber on Ben Nevis.
Cardiff University student Patrick Boothroyd died and his companion Leo Grabowski sustained broken bones when a ledge of snow collapsed as they were scaling Tower Gully on December 16.
The pair fell 1,000ft.
Local councillor Andrew Baxter said he was saddened by the loss of life.
He said: “It underlines the dangers in our mountains during this time of year. That’s why it’s so important people come prepared and take precautions.
“However, accidents still happen and the superb volunteers in our mountain rescue teams are always there, often putting themselves at risk, to help others.”
Dozens of people took to Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team’s Facebook page to express their shock at the young climber’s death and their admiration of the rescuers.
Heather Nicoll wrote:”This is such sad news. We believe it was the four students my partner and I sat with in the shelter at the summit of the Ben, sharing a hot chocolate together getting ready for their next leg of their adventure.
“My heart goes out to all involved and to the family of the young lady who has lost her life (heart emoji) thank you mountain rescue for all you do xxx.”
Paula King posted:”You do an amazing job, you recovered my fiancé’s body and that of his colleague from the foot of Stob Coire Nam Beith in December 1993.
“You never gave up in treacherous conditions, searching on foot for days. That brought us great comfort in the face of despair.”