Page last updated at 22:05 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Two men die in Glencoe avalanche

Curved Ridge on Buchaille Etive Mor
The avalanche was on Curved Ridge on Buchaille Etive Mor

Two climbers swept away by an avalanche in the Highlands have died, police have confirmed.

The bodies of two men were recovered by a mountain rescue team from the Buchaille Etive Mor area of Glencoe.

Northern Constabulary said the men, who have not been named, were swept up in the avalanche shortly before 1700 GMT.

The two climbers were with a third man, who escaped being carried down the ridge. Walkers behind saw what happened and called the emergency services.

Leader of Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team, John Grieve, said: "Two of the party set off a very small, slab avalanche that just took them off their feet, they fell a long way.

They climbed all the way down the mountain, checking areas where the two might be, until they found their bodies
John Grieve
Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team

"It was very steep ground and they fell about 1,500ft, right down almost to the bottom of the mountain."

He said the other group of climbers met the uninjured member of the party.

"They climbed all the way down the mountain, checking areas where the two might be, until they found their bodies," he added.

The survivor then used a handheld GPS unit to guide rescue teams to the spot where the bodies lay.

'More snowfall'

On Wednesday morning a climber was badly injured after falling while walking near the Organ Pipes on the north face of Ben Nevis.

He was found in Coire Na Ciste after falling several hundred feet from an ice climb. Six other people on the mountain kept the man warm until mountain rescuers and an RAF helicopter reached him.

Northern Constabulary said there had been reports of an avalanche but Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team said there was no evidence of a slide.

Ch Insp John Chisholm said: "We are expecting more severe weather and heavy snowfalls over the next couple of days.

"Any climbers going on to the hills should check the latest reports issued by the Scottish Avalanche Information Service and the latest weather reports."

In January last year, a man from Tayside and two men from Northern Ireland were swept away by hundreds of tons of snow, while climbing a gully in the same area.

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