Sad result on Ben Nevis for missing walker located in Surgeons Gully.

Relatively quite this year ?  On Ben Nevis

I posted this a few days previously Relatively quite this year ? On Ben Nevis not now a sad result!

The body of missing hill walker Kyle Knox has been found on Ben Nevis  yesterday. It is another chapter in one  of Ben Nevis big searches come to an end with a sad result. When someone goes missing the Mountain Rescue teams, SARDA and other agencies work hard to find the missing person to help give the family of the missing person some comfort that they have been found and the grieving can start, my thoughts are with the family and freinds of Kyle.

Mr Knox was last seen setting off on a planned expedition to the UK’s highest peak on Monday, March 30.

His body was spotted at around 3pm in the Surgeon’s Gully area on the south-eastern side of Ben Nevis by Royal Navy search and resue helicopter R177, which was conducting a search of the Glen Nevis area.

The 23-year-old, who is from London, was formally identified and his next of kin have now been informed. He is thought to have fallen while descending from the mountain, having missed the path between Five Finger Gully and Coire Eoghainn.

Donald Paterson, deputy leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, said: “It looks as if he has gone off between Coire Eoghainn and Five Finger Gully and continued on to the front face where it is just too steep.

“Surgeons Gully is a natural drain-off if you fall. He ended up quite a long way down.”

Mr Knox was initially reported missing after failing to return to his accommodation in Fort William after setting out for Ben Nevis.

The search for the missing walker has been hampered by poor weather conditions on the mountain for the past few weeks.

Warmer weather recently has resulted in a thaw which allowed the helicopter to survey the hill yesterday.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team were preparing for a further search of the hill today, concentrating on Coire Eoghainn which has been the scene of a number of rescues this winter.

A police spokeswoman confirmed the discovery of Mr Knox’s body last night.

She also thanked the various agencies involved in the search, including a number of mountain rescue teams, police dog units and the rescue helicopters.

The Ben Plateau a wild place in bad weather.

The Ben Plateau a wild place in bad weather.

Please Note

It is again well worth noting that descent from the summit requires great care especially in bad weather. most people are very anxious to stay clear of the huge North East Face and strayed to far the other way, ending in Coire Euoghain or 5 Finger Gully . No one should underestimate how serious this is in bad weather.

map ben nevis-001

from Ron Walker

“In the early nineties in a typical Ben whiteout, I remember taking a bearing from the summit after climbing Point Five. My American climbing friend suggested we follow the obvious tracks heading further left from my compass bearing, I ignored his suggestion saying it was much safer to follow the bearings, which we did.
Later that day we heard that there had been a fatality in Five Finger Gully and a day or so later another accident or fatality in the same gully.
It struck me at the time that despite going through the winter mountain leader scheme it would be very easy, if lazy, to just to ignore the bearings and follow the more obvious boot tracks heading left away from the huge cornices on the right.
Without really good and practised navigation skills, most will just follow the obvious tracks, so once a few folk have gone down that way others will follow, hence the spate of accidents in Five Finger Gully!
The other problem is that the more folk that go into that area on a search the bigger the obvious tracks become.
If you are wandering about scared and lost in whiteout and you come across lots of tracks you are likely to think, great I’m safe, then relax a bit and follow the tracks wherever they go, be it down a gully or over a cornice.
Once it’s reached that point, there is a strong argument AFAIC, that maybe the area should be temporally fenced off as it would be in a ski area due to hi avalanche risk or cliffs or in the Mont Blanc massif or some other solution.
Just some thoughts!”

About heavywhalley.MBE

Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist
This entry was posted in Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Views Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sad result on Ben Nevis for missing walker located in Surgeons Gully.

  1. Ron Walker says:

    In the early nineties in a typical Ben whiteout, I remember taking a bearing from the summit after climbing Point Five. My American climbing friend suggested we follow the obvious tracks heading further left from my compass bearing, I ignored his suggestion saying it was much safer to follow the bearings, which we did.
    Later that day we heard that there had been a fatality in Five Finger Gully and a day or so later another accident or fatality in the same gully.
    It struck me at the time that despite going through the winter mountain leader scheme it would be very easy, if lazy, to just to ignore the bearings and follow the more obvious boot tracks heading left away from the huge cornices on the right.
    Without really good and practised navigation skills, most will just follow the obvious tracks, so once a few folk have gone down that way others will follow, hence the spate of accidents in Five Finger Gully!
    The other problem is that the more folk that go into that area on a search the bigger the obvious tracks become.
    If you are wandering about scared and lost in whiteout and you come across lots of tracks you are likely to think, great I’m safe, then relax a bit and follow the tracks wherever they go, be it down a gully or over a cornice.
    Once it’s reached that point, there is a strong argument AFAIC, that maybe the area should be temporally fenced off as it would be in a ski area due to hi avalanche risk or cliffs or in the Mont Blanc massif or some other solution.
    Just some thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • heavywhalley says:

      I would agree but many of the conservationists would disagree! How many of them have been in these awful places on a search or recovery and spoke to the relatives and family. Never easy but in the end maybe the Cairns on the summit may need a re – look as a lot of walkers have drifted away from the North Face thinking that is where the danger is . The South side is as tricky and navigation in a bad day needs to be spot on . The summit plateau of the Ben in a wild day takes a lot of effort to navigate safely no matter who you are. What chance do many that are expecting a well marked path that may be under feet of snow.
      Not an easy question for a long standing problem any ideas out there?

      Like

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