Huge Rescue on Ben Nevis on The Long Climb by Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team a sad week for them.

There was very little on the news over the weekend just a piece saying that a Rescue had taken place on Ben Nevis and there had sadly been a fatality. Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team put this in their Facebook page. I have no problem copying it hopefully to let others who do not use Facebook and see there comments To me it is an incredible story and a sad week for the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team. My thoughts are with the family of the climbers who sadly lost their life and also to the team. A great effort by all and hopefully more people will know what happend on Ben Nevis on Friday night and the efforts of these brave people on that huge North East Face at night in poor weather.

Lochaber MRT

Lochaber MRT

From Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team Facebook Page

“Last week was a very difficult one for the team. We had 3 call outs, two of which included fatalities. Also, a very close friend of the Team, Emmy tragically lost her fight with cancer on Friday evening. Emmy’s father was long time member of LMRT.

Our thoughts today are with the family and friends of the two climbers who died and with Emmy’s family. It was great to see the RAF Mountain Rescue Team from Lossiemouth were assisting Lochaber.

On Friday night we got called out to an incident on Long Climb on Ben Nevis where two climbers were involved in an incident about 150/200 metres from the top of the climb. The climb runs up the centre of the banner photo on our FB page above which is taken in winter. The rescue started at 6.15 pm on Friday evening and was not finished until 6.00 am next morning.

The Long Climb from Classic Rock 1400 foot Mild VS/Severe on Ben Nevis Orion Face.420m 14000, 11 pitches. A classic meandering line, best climbed after a few dry days and with good visibility an Alpine style route on the Ben.

The Long Climb from Classic Rock 1400 foot Mild VS/Severe on Ben Nevis Orion Face.420m 14000, 11 pitches. A classic meandering line, best climbed after a few dry days and with good visibility an Alpine style route on the Ben.

This proved to be one of the most difficult and technical rescues Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team have ever been involved in. Conditions did not allow R951 get to do any more than taxi people and equipment onto the mountain. We were assisted by the RAF MRT on the evening. There were 18 team members and 13 RAF MRT involved.

The rescue involved a 600 metre lower down the route, the longest climb in the UK, to get one of the climbers who was stuck on belay. This was a very technical exercise, locating the precise location of the casualty in cloud and in the dark on a huge face on very dangerous terrain, as the top of the route is very loose this year.

The lower from the very summit of Ben Nevis was down the whole of the Orion Face with the rescuer and casualty hanging free for long sections of the lower before reaching the safer ground at the base of Observatory Gully.

The summit team, supported by RAF MRT, located the surviving climber and lowered him to the base of Observatory gully and walked out to a point where R951 could bring him back to Fort William.

The second climber unfortunately had died from his injuries and another team had to climb up from base to locate the casualty and then lower him down route and down to where he could be recovered to Fort William by R951.

The following is an extract from description by climber who did the route this weekend after the rescue and emphasises the risks involved in this rescue.

“Easily my most challenging (and longest) day in the mountains to date. Accidentally trundled some big blocks (largest about 4 times my size) from top of last pitch, surprised to realise I was still alive, as was my belayer, after doing so”

We would like to especially thank the RAF MRT, who without their assistance and support we would have taken considerably longer to effect the evacuations. We would also like to thank R951 who stayed most of the night to assist with getting people on and off the mountain in very difficult flying conditions for this air-frame.

Finally, on behalf of John and Donald, a very big public thank you to all the Team members and who took part on the rescue at considerable risk to themselves to save a life.”

An incredible rescue by Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and a life saved despite the tragedies that happend on the past week.


Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team depend on the public’s continuing donations and fundraising support. The costs involved in running a mountain rescue team are high. A single-use smoke-flare costs around £10, whilst an 800m rope, which might only be safe to use once, costs around £1000. Donate today and help us save lives.

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Charity, Equipment, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Views Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

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