UK & World News
Scotland Avalanche: Prayers For Four Victims
A female climber left fighting for her life after an avalanche that killed four has been moved from the Scottish Highlands to a hospital in Glasgow.
Police say the 24-year-old suffered serious head injuries and is in a critical condition in the city's Southern General Hospital, where members of her family are with her.
The victims - two women and two men - were among a party of six walking on Bidean Nam Bian, a mountain near Glencoe, on Saturday.
It is believed they were climbing down a peak when the snow-covered slope they were crossing gave way.
Five people in total were engulfed in a wall of ice and snow and sent hundreds of feet down the mountain.
A major search operation involving mountain rescue teams and police dogs was launched and the four bodies were found under the snow, while another man was unhurt.
Prayers have been said for the dead climbers at a private service at St Munda's Church in nearby Ballachulish.
Rev Moira Herkes told the congregation: "We include in our prayers thoughts for the deceased in yesterday's tragic accident on the mountain and their families.
"Somehow life must continue. We accept the challenges of nature as part of our living."
She added: "We also pray for the people who are injured, both physically and emotionally.
"And we give our thanks to those prepared to risk their lives in the saving of others, and do so with a sense of commitment and through thinking beyond themselves."
The alarm was initially raised by two other climbers not in the stricken party after they found one of the victims lying in the snow.
The sole male survivor then contacted police to say more people were missing.
John Grieve, leader of Glencoe mountain rescue team, which co-ordinated the search, said: "The first call to police was from two other people who had been on the mountain.
"They found someone lying next to where they were climbing. So, the assumption was that it was just one casualty, but it became clear that there were others missing when they heard from the man who is safe."
He said the dead climbers were located using a technique called "probing", where a metal stick is pushed into the snow.
"I'm not sure how deeply buried they were, but using that technique would suggest it was more than a metre," Mr Grieve, who was not involved in the search, said.
All of the missing climbers, who are yet to be named, were located within four hours of the alarm being raised.
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said: "This is an appalling tragedy and our immediate thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have been lost.
"To lose four people from a party of six is truly devastating."
Bidean Nam Bian is a Munro - a mountain with a height in excess of 3,000ft - with a number of different climbs.
Anyone who is concerned about relatives climbing in the area are advised to contact Northern Constabulary's control room on 01463 715555.
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what do you think?
Glencoe such a beautiful place but can be such a hostile place even in summer. I hope they find the other climbers soon
What on earth are they doing there in this weather .not only putting their own lives at risk but possibly their rescuers.lets hope they are found safe and well.
because its there
Yeah, what we should all do is sit on our sofas from birth till death so that we're not at risk from anything, oh, apart from obesity. FFS.
So you would climb a mountain in sub zero tempertures and if you got into trouble youd expect someone else to put their life on the line to rescue you would you ,endofastorm
But Shaun, the rescue teams know why they are there. They understand the love of the hills because they love them too. They understand their role and have no resentment towards walkers and climbers
Endangering the lives of others, in this way is a selfish act, and people should be made to pay for such rescues. Especially when it's obviously not the weather for such activities. People who go sailing in pirate infested seas, is another example. Someone else always has to pay !!!
Couldn't agree more, vlad!
Vlad I assume you do not drive or travel in a car
Another judge! Get off your pedastal, have some thought for the dead and get a life for yourself. You might find you can achieve something.
Yes, Vlad, everybody must stay indoors and not take any risks. Don't even cross the road. No, wait a minute, most accidents happen in the home. What to do, what to do?
No Bill, don't take risks when it's endangering someone elses life. Michael, you are so vague, you may as well be talking about football. What the hell has my travel habits to do with someone going climbing. Oh, and this weather was forecast a long time ago, it's not like it was a surprise.
Vlad I will try to make it simple for you In the last 10 years 33,000 have been killed on Britains roads - 3,000,000 have been injured. Every time you go out on the roads you are selfishly "Endangering Lives of Others"
I wouldn't say that driving a car within the law would be "selfishly Endangering Lives of Others". Not, that is, unless you do so dangerously and recklessly. Also, people tend not to drive in forecast avalanches, and so don't regularly need rescuing from similar situations.
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Mountain rescue is staffed by volunteers - including me. We are all experienced climbers who are more than happy to assist as and when necessary. The vast majority of incidents do not involve other climbers but idiots from cities who think they can walk up a mountain in shorts, tee-shirt and flipflops. As for comments such as "in this weather", today was a clear day with excellent visibility, perfect for a day in the hills. Chaos following a few inches of snow is not really a problem we have up here. Know your subject before making insensitive comments. My deepest sympathies to the families of the dead.
A perfect day in the hills involves an avalanche leaving 4 dead does it? Love to see your version of a bad day.
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Without a doubt!
Jan I assume you do not have a life
I dont agree with some of the comments about not going mountain climbing in this weather. I would like to point out that people climb everest and that has snow on it all year round. These people may have been experienced hill climbers. It Doesnt matter whether its raining, snowing or blazing sunshine or whether you are the worlds greatest climber you can still fall victim to the elements or the mountain
The problem that occurs, Chris, in Snowdonia at least, is not with experienced climbers but with teachers and scoutmasters who get parties of kids lost in midwinter.
Chris Everything we do in life has an element of risk, if the party had the relavent experience within the team, were correctly equipted and had assessed the risk after taking local advice, I like you have no problem with it. people die on mountains in fine weather. it would appear many on this forum have never ventured further than their front lounge and do they manage to climb the stairs
ts interesting you mention snowdon and teachers with groups Stewgwyn. My dad used to be a commitee member of an outdoor centre in north wales and used to take groups from the college where he works into the mountains. Hes told me stories of people hes been with, getting exposure in the middle of august on snowdon when its been warm. So it goes to show you can never be 100% sure of what will happen when you go hill walking.
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Sympathies to the families.been up Snowdon a few times not in weather like this. Would think they were experienced climbers doing what they enjoy
And i bet you had a little help from a certain railway.lol lol
Shaun no way. 6 times twice spent the night up there. We didn't even use the cafe
january?freezing,heavy snow?lets all go mountain climbing
Eric people love the hills in winter. There's nothing quite like it!
I see since my last comment four have died so r.i.p to those that have died and condolences to their familys. Though im not going to change my mind and not question why they were up there in this sort of weather.
Theres been blizzards chris - 10 tempertures. These peaple might be experienced but things still go wrong. So do you believe others should also put their lives at risk by rescuing such extreme enthusiasts. And remember often these are volunteer rescuers.
-10 and blizzards like i said everest is covered in snow all year round. And -10 is teeshirt weather in the himalayas yet people still climb it. The RNLI are all volunteers yet people still need them in calm seas. If everyone just stayed at home life would be boring. Our sense of adventure is what has helped us make the discoveries we have. If people didnt take risks we wouldnt get any where. Do you really think the rescue team would of carried out the search if it wasnt safe to do so?
At everest theres a doctor who checks peoples health before they are allowed to go.climbers there arent allowed to go up by the local authorities if the conditions arent favourable.they often wait for up two weeks before they get a window in the weather before being allowed up there, even then they are told it is at their own risk that they go up there and not to expect help if they should get into trouble.
Yes of course peaple should go on adventures, life would be very boring without them.but they shouldnt expect others to put their own lives at risk for their adventures.if you went on such an adventure in these conditions would you expect me to put my life on the line to rescue you.
And one more thing, i dont believe the rescuers themselves would be allowed to go up if the conditions werent good, though you know these volunteers would do their utmost to do so and the climbers should have been aware of this.
Volunteer and professional members of rescue teams are there to help. Many many people enjoy the mountains in winter and we cannot confine ourselves to our armchairs for the duration of our lives. They chose to go outon the hills and so do the tescue teams becuse they understand the allure of the hills
Shaun wrote " And remember often these are volunteer rescuers." and they do it willingly to allow others to enjoy the hills all year round Shaun I hope you do not drive a car because every time you get in it you potentually put some one else at risk
I cant say in this case as i dont fully know what the conditions were but i know for a fact that our local life boat station volunteers are very angry at times at peaples stupidity.most of their work is rescuing people who have been cut off by the tide that arent local and not even given a thought to the tide timetable.let alone going out in stormy weather.
Ive done a lot of the munros myself and got slighly caught out myself going up one of the easier climbs mount snowdon.i had to walk down backwards and this was in the summer.but you cant compare driving a car to the supermarket to mountain climbing in this weather.its absurb to try and compare the two things.
Shaun if you are experienced , have the gear and the right attitude, -10 is not a problem. Blizzards and avalanches are. Storms can whip up from nowhere and take you by surprise, but experiences climbers know how to cope. Unfortunately you cannot fight an avalanche
They have access to weather forecasts. No sympathy whatsoever.
Thats a little harsh richard, remember these people will have loved ones greiving for them today.
I agree with Shaun. I would also add that the weather on a mountain can change very rapidly and catch people out. An avalanch occured and that is not an everyday occurance. I have much sympathy for these people and their families. My sister and brother in law are often out on the hills. If this had happened to them and i read all these rather callous comments, it would cause much offence and hurt!
It's nice to be nice, especially when death is involved.
Loiisa There seem to be a lot of comment posted in Ignorance of what precautions are take by most responsible walker and those who participate in many sports Most seem happy to sit at home and wait for the heart attack
My comments may be harsh but the fact is that severe weather warnings have been reported for the past two weeks. If people choose to ignore these then they get their just desserts. They also demonstrate little care about the rescue services who have to put their lives on the line for the sake of a bunch of selfish, senseless fools. And before snybody tries to be clever and class me as one who would rather die on my sofa, let me point out that I served thirteen years in Her Majesty's armed forces and have done my share of risk taking.
Tell you what big guy - ring up the relatives and tell them that. Not up for it? Didn't think so. Your comments are disgraceful. Go and look up the meaning of decorum and if you have any little particle of it in you then have the decency to delete that offensive rubbish.
Very sad indeed for the relatives and friends of those that have died in this tragic accident. However, I do wonder why anyone would wish to undertake such a hazardous pursuit in such treacherous weather.
It is pointless to find fault with the dead and I sympathise deeply with the families of these people today. I have to say though, that had I read reports of a "high likelihood" of avalanche, I would not have risked it. It is a shame that so many rescue teams etc. are repeatedly put at risk for our fun. We have to start listening.
I need to add that although that information is not in this report, it was made known locally.
I didn't know that was the case Movvi. In that case i do think it was unwise to go up
Play with fie you will get burnt,sympathy to those involved
Louisa are you saying your sister and brother in law would climb five miles up a mountain in the minus tempertures in very heavy snow where theres a risk of avalanches and the authoritys have given out warnings for very treacherous conditions.and expect someone like myself to go and rescue them.
I sypathise with whats happened but i cant help feeling that some of these people are being rather foolhardy with their own lives ,but thats up to them, but they then shouldnt put other people lives in danger to rescue them.they didnt even tell anyone they were going there .according the news.
No but they do go up the hills in snowy weather and hundreds of others do. The problem is that weather changes fast up there and you cannot alway keep ahead of it. It can look clear and then you can get caught out. There were no red or even orange weather warnings for the Glencoe area. I don't even know if it was snowing the time Shaun. They crossed a slope and the ground slid away under them. If people didn't go up the hills in snow then they would be unable to go up there most of the year. It's quite normal here to go up there when there is snow and i don't think the area was experiencing a blizzard
Apparently the local radio warned peaple it was dangerous to go climbing up there in the current conditions
In that case, if they heard it, perhaps not very wise. But if they love the hills and know them well enough to weigh up the risks?
Shaun's right. Responsibility for your actions. That dosent mean you dont feel sympathy for the families. Sometimes I swim in our local river but would never do so when its in flood
such a sad ending... thinking of all the families involved
Every winter !!!WHY!!! it makes the news more risk their lives against the odds, saying that, t hose poor young lives lost, and to thier families my sincere condolences.