A second young student has died climbing the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, after a 500ft “horrific” fall on a New Year’s Day climb.
The woman, a student at Bristol University who has not been named, has become the second university student to die on the 4,411 ft peak in two weeks.
The 22 year-old was on the Ridge Route on Carn Dearg on Ben Nevis near Fort William with three others climbers as part of an organised university climb but slipped and fell to her death around 3300ft.
“The rocks are very icy at the moment and where she slipped there was an almost vertical drop of 500ft,” said John Stevenson, leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, who were called out at around 10.30am.
“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. It would have been a horrific fall to happen where it did.
“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.”
The woman’s death is the first tragedy on Scotland’s mountains this year.
Three weeks ago, the university’s mountaineering club held a safety talk for students embarking on climbing trips to Scotland and France.
Miller Harris, a member of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team told The Telegraph: “We give out generic advice, for example making sure people have the right equipment and know how to use it at this time of year.
“This didn’t apply to this group, they were pretty well equipped. We think that what has happened is that they’ve gone slightly off route onto more difficult terrain that they didn’t expect.
“It is not full winter conditions but there are some winter conditions: essentially the temperature dropped pretty quickly yesterday, that probably resulted in that the rain being frozen onto the rocks and they probably encountered that.”
Her death comes just two weeks after the death of Patrick Boothroyd, 21, another young climber on the same face of Ben Nevis.
Cardiff University students Mr Boothroyd and Leo Grabowski were scaling Tower Gully on the 4,413ft peak on December 16 they fell 1,00ft after slipping on snow.
Mr Boothroyd, 21, suffered a serious head injury while Mr Grabowski survived the fall with only broken bones.
On New Year’s Day, a coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Inverness airlifted members of the mountain rescue team to recover the young woman’s body.
It also managed to extract the other climbers off Ben Nevis.
Mr Stevenson added: “The helicopter airlifted the three people she was with, one female and two male I think, away as they were also stuck in the ridge.
“It has been a very quiet two months for us but unfortunately the only two call outs we have had have been fatalities.”
A University of Bristol spokesperson said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm that on 1 January 2019 one of our students died in an accident whilst on a hiking trip to Ben Nevis in Scotland. The student was part of a larger group of students who had organised this new year trip to the highlands.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this student. This tragic accident will be deeply felt across our University community, and we will make sure we have support available to all those affected.”
Mr Stevenson said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with the young woman’s family and friends. It is very sad start to 2019.”
Last year, Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team attended 109 incidents, of which 10 were fatalities.
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