Bad Weather Delays Search For Missing Climbers

The search for two experienced climbers missing on Britain's highest mountain has been delayed by more bad weather.

Efforts to locate Rachel Slater, 24, and Tim Newton, 27, on Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands were suspended on Tuesday due to treacherous weather conditions.

The pair, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, went climbing over the weekend and were reported overdue on Monday.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team planned to resume the search at first light on Wednesday but heavy snow, fog and blustery winds have forced them to review their plans.

Two members of the rescue team were caught up in an avalanche during the search of Tuesday but survived unscathed.

Leader John Stevenson told BBC Radio Scotland: "We're expecting more bad weather so we've put everything on hold and are reviewing it.

"There were high winds yesterday which have died down a bit but it's still very blustery on the hill and the areas we want to look at have had a lot of fresh snowfall blown in so they are very unstable and we wouldn't like to put people in there until there is a bit of settlement.

"It's always a worry when you're putting people in to these areas. It's quite scary and very hard work in these conditions.''

It is believed the couple had been camping behind the Charles Inglis Clark memorial hut on the north side of the mountain.

Seasoned climber Ms Slater is a graduate of Manchester University and is employed as an environmental consultant near Bradford.

Mr Newton, originally from Leicester, also lives in Bradford and studied physics at the Universities of Manchester and Leeds, according to his Facebook profile.

Mr Stevenson said it is hoped that teams can take to the mountain later.

He said: "We'll just have to wait and see - it's the snow conditions that will determine what we can do and where we can go.

"We'll keep reviewing it and as and when we'll try and send people out.''

He added: "As time goes on it's very difficult, the weather conditions have been really bad and no-one has heard from them or seen them is a worry. You always have hope but as time goes on that diminishes quite rapidly.''

Friends and fellow climbers have been posting messages on social media praising the search teams and voicing hope that the couple will be found safe.

One wrote on the UKClimbing forum: "Great, enthusiastic young climbers. Such good role models for the sport.

"I've seen them out and about in the past and follow their logbooks cos they climb routes I'd like to. I hope they are found OK. I'm crossing everything and thinking of them and the search teams.''

Anyone who was climbing or walking in the Ben Nevis area over the weekend and saw the couple is being urged to contact police on 101.

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