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SEARCH SUSPENDED FOR MAN MISSING AFTER AVALANCHE

The climber was last seen on Aonach Mor on Friday. Mountain rescuers were forced to suspend the search as bad weather and a high risk of further avalanches continued across the Scottish Highlands.

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Recent heavy snow has raised the threat in Scotland and there has been a sharp increase in incidents in the Highlands.

Andrew Vine, 41, and from the Manchester area, was last seen on the west face of Aonach Mor near Fort William at about 1pm on Friday 28th February.

His climbing partner was seriously injured in the avalanche but was able to reach the Nevis Range snowsports centre and raise the alarm.

Lochaber, Glencoe and Cairngorm mountain rescue teams and two coastguard helicopters were involved in extensive searches for Mr Vine over the weekend.

Andrew Vine

Andrew Vine – photo issued by Highland & Islands Police Division

“Extensive searches have failed to locate the second person,” Lochaber Mountain Rescue said on Sunday.

“The ongoing high avalanche risk across the search area has not helped the operation and rescuers have been operating in very high risk locations…..we are presently assessing as to how we proceed with this search as the weather conditions and the high avalanche risk could put rescuers at risk.”

Video: Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team

Over the past three days, 3 iSMR rescue teams, Lochaber, Glencoe and Cairngorm have been searching for a person who had been caught in an avalanche on Aonoch Mor. There were two people in the party and one was able to make their way out to the ski area of Aonoch Mor, despite suffering injuries in the avalanche. Extensive searches have failed to locate the second person The ongoing high avalanche risk across the search area has not helped the operation and rescuers have been operating in very high risk locations. So far some 120 plus man days have been spent on the search assisted by both R151 from Inverness and R948 from Stornaway.We are presently assessing as to how we proceed with this search as the weather conditions and the high avalanche risk could put rescuers at risk. We would like to thank the Glencoe and Cairngorm teams for their support together with the SARH helicopter crews. The attached images and video are from various stages of the search. Please acknowledge Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team or even better donate to any of the iSMR teams involved if you intend to use the images for commercial purposes.Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing person.

Posted by Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team on Sunday, 1 March 2020

The avalanche risk in Lochaber was reported as “high” at Level 4 over the weekend.

In the other main mountain areas it was described as “considerable”, Level 3, by the Scottish Avalanche Information Service, SAIS.

The service has recorded 122 avalanches this season, with 101 in the past month.

There were 124 recorded for the whole of last season.

Last Wednesday a climber was injured after being caught in an avalanche on Ben Nevis.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team

The ski season in Scotland is now back on track after a poor start following the fresh snow.

Our Scotland reporter, Rod Frazer, has recently sent us this article on conditions.

Top of White Lady, Cairngorm

Top of White Lady, Cairngorm

Fresh tracks off the Fiacaill Ridge poma, Cairngorm

Fresh tracks off the Fiacaill Ridge poma, Cairngorm

Cairngorm ski area from Glenmore

Cairngorm ski area from Glenmore

However, it comes with risks.

“People are understandably excited now that proper winter conditions seem to have finally settled in,” said the mountain safety adviser for Mountaineering Scotland, Heather Morning, to the BBC.

“But don’t let that excitement overrule your hill sense.

“There has been a lot of fresh snow and a lot of wind, which creates often complex situations regarding avalanche risks on different parts of the mountains.”

Glenshee, Lecht, Glencoe and Cairngorm were able to open runs on Friday.

Cairngorm had to close due to bad weather.

High winds affected operations at Nevis Range.

On Monday 2nd March, the wintry weather was continuing in the Highlands.

This was the scene first thing at Glencoe:

Megaflakes

Car park view this morning 🙂

Posted by Glencoe Mountain Resort on Monday, 2 March 2020

The snow means there should be excellent conditions in Glenshee where the unofficial winter GB ski tests take place this week (Tuesday – Thursday).

The main event in Pila in the Aosta Valley in Italy did not go ahead this year as brands and retailers pulled out due to the Coronavirus situation in Northern Italy.

Instead a smaller event is taking place in Glenshee and our Scotland reporter, Rod Frazer, will be attending the test and putting a few pairs through their paces.

Our editor, James Cove, was poised in the Aosta Valley for the Pila Tests.

Instead he has set up his own exclusive tests of the Elan skis this Thursday in Courmayeur.

He will also be posting a full and detailed report on the Coronavirus outbreak in Northern Italy and its impact on the season so far.

Main photo c/o SAIS, North Cairngorms

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