The men died in a fall from the rocky spur to the right of the snow filled corrie on Buachaille Etive Mòr. Photo: Christine McIntosh CC-BY-ND-2.0

The men died in a fall from the rocky spur to the right of the snow filled corrie on Buachaille Etive Mòr. Photo: Christine McIntosh CC-BY-ND-2.0

Police have named the two men who died on Buachaille Etive Mòr last week.

Mountain instructor Christopher Walker, 29, of Keswick, Cumbria, and Robert Pritchard, 37,  of New Malden, Surrey, died after falling more than 450m (1,500ft) when a slab avalanche swept them off the spur above Coire na Tulaich.

A third man with them escaped the avalanche last Wednesday.

The party had chosen the route down towards Creag a’ Bhancair as a safer route than the corrie itself which is known to be prone to avalanche and which claimed the life of three mountaineers in January 2009.

Chris Walker was an experienced mountaineer and held the Mountain Instructor Certificate. He had led expeditions in Nepal, Pakistan, Tibet, India, Russia and South America.

Adventure company Jagged Globe, which organises expeditions all over the world, confirmed the two men were on a course it was running.

The company said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we confirm that a Jagged Globe instructor and one course member were killed whilst descending from Buachaille Etive Mòr on Wednesday 24 February 2010.

“Accompanied by one other course member, they had made a successful ascent of Curved Ridge. An instructor and climber from another organisation were climbing the route at the same time. Both teams walked off together from the summit, following the usual descent route to the west.

“At the head of Coire na Tulaich, the instructors assessed and discussed the conditions below and opted to descend the north-north-east ridge. The NNE ridge is the established alternative descent route when it is suspected that snow in the corrie may be unstable. It is a walking descent, not requiring the use of ropes.

“At a location beyond Point 902 metres, a small area of snow gave way and knocked the two members of the Jagged Globe party off their feet. No one else was affected. Sadly, they were unable to stop their slide.

“The remaining instructor and climbers joined forces and walked down the mountain hoping to find the climbers relatively unscathed. Sadly that was not to be and we are grateful to them for alerting mountain rescue.

“Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with the families at this immensely sad time. It has been upsetting and harrowing for all, but our first and last thoughts are with the families of the men who died.

“To respect the wishes of the families and next-of-kin – some of whom were overseas at the time of the accident and needed to be located – we have not been able to confirm the details of this accident until now.

“We would like to thank all members of the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team who attended the scene, our instructors and the climbers who all remained in Scotland and offered invaluable support.”

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