Rachel Slater and Tim Newton have not been seen since Sunday

Rachel Slater and Tim Newton have not been seen since Sunday

Searches resumed today for the two climbers who have been missing on Ben Nevis since Sunday.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team said 25 of its members are scouring parts of the mountain’s North Face for signs of Rachel Slater and Tim Newton, despite the risk of avalanches.

Conditions have prevented the Inverness Coastguard helicopter taking part in the operation.

A team spokesperson said: “Our thoughts continue to be with Rachel and Tim’s family and friends. We have assured them we will use our best efforts to find them.

“Today, we have 25 team members plus one dog out searching. Conditions still remain extremely challenging with considerable avalanche risk, high winds and heavy fresh snow above 500m.

“The temperature is around freezing at 500m and -6C on the summit, which feels like -19C with the windchill factor. As you might expect, it was a very subdued group during the briefing which was very much focused on staying safe.”

The team said the plan today was to search the lower slopes from the North Face of Castle Ridge, Castle Coire, below Waterfall Gully and all the way round to the CIC hut. “One team is going to attempt to look into the Castle Gullies and the Carn Dearg Summit Gullies, with due consideration for potential of triggering avalanches onto teams on the lower slopes,” the spokesperson said.

“We have a drone which we will use to attempt to use to look on to some of the ledges above Waterfall Gully and lower slopes of Colando. Expectations of it being able to operate are not high.

“We would like to thank everyone who has offered their assistance in the last few days. With conditions as they are we cannot afford to put any more people than absolutely necessary at risk and hope you appreciate why we have declined these generous offers.

“Our response for information has produced lots of information which has all been assessed and considered. Hopefully some of this information will lead to a result soon.”

The two climbers, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, camped behind the CIC Hut last weekend before setting off on a Valentine’s Day outing. They were reported missing on Monday when Ms Slater failed to turn up at work.

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