Fresh snow has fallen on Ben Nevis. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Fresh snow has fallen on Ben Nevis. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Rescuers have warned that conditions on the UK’s highest mountain are extremely difficult, after an operation to find a missing person on the peak.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and colleagues from the RAF Lossiemouth team were joined by the Inverness Coastguard helicopter in the search on Ben Nevis.

The missing man was found in a hypothermic state near the 1,345m (4,412ft) summit of the mountain by a member of the Lochaber team. He had spent the night on the mountain.

A Lochaber MRT spokesperson said: “Conditions were extremely difficult with fresh snow falling on to already deep snow, making progress very slow.”

The casualty was taken down the mountain to a site where the helicopter could airlift him from the hill. He was flown to Belford Hospital in Fort William.

The spokesperson said: “Conditions on Ben Nevis are very bad with lots of new snow build-up with high avalanche risk. A party of French climbers was avalanched in West Gully of the Douglas Boulder earlier in day but no one was injured.”

The Scottish Avalanche Information Service reports that the risk in Lochaber remains considerable above 800m on northerly through to south-eastern aspects, with some similar risk at high altitudes on other slope aspects where snow deposits have built up in sheltered local areas.

Similar conditions are present on the Glen Coe mountains and, to a lesser extent, on Creag Meagaidh. At a considerable risk rating, naturally occurring avalanches can take place.

The risk in the Cairngorms and Torridon is moderate, indicating human-triggered avalanches are likely.

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