The avalanche occurred on Ben Nevis's North Face. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The avalanche occurred on Ben Nevis's North Face. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Police said two of the men who died on Ben Nevis on Tuesday were French, and a third came from Switzerland.

A fourth climber, a 30-year-old Swiss national, remains in Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

The two French climbers who died were aged 32 and 41. The Swiss man who lost his life was 43.

The incident happened in Number Five Gully on the mountain’s North Face.

Fort William Inspector, Isla Campbell said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those involved in the avalanche on Ben Nevis.

“Formal identification will take place in due course and the next of kin of those involved have now all been informed.

“I would again like to thank the volunteers from Lochaber and Glencoe mountain rescue teams and the members of the public who assisted with this incident, in what was extremely challenging conditions.”

Brian Tregaskis, secretary of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, said “The members of the Lochaber and Glencoe Mountain Rescue teams did an incredible job in very difficult conditions.

“We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of those who lost their lives and we hope the surviving casualty makes a full and speedy recovery.”

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team said the alarm was raised shortly before noon on Tuesday by a member of the Scottish Avalanche Information Service who saw the avalanche and by a guide climbing in the area.

The Lochaber team and Glencoe MRT, were joined in the rescue by a group from the Joint Services Mountain Training Centre who were training in the area. A total of 29 volunteer mountain rescuers attended the incident.

A Lochaber MRT spokesperson said: “Conditions were very difficult with very high winds, snow and thunder and lightning, which restricted the support the MCA helicopters could provide despite some excellent flying.

“We would like to thank everyone who assisted during the day: Glencoe MRT, the SAR-H helicopters and the JSMTC. We would like to put out special thanks to Graeme Moss of SAIS, Richard Thacker mountain guide and Richard Bentley mountain guide who all assisted.”

Police Scotland issued a plea to hillgoers to check weather and avalanche information and to take the necessary precautions before setting out.

Inspector Campbell said: “The circumstances of [Tuesday’s] incident remains under investigation. However, we want to take this opportunity to advise the public to carefully plan when heading to the mountain ranges.

“We do not want to put anyone off enjoying the great outdoors activities we have here in Scotland but we would ask that people plan their routes, take sensible precautions and consider whether it is safe to climb a particular route.

“The environment of the Scottish mountains is by its very nature an unpredictable one and it is important that people take as many precautions and plan ahead as much as possible if they are going to go climbing, especially at this time of year.

“Detailed information about weather conditions and avalanche risk are available from agencies including the Scottish Avalanche Information Service and we would encourage climbers to look at this information before heading out on the mountains. Be prepared to alter your routes or plans if there are indications that inclement weather or avalanches could affect your climb.”

Information on weather and avalanche services is available on grough’s links page.

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