On Tuesday at around 11:50 am, the Ben Nevis avalanche claimed the lives of 3 climbers who have since been identified as French and Swiss nationals. Two of the climbers who died were French, aged 32 and 41 while the other climber was a 43-year old Swiss national. Luckily, 30-year-old Mathieu Biselx, who is a Swiss national, is in stable condition and is being treated for injuries on his legs at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
Mr. Biselx said that the other climbers were well experienced and were staying with a local guide with whom they took advice from. Biselx and his companions were given two routes to take on the UK’s highest mountain. He said that since they had tackled one route in the morning without much difficulty, they decided to tackle the other one in the afternoon. Upon arrival, they saw that there was already an avalanche and were swept away before reaching the area.
When speaking to Le Nouvelliste, Mr. Biselx who is a father to a little girl and the president of the alpine club said he was amazingly lucky. He was quick to mention that his companions were wonderful people and fathers, saying: “It’s terrible they’re not here anymore. They won’t see their families again.”
When speaking to a UK Climbing forum, a witness said he saw the avalanche tumbling down the Number 5 Gully with huge powder clouds. According to a rescuer, the climbers were caught by the river of ice and snow. He said that the whole search and recovery operation was in brutal conditions because of the strong winds.
In recent months, two more people have died on the Ben Nevis.
According to Swiss media, the group was a member of Swiss Alpine Club, Sion. Lobacher Mountain Rescue Team secretary, Brian Tregaskis paid tribute to members of his team and the climbers. They were joined by the Glencoe MRT and volunteer mountain rescuers who were training in the area.