A mountain rescue team leader has questioned whether a man who died in a fall from a Scottish mountain should have been on the hill in Storm Dennis.
Police Scotland confirmed that the man died as a result of the incident reported to police shortly after 1pm on Sunday as Storm Dennis raged.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was recovered by the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team.
Donald Paterson, deputy leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, said the man was with a companion and guide – and they had paid to take part in a winter hills training course.
“I don’t think their objective was to reach the summit. They were halfway up the hill, but the conditions were horrific – horrendous,” he said.
“The winds were gusting over 50mph. I was knocked over twice and some of my team were also knocked over too. There was snow, hail, wind and rain at lower levels. It was awful.
“In my opinion, it is questionable that they (the guided party) should have been out in that weather, but ultimately it is their decision to make over the conditions.
“I don’t think the guy who died was experienced. There were three groups on the hill doing winter training. This particular group was two inexperienced people with the guide.
“The man was either blown over or fell 20 to 30 metres (66ft to 98ft) into a small gorge about halfway up the hill.
“It took us an hour to get him out of there and then another three hours to take him down by stretcher. It was horrendous. There was also thunder and lightning about. I was soaked through.
“We had 19 team members on the hill and they did a brilliant job, especially carrying the stretcher down – that was brutal in the conditions.”
For many of the team it was their third rescue in a week.
Last Monday four walkers were rescued from Ben Nevis in a -20C blizzard – three of them wearing trainers. Then, three days later, two climbers were also rescued off the UK’s highest mountain after being trapped by an overhanging ledge of snow on the North Face.
“This rescue on Sunday was another epic effort by the boys. They were tremendous – especially in the conditions. All in all it took us six hours,” added Mr Paterson.
Police said a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.
Inspector Isla Campbell, of Fort William Police Station, said: “Our thoughts are with the man’s family and friends at this time. I would also thank our partner agencies.”
Stob Bàn is situated at the western end of the Mamores ridge, more than three miles north-west of Kinlochleven.
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