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Search continues for missing climber after avalanche on Aonach Mor

By John Davidson

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Mountain rescuers were continuing to search for a missing climber who is thought to have been caught in an avalanche on Friday.

Andrew Vine (41) was last seen on the west face of Aonach Mor at around 1pm on Friday, February 28.

His climbing partner was injured in the avalanche but managed to get to the ski area on the mountain to raise the alarm.

Over the weekend, rescuers from Lochaber, Glencoe and Cairngorm mountain rescue teams have been involved in an extensive search for Mr Vine.

Missing climber Andrew Vine.
Missing climber Andrew Vine.

The Lochaber team stated that the high avalanche risk in the area was making the operation more difficult, with more than 120 man days spent on the search up until Sunday.

Helicopters from Inverness and Stornoway have also been involved in the operation.

The team said in a post on Facebook on Sunday: "We are presently assessing as to how we proceed with this search as the weather conditions and the high avalanche risk could put rescuers at risk."

Mr Vine is described as white, 5ft 11in tall, of medium build with ginger/brown hair and a beard. He was wearing a red jacket, yellow La Sportiva boots, black trousers and was carrying a yellow rucksack.

Sergeant Ross McCartney at Fort William said: “As times passes we are becoming increasingly concerned for Mr Vine and would like to speak to anyone who has seen him since 1pm on Friday.”

Meanwhile, the Cairngorm team was involved in two separate searches for five lost walkers over the weekend.

They were called out late on Saturday to search for three people lost on the Cairngorm plateau.

While the 12-strong team were looking for the lost trio they also came across two others who also reported being lost during the initial call-out.

All were safely escorted off the hill.

Team leader Willie Anderson said:"We got the call about 9pm and it was getting very windy and very cold.

"But we found the five in the ski area. They were cold but fine. It really is winter conditions now."

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