Mountaineers killed in Glencoe avalanche names by police

Police have named two mountaineers who were killed in an accident in the Scottish Highlands.
The mountains at GlencoeThe mountains at Glencoe
The mountains at Glencoe

Simon Davidson, 34, from the Edinburgh area, and Joe Smith, 23, from Kinlochleven in the Highlands, are thought to have died after being caught up in an avalanche in Glencoe.

Police Scotland confirmed the identity of the pair, who had "fallen some distance" and were found by another climbing party on Stob Coire nam Beith at about 4.30pm on Saturday.

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Glencoe mountain rescue team, which led the recovery operation, said the men were roped together, suggesting they had been on a climb.

Mr Davidson and Mr Smith, who was originally from the Lancashire area, were said to have been experienced and were carrying adequate equipment.

The weather in the area was described as "a typical winter day - snowing with wind on top" and the Scottish Avalanche Information Service labelled the risk in Glencoe on Saturday as "considerable", a warning that remains in place.

Andy Nelson, leader of the Glencoe mountain rescue team, said: ''The guys were roped together, so it is possible they were still on the climb but they have clearly fallen some distance.

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''My information is that they have been killed instantly by the fall.

''They had all the relevant equipment and there is nothing to suggest that they were ill-equipped or inexperienced."

Mr Nelson urged climbers to check forecasts and warnings before heading out.

He added: "Stay as part of a group and climb as at least a pair, take all the relevant equipment for whatever you are planning to do and take some form of communication as well, just in case there is an accident."

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The deaths are thought to be the first on Scottish mountains this year but there have been a number of incidents where rescuers have criticised those who take to the hills ill-prepared.

Lomond mountain rescue team (MRT) found two men "freezing" on Ben Lomond earlier this month, five hours after they were reported missing. The pair lost the path on the descent from the mountain.

A rescue team spokesman said: "It is clear that they did not fully comprehend the dangers of winter walking.

"On their descent in the dark, they fell a number of times and were extremely fortunate to survive their experience uninjured, taking into account the snow and heavy rain on the mountain.

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"Lomond MRT would like to remind hillwalkers that despite the recent warm and wet weather, Scotland's mountains are experiencing full winter conditions.

"Waterproof warm clothing, a fully-charged phone, food and drink, a torch and axe and crampons are basics that are essential for safe travel."