OFFICIALS are warning amateur hillwalkers to steer clear of Ben Nevis this summer as treacherous winter conditions are persisting longer than usual.
High winds and snow in excess of two metres deep are making navigation a challenge on Scotland’s highest peak, and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland is asking climbers to steer clear.
Ben Nevis has claimed the lives of dozens of climbers, with the local Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team reportedly being the busiest team in the UK.
Authorities warn that the mountain has been particularly dangerous this year, with Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service warning climbers of a high avalanche risk in February.
The MCofS is targeting its warning on the growing proportion of walkers who do not have basic map reading skills.
In 2013 hillwalkers trying for the summit in trainers were criticised for their “foolhardy” and “stupid” behaviour.
Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Adviser for the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said: “For most of Britain, spring and early summer is definitely upon us; but on the high plateau of Ben Nevis it is a very different story.
“The conditions up there are very difficult to imagine when you set off from Fort William, which can easily lead walkers to underestimate what dangers they will encounter.
“Appropriate clothing, footwear and navigation skills are essential to make a safe ascent of the mountain.”