/ Climber dies after fall on Ben Nevis

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Phil J Booth - on 25 Feb 2013
Just came across the following link on the BBC news site about a recent death on Ben Nevis:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-21583086

Does anyone know anymore information?

Apologies if there is a thread somewhere else, but I couldn't see one.

Thoughts and prayers with all those affected.

Phil
balmybaldwin - on 26 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth:

It sure has been a bad winter. Condolences to all involved.
Valley Boy 3 - on 26 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth: Very sad news.
BnB - on 26 Feb 2013
In reply to Valley Boy 3:

I'm guilty of kidding myself that the unfortunate victims of this winter's numerous accidents probably hit the hill unprepared and under-equipped for the dangers intrinsic to their objective.

In reality they may have been just as (or more) experienced, equipped and skilled as the majority of contributors on here. Can anyone shed any light?
Martin W on 26 Feb 2013
Sad news. Sincere condolences to the family & friends.

In reply to BnB:

> Can anyone shed any light?

Not on this thread, no. Try here: http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=540215
LakesCameraAction - on 26 Feb 2013
In reply to BnB: I can't shed any light in to the exact circumstances and events surrounding the accident on the Ben yesterday. I knew the climber involved and he was one of the most experienced climbers I have had the good fortune to spend time in the mountains with. I can only pass on my deepest thoughts to his family and everyone involved. Steve Ashworth.
Moonstone Hippy - on 26 Feb 2013
In reply to RunLakes: Likewise pal, he was one the most solid guys I'd climbed with and it had been a pleasure to spend time with at crags or mountains alike. I'll be toasting with other of his friends. Geoff
BnB - on 26 Feb 2013
In reply to Moonstone Hippy and RunLakes: A very sobering thought. I feel for the families of all this winter's casualties. I understand that look on my wife's face each time I head out into the mountains, especially in winter.
nickh1964 - on 26 Feb 2013
In reply to BnB:
Just heard the news, he was a solid safe reliable climber and a gentle soul. One of the genuine nice guys, such a loss.
petestack - on 26 Feb 2013
In reply to Moonstone Hippy:
> Likewise pal, he was one the most solid guys I'd climbed with and it had been a pleasure to spend time with at crags or mountains alike. I'll be toasting with other of his friends. Geoff

Just got your text, Geoff. Absolutely stunned!

P

isi_o - on 26 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth:
Also stunned. As has already been said by others, one of life's all-round good guys. Always full of enthusiasm for the mountains in all their guises and a very solid climber.
My thoughts are with family, friends and climbing partners.
Isi
BrianT - on 26 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth: I'm in complete shock. He was one of my oldest friends. We were at school together and started climbing together. He was a gentle soul and a hugely experienced and steady climber. We hadn't seen so much of one another in recent years but I expected to see him next month. I don't know what to say. My heart goes out to his family and friends.
jameshiggins - on 27 Feb 2013
mrchewy - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth: Reading that - the circumstances seem utterly tragic. Condolences to everyone involved, especially the family.

Kelvin
jude calvert-toulmin on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to jameshiggins: Thank you for the update jameshiggins. We had hoped this was not what had happened. Our friend was Brian's main climbing partner throughout the eighties and had remained a very close friend. We are both still in complete shock.
alpine69 - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth:


This man was one of the most special person you could wish to meet. I have climbed with him for 20 years in summer and winter in the apls and the uk. He was never a risk taker and always climbed within his great ability. ( he never scraped or dragged a toe up the rock ) Every day we had was a delight to be remembered. His family will truely miss him as will lots of his other climbing partners and work accociates .A proper yorkshire man who in pursuit of his love and his familys better standard of living moved north of the border. He loved the outdoor life no matter if it was a day on a rolling dale a big wall adventure, sea stack ,a frozen grey mares tail or mountaineering. I wish his family and all involved in the accident and his life all my deepest sympathy.
jude calvert-toulmin on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to alpine69: That was a really lovely tribute alpine69, thank you. The press have now named Mark so we can now say that he was Mark Phillips, a sweet, lovely man who never had a bad word to say about anyone.
lex - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth:

It is such terrible news. As a person, Mark was a really genuine guy, always interested in other people, kept a good balance between climbing and his family, always keen on adventure, such great company on the hills. As a climber he always made steady progress upwards, and then you'd follow him and think 'how did he make it look so easy?'. He was the safest partner you could wish for.

A true loss for everyone who knew him, and deepest sympathies to his family and his many friends.

Lex

BrianT - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth: We were hoping to meet up at the Leeds Beer Festival in March. Still can't believe it.
martinph78 on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth: Terrible circumstances, thoughts go out to friends, family and the rescue team.

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jude calvert-toulmin on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to lex:

> always interested in other people

Quite, lex. How many people can you say that about? He wasn't only a responsible, steady climber, he was also, as will come out in the coming weeks, the loveliest, sweetest man. Bry has loads of photos of Mark that he will post in due course. The MSM (Main Stream Media) can hark on about this as a news story all they want but as a person, Mark will not be forgotten.
Darkskys - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth: Never knew Mark but I get the picture everyone is painting and the chap sounds like a cracking guy but a big loss to the climbing world with some terrible circumstances surrounding it.

Deepest regards go to his family and friends xxx
jude calvert-toulmin on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Martin1978: I feel absolutely gutted not only for Mark's wife, son and mum but also for whoever accidentally cut the rope. Right now he won't feel his life is worth living. I don't know the full circumstances but can someone reading this please reassure him that no-one in the climbing community blames him. Sometimes terrible things happen and we respect him for the fact that he was doing a difficult job in the first place.
Trangia - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to jude calvert-toulmin:

I didn't know Mark, but he sounds like a top guy. Condolences to all who knew him.

As for the tragic circumstances surrounding the attempted rescue, we only have the press reports to go on, but I'm sure no-one, particularly from the climbing community, is aportioning blame, everyone is human and things sometimes go horribly wrong but we all know that the MR teams and helicopter crews are dedicated people doing what is sometimes a near impossible task to the best of their ability. Respect to all of them.
Snoweider - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to jude calvert-toulmin:


Hi Jude, This is such a sad and tragic event I'm at a loss really at what to say but I do know that transfers of roped casualties on steep icy ground to helicopter winches are very difficult and complex procedures that can be hazardous for all involved including the helicopter crew. I don't know the details of what happened, but it may not be possible to pin it down at this stage to the actions of a single person and I should think the entire crew are devastated by what has happened.

I didn't know Mark but he sounds like a wonderful guy and a huge loss. I'm so sorry.
jude calvert-toulmin on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Snoweider and Trangia:

I too am currently feeling a lot of empathy for the rescue team.
scarface - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Snoweider:
> (In reply to jude calvert-toulmin)
>
>
> Hi Jude, This is such a sad and tragic event I'm at a loss really at what to say but I do know that transfers of roped casualties on steep icy ground to helicopter winches are very difficult and complex procedures that can be hazardous for all involved including the helicopter crew. I don't know the details of what happened, but it may not be possible to pin it down at this stage to the actions of a single person and I should think the entire crew are devastated by what has happened.>
> I didn't know Mark but he sounds like a wonderful guy and a huge loss. I'm so sorry.

Seconded, the emergency teams are so dedicated, professional and have saved countless lives. I hope the press do not attempt to make this into a 'story' and cause further distress.

I'm sure i speak for us all when i say all the emergency teams have our express gratitude for all that they do and have done.

Condolences to family and all who knew Mark, sounds like he was a top bloke.
bluebealach - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to jude calvert-toulmin: I have just read this and now in total shock. I have been to Mark's home on several occasions and he is one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet. I am not a climber in the mould of Mark, but because of my interest in Scottish mountains and climbing he would chat to me and never looked down on me because of my inability.

My heartfelt and sincere condolences to his wife and son.

Not quite sure I'm taking this all in.......

Graham
BillyB - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth: I knew Mark, tho sadly, not seen much of him lately. The last thing I think he would want would be blame and recrimination being directed at anyone. Let's just remember him as a guy who loved being out on the hill whatever the weather, whether the day was a success or not, always full of life and laughter. Condolences to his wife and son.
John Workman - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth:

Iím another one of the group of climbers who had the good fortune to climb on many occasions with Mark, since he came to live here in his beloved Highlands.
I know I speak for us all when I say that if you had to choose a partner to embark on any route, from the climbing wall at Kinlochleven, to the Orion Face on the Ben or even an Alpine peak, then Mark would have been at the top of your list. He was so steady on rock and ice in any form. He may have found things tricky but he was never flustered and never Ďlost ití, even when the going was tough.

And you knew that you were in the company of a soul mate whenever you were out on the hills with him.
He will be sorely missed by us all.

The thoughts of all of us who knew him are with Caroline and Rhuaraidh, for whom the blizzard that blew into their lives on Monday will take many months, maybe years even, to begin to abate.

John
David Smith - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to BnB: As already indicated Mark was very experienced,new the Ben very well and was a sound and solid climber. I climbed with him in the Peak some years back and later a little in Norway and in Scotland. Good days but most I remember the man, what a nice guy. My sympathy goes to his family. Dave
james stone - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth:

I am/was a friend of Mark. I am not a regular user of this site but have taken obvious interest in this thread. In fact, Mark's name has not been officially released. Just because it is in the press does not mean it is true. However, in this case the information is true. I am with Caroline, his wife, and his son. They have asked me to make this post to express their sincere appreciation for all of the kind comments that have been made in the previous posts. They take a lot of comfort from what is being said. There is speculation now in the press as to the circumstances surrounding the incident. For example, a link has been provided here to an article on the heraldscotland.com website and other media outlets have picked this up and added their own spin. As far as Caroline is concerned, this is mere speculation. She is entirely confident in the police's handling of matters and does not want to add to her and her son's grief by indulging such speculation. May I also add my personal thanks to those who have posted here. I am not a climber but do enjoy being out in the Scottish hills in all seasons which is why I happened to be with Mark and Caroline. Over the last few days, particularly, the hills have been in magnificent condition. A treasured memory will be the day out we all had on Sunday on a local Corbett. Thanks again.
james stone - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to james stone:

Press release now on the Northern Constabulary website:

http://www.northern.police.uk/News-and-Media/news-item.htm?item_id=PR5504_2013
petestack - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to BrianT:
> He was a gentle soul and a hugely experienced and steady climber.

Mark was also Meets Secretary of The Polldubh Club, having taken over (as an ever-present and enthusiastic member) from Ed Grindley in 2010 and being full of plans for future meets. To echo much of what's already been said, he had the most friendly and interested disposition and won many plaudits for his elegant movement on rock and ice. Finding myself lost for words here but feeling the need to say something as Club Secretary and friend, we're all struggling to take this in at our personal levels but thinking above all of Caroline (who remains a club member), Ruaridh (who also came on our Skye Meet last year) and other family and friends (many of whom have known him for far longer than me).

Peter
Jamie B - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to petestack:

Shocked by the news, as is the whole Lochaber climbing community. Mark was as safe and steady a climbing partner as you could wish for, and a top gent through and through. He exemplified the spirit of gentle commitment that I most admire in other climbers - reflective and measured yet always motivated by the promise of fresh adventure. His movement on rock and ice was striking for its economy and grace, one of the most naturally efficient climbers I've ever seen. Yorkshire must have taught him well!

Certain memories will stick with me. Holding my 40-footer as I fell out of an out-of-condition Gardyloo Gully one November. He'd humored my foolish notion and slogged up to the route with me, then calmly organised our retreat while I gibbered and my axe remained in the high-point.

Stepping in to get us out of trouble when I'd got off-route and led us into no-man's land in the Cairngorms. Spotting the nominal chink in the armour above and pulling off a braver lead than I'd ever have attempted, treading lightly over disintegrating crud while the ropes arced runnerless behind him.

Always asking me what I'd been climbing when he visited the Ice Factor, and spending almost as much time talking about that as he did plastic-pulling, which I suspect he did somewhat on sufferance!

My thoughts, and those of many others, are with Caroline and Ruaridh right now. If you're reading this I hope our memories of Mark may bring some solace. He was a very special person.

Castleman - on 27 Feb 2013
Very touching reading all this about a man who comes across as someone who enriched the lives of those around him and was able to enjoy friends, family and the world about him.

My thoughts are with his wife, son, friends and those on the scene.

submariner - on 27 Feb 2013
Very sad news. Had the pleasure of meeting Mark last year on a very sociable day on Slime Wall as we climbed adjoining routes on the hottest weekend of the year. It was one of my most enjoyable days ever on the rock and I will always remember Mark as part of that. Rest in peace.
Kevin Woods - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth: I didn't know Mark, but by the sound of the thread, sounds a top notch character and climber. My thoughts to the family and friends.
wilkesley - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Kevin Woods:

I have just seen something which I assume relates to this unfortunate accident on the Independent web site. I don't think it appropriate to restate the headline in this thread. However, I would suggest you look at article at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/police-investigation-after-ben-nevis-climber-plunges-... . It's the sort of headline that even the Mail wouldn't sink to and I think that collectively we should write to the Indie and express our disapproval.
Postmanpat on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to wilkesley:
> (In reply to Kevin Woods)
>
> I have just seen something which I assume relates to this unfortunate accident on the Independent web site. I don't think it appropriate to restate the headline in this thread. However, I would suggest you look at article at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/police-investigation-after-ben-nevis-climber-plunges-... . It's the sort of headline that even the Mail wouldn't sink to and I think that collectively we should write to the Indie and express our disapproval.

+1. E mail newseditor@independent.co.uk maybe?
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glaramara - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: Was only browsing this story but not in a million years would i guess that this would happen to someone like Mark. Worked with him a few times when i was with SEPA, and he was too cool for skool at work as well. RIP Mark.
BrianT - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to wilkesley: I've been warned that the comments trails on the mainstream press websites are full of some awful, cruel comments, and advised not to read them. I thought I'd warn any of Mark's friends who may read a news article and come across the unspeakable dross that follows it.
JayPee630 - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to BrianT:

Wow, you're right, the comments below are pretty mind blowing ignorant and nasty.
IainRUK - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to JayPee630:
> (In reply to BrianT)
>
> Wow, you're right, the comments below are pretty mind blowing ignorant and nasty.

Ignorants the best term really. You see it after any death in the mountains. There's no point posting on the comments as it just attracts more comments and responses. They aren't going to change their views. Sounds like a terrible sequence of events.
mrplastique - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to JayPee630:
I'm shocked by some of the comments, especially on certain 'liberal' papers' websites.
Very sickening news indeed, both for the tragedy and the views of the British public.
TRip - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to leeplastic:
> (In reply to JayPee630)
> I'm shocked by some of the comments, especially on certain 'liberal' papers' websites.
> Very sickening news indeed, both for the tragedy and the views of the British public.

This very sad. The comments on the Independant's site are disgusting.

The comment's on the Mail's site are comparitivley benign.
summo on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth: best to just ignore the ignorant comments and remember that 99% of them couldn't put a pin on a map of Scotland even remotely close to where Ben Nevis actually is.
petestack - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to BrianT:

Hope I don't have to say this here, but the person posting as 'peatstack' (which is uncomfortably close to my username here) and 'living in the Highlands' is *not* me. Hopefully just a total coincidence, but brought me up with a start before I noticed the spelling difference!
IainRUK - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to petestack:
> (In reply to BrianT)
>
> Hope I don't have to say this here, but the person posting as 'peatstack' (which is uncomfortably close to my username here) and 'living in the Highlands' is *not* me. Hopefully just a total coincidence, but brought me up with a start before I noticed the spelling difference!

That's creepy..
jon on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to petestack:

I noticed that Pete. As you say, uncomfortably close. I'd assumed you'd just misspelt it!
John Rushby - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to BrianT:

They're just loons Bri - they'll soon wander off to have a go at immigrunts and lesbos. I think most people reading the news will see the tragedy for what it is, and not make any judgement.

I'm really to sorry to hear about this mate, I hope you're doing ok and my sympathies to Mark's family.
Blizzard - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth:

Is it true that

"Mark Phillips got on board the helicopter and his safety rope was cut before he was secured and therefore fell hundreds of feet to his death"

According to a newspaper. Is that actually true?
wilkie14c - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Blizzard:
In my experience of climbing accidents and the following threads I think it best to not speculate anything at all and take anything read or broadcast with a huge pinch of salt. The official findings will be out soon enough.
Sympathies with everyone who knew Mark, a tragic year for Scotish mountaineering 2013 is turning out to be.
cannichoutdoors - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Blizzard: As this is the subject of a police investigation, presumably in due course a Fatal Accident Inquiry, and the family have stated they don't want speculation, I don't think this should be discussed here. As pointed out by previous posters, I wouldn't believe newspaper reports.
Jim Fraser - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to cannichoutdoors:

As with most fatal mountain accidents, there is no routine obligation to conduct a Fatal Accident Inquiry. This is because the Procurator Fiscal at Fort William will be able to establish the circumstances of the death with little difficulty. On a few rare occasions, the Crown Office has invoked the 'public concern' reason, which I recall happening at Dingwall about 20 years ago. Other than that, an FAI will be held if a guide or rescuer dies in the course of their work.



'When you are sorrowful look again in your heart and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.'
KG
cannichoutdoors - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser: Thanks for that Jim, I stand corrected.
The Ex-Engineer - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:
> On a few rare occasions, the Crown Office has invoked the 'public concern' reason, which I recall happening at Dingwall about 20 years ago.

I think that was the justification for the FAI after the Aonach Mor avalanche in Dec 1998 with 4 fatalities. However, I can't instantly recall any others.
Andy Say - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to Blizzard:
> (In reply to Phil J Booth)
>
> Is it true that
>
> "Mark Phillips got on board the helicopter and his safety rope was cut before he was secured and therefore fell hundreds of feet to his death"
>
> According to a newspaper. Is that actually true?

Take the quote you have used with a huge pinch of salt.

And then just drop it.

It's being investigated and we will get the reality sooner or later. Speculation right now is pretty pointless.
drunken monkey - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to Andy Say: and unhelpful to all concerned.
Albert Tatlock - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to All:

To all contributors to this thread, please could we try and make it more of a tribute to a lovely man, husband, father and mountaineer. The need to discuss anything other than this isn't appropriate at this time. Salacious headlines are best left unmentioned and not given the publicity they crave.

Our thoughts are with his Wife and Son. RIP Mark.
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Steve Power - on 01 Mar 2013
I didn't know this man, but many years ago I was at college with his wife.

In the short time its taken me to read this thread its very clear that his was a good life, lived to the full. In comparison to mine and many others' more modest climbing achievements - and our wider lives, would that it were that we could all achieve as much.

My deepest sympathies and thoughts are with his family.
Andy S - on 02 Mar 2013
In reply to Phil J Booth: oh that's very sad. I didn't recognise the name but when I saw his photo, I realised I've met him a couple of times. Struck me as a very genuine, caring and gentle man. I'm sure he must have been a pleasure to climb with and made a great friend.

Sincere condolences to all his friends and family. I'm sure he will be sorely missed.
Jim Fraser - on 02 Mar 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

Avalanche, on Liathach, was the cause at Dingwall too. It may be that we have the successive Lord Advocates of Scotland to thank for the SAIS. At least they're useful for something.
Chris Dickinson on 02 Mar 2013
Thanks for some great climbs Mark and thoughts are with Caroline and Ruaridh.

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