Prolific Scottish winter climbers Andy Nisbet (65) and Steve Perry (47) have died in an accident on Ben Hope in Sutherland. It is believed that the pair had completed a route and fell while moving together on the upper slopes of the hill.
Andy Nisbet is synonymous with Scottish Winter climbing, with over 1000 new routes to his name. He was a former Scottish Mountaineering Club president and received the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture in 2014. His expertise in the Scottish winter led to him authoring and editing multiple guidebooks alongside a career in climbing instruction and guiding. Former RAF Mountain Rescue Team leader David Whalley described him in a BBC news report as 'the most active prolific mountaineer that Scotland has ever produced.' Read a UKC profile of Andy by Gary Latter, celebrating his 60th birthday in 2013.
Steve Perry was also a passionate Scottish winter (and summmer) devotee, with many new ascents to his credit. In recent years he and Andy had established a strong new routeing partnership. They were driving forces in the late development of Ben Hope, a mountain largely neglected until recent seasons. Steve was a high achiever on the hills too, having completed a continuous and largely solo winter Munro round in the 2005/06 season - the first person to achieve the feat, which remains unmatched (UKH interview). A few years earlier, Steve had completed a 7.5-month walk from Lands End to John o' Groats (LEJOG) via every 3000-footer in England, Wales and Scotland.
Just two weeks ago, both men joined Helen Rennard in establishing the first grade VIII winter route on Lurcher's Crag, Invernesshire, with an ascent of a three-pitch climb named Shapeshifter VIII,8 (UKC news report).
We would like to express our sincere condolences to the friends and family of both climbers at this time. We hope to publish a tribute to both climbers in the coming weeks.
Watch a film about Andy's contributions to Scottish winter in this video produced for the 2014 Fort William Mountain Festival: