Tuesday 6 December 2016

Woman rescued from Ben Nevis in pair of shorts and carrying selfie stick

'Irresponsible' hapless climber apologises to rescuers after scaling Britain's highest peak wearing trainers and 'bringing nothing but a stupid selfie stick'

Danny Boyle

Published 30/03/2016 | 22:26

Sarah Albone managed to climb to the summit, but was caught up in freezing conditions and showed signs of hypothermia
Sarah Albone managed to climb to the summit, but was caught up in freezing conditions and showed signs of hypothermia
Rachel Slater, 24 and Tim Newton, 27, from the Bradford area of West Yorkshire Photo: Police Scotland/PA

A woman who climbed Ben Nevis in a pair of shorts while carrying a selfie stick has apologised to the rescuers who saved her in a blizzard.

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Sara Albone admitted she "could have died" when she decided to scale Britain's highest peak while wearing trainers, without an ice axe or walking stick and not telling anyone where she was going.

The 28-year-old managed to climb to the summit, but was caught up in freezing conditions and showed signs of hypothermia including difficulty moving. A mountain rescue team leader described her actions as "ridiculous" and "irresponsible".

Miss Albone - who was saved by three experienced climbers as conditions were too bad for a rescue helicopter to be scrambled - said she had been "such a massive p----" for "bringing nothing but a stupid selfie stick".

Rachel Slater, 24 and Tim Newton, 27, from the Bradford area of West Yorkshire Photo: Police Scotland/PA
Rachel Slater, 24 and Tim Newton, 27, from the Bradford area of West Yorkshire Photo: Police Scotland/PA

She said she wants to buy her rescuers "a drink" and vowed to attend a mountaineering course when she returns home to Brighton.

Miss Albone was saved when four male climbers scaling the north face of the 4,411ft mountain, in the Scottish Highlands, reached the summit at around the same time as her to find her "drenched and frozen".

They huddled around her in an effort to warm her, and one of the men sacrificed some of his dry clothes for the hapless climber.

A rescue helicopter could not be deployed because of thick cloud and high winds, so another trio of experienced climbers had to help her down off the mountain.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team leader John Stevenson said they received a call from the climbers on Saturday.

They were urged to take her down from the mountain as "quickly as possible" because it would take rescuers too long to get to the summit.

Mr Stevenson said: "It's still a full blown winter up there just now. On Saturday night, it could have been about -15C with the wind chill.

"It's just ridiculous going up there dressed like that and it's freezing up there, and being irresponsible means others have to go out of their way to help."

Miss Albone admitted that she had a "really lucky escape" and "could have died" if it was not for the bravery of her rescuers.

She said: "All of the people involved were incredibly brave and kind and went beyond the call of duty to help when most people would tell you to go on alone.

"It was a really lucky escape. I think if it had not been for these guys I could have died. I got to the top, but started feeling really dizzy and I could not feel my own body.

"I started feeling like I was a bit drunk and got to a point where I could not walk any further. The experience has really highlighted to me the need to always pack items that are essential for mountain climbing.

"If it was not for the guys that helped me, Ben Nevis would have definitely been Ben Never."

Miss Albone apologised to her rescuers on an online climbing forum for being "totally unprepared" for scaling the mountain and insisted she was booking herself on a mountaineering course.

In the online post, she said: "I was such a massive p---- and I'm so sorry. Not only do I never ever want to put myself or anyone else in that sort of situation again, I also would like to be able to help someone the way you all helped me.

"I was that t-- that all proper climbers talk about. No ice pick/poles/shelter any of the things that are appropriate for climbing a mountain. Just the stuff I had packed for the weekend and a stupid selfie stick.

She added: "I kind of knew I was under-prepared, and didn't actually intend on getting to the top. I just sort of thought 'oh I've got this far - it's not too bad - let's carry on'.

"You'll be pleased to hear I'm booking myself In for a mountaineering course as soon as I get back.

"I don't know what your respective local pubs are, but let me know... I'd at least like to phone through and leave a drink behind the bar, having tried and failed yesterday at the Ben Nevis. Pretty sure this is obligatory when someone saves your life, right?"

Her rescue comes after it emerged that Tim Newton and Rachel Slater, two climbers who were missing for five weeks on Ben Nevis, were killed by a “massive” avalanche just minutes from their tent.

Experienced climbers Mr Newton, 27, and 24-year-old Ms Slater were reported missing on February 15 after they failed to return from the mountain.

A huge search was launched for the couple from Bradford, West Yorkshire, but was eventually called off after rescuers triggered a series of avalanches.

Telegraph.co.uk

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