We got the callout just minutes before 4pm on30 January from police Scotland who had received a report that there was a fallen climber in the Cairngorms with a suspected broken ankle.
The Inverness coastguard helicopter – which was out training at the time – took a little over 10 minutes to arrive on scene in a bid to reach the casualty before the weather closed in.
With the assistance of Cairngorms mountain rescue team, they used the full length of their winch cable – 296ft – due the extreme turbulent conditions to airlift the climber, who was safely roped onto steep ground.
The casualty was then flown to Raigmore hospital. A second climber, who was the injured man’s climbing buddy, was uninjured but cragfast had to be assisted down the mountain by the Cairngorms mountains rescue team.
Speaking after the rescue, the Inverness coastguard helicopter crew said: “Trying to land a helicopter in these conditions is just not going to happen. Getting any closer to the mountain and we would have risked causing an avalanche. It must have seemed like a long time for us to reach the climber but this was the safest thing we could do under these treacherous conditions. This was a great team effort between us and the Cairngorms mountain rescue team, who we think are real heroes for bearing the conditions so well and taking the second casualty off the mountain.”