Leeds & West Yorkshire

Patrick Boothroyd: Ben Nevis death a 'tragic accident'

Patrick Boothroyd Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Patrick Boothroyd was a final year Geology student at Cardiff University

The death of an experienced climber who fell at least 1,300ft (400m) down Ben Nevis was a "tragic accident", an inquest has heard.

Patrick Boothroyd, 21, died after he and Leon Grabowski were caught in an avalanche as they scaled the mountain.

Bradford Coroners' Court heard an overhanging ledge of snow broke off as Mr Grabowski tried to cut through it.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Boothroyd died from chest, head and pelvis injuries.

The inquest heard the pair were part of a group of eight from Cardiff University Mountaineering Club who had travelled to Fort William for a week-long climbing trip in December organised by Mr Boothroyd.

Image copyright KA/Geograph
Image caption The Tower Gully route, pictured in the centre of the photo, is on the north east face of Ben Nevis

Mr Grabowski, who was 28 at the time, said he and Mr Boothroyd, of Honley, Huddersfield, decided to climb the Tower Gully route.

He told the hearing they were near its top when he tried to cut a hole through an overhanging cornice, but it broke off and triggered an avalanche.

He described how he called for mountain rescue and sat with Mr Boothroyd, who came round and was repeatedly asking him what happened.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Mr Boothroyd was described as an experienced and safety conscious climber by his family

The inquest heard Mr Boothroyd was winched from the mountain but died in hospital.

In a statement read by coroner Oliver Longstaff, Mr Grabowski said: "Since the incident I have thought about what I could have done differently and I wish we hadn't done that climb that day."

Asked by the coroner about cutting the hole through the cornice, Mr Grabowski said: "It was the first time I'd tried to do it but I knew it was a legitimate technique."

In a statement, Mr Boothroyd's father, Nigel Boothroyd, explained how his son was a final year geology student, loved outdoor pursuits and was an experienced and safety conscious climber.

"He was very driven. He never wanted to waste a moment of his life," he said.

Mr Longstaff told the inquest: "I do not believe there was anything careless about the way the climb was undertaken.

"With everything said and done, this was nothing more than a tragic accident."

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