The families of a former Calgary climber and her hiking partner are thanking the “brave and generous” rescue teams who worked to find their children and bring some closure.
“Although much anticipated, it still comes as a shock but we are thankful that we can now move forward with our lives in the knowledge that Rachel and Tim were doing what they loved to do. Climbing was their passion, they loved the mountains, wilderness and outdoor spaces.”
Tim Newton, 27, and Rachel Slater, 24, whose family lives in Calgary, never returned from a Feb. 13 to 14 weekend hike in the Ben Nevis area, located in Scotland’s highlands north of Glasgow. Since then, multiple searches were carried out by the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team.
Slater is a U.K. citizen, but lived and went to school in Calgary between 2005 and 2009. Global News attempted to reach Slater’s parents for comment; police said the family has asked for privacy.
“Rachel was also known as Yvonne at Junior High and High School in Calgary, when she lived with her family in Alberta,” said the family’s statement, which was shared by police on Facebook.
The Highlands and Islands Police Division said a member of the public found Slater’s body Wednesday at the base of Observatory Gully, around 500 metres from the Charles Inglis Clark (CIC) hut. The Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team soon found Newton’s body close by.
“We would like to thank the mountain rescue teams, climbing community, police in Fort William and all concerned for finding Rachel and Tim, bringing the news we have been waiting for and for their sustained efforts over the last six weeks,” the families said in the statement, adding they’ve received messages of kindness from all over the world.
Lochaber Area Inspector Donald Campbell said police were grateful to everyone who helped in the search, especially climbing community members who helped plan searches.
“We hope that this identification provides some form of closure for the families of Rachel and Tim, who have bravely endured the agony of not knowing,” he said.
“They have our deepest sympathies at this very difficult time; this of course extends to local communities in Bradford, Leicester and Canada, who will feel the loss of two inspiring young people.”