A father of two who died in a fall on a mountain in the Scottish Highlands may have saved his companions' lives by trying to rescue himself rather than reaching for help, according to his family.
Shaun Bowden, 39, an experienced hiker from Ware in Hertfordshire, fell from the summit of Bidean Nam Bian in Glencoe on March 8.
He instinctively avoided putting his companions at risk and tried in vain to stop his fall alone with an ice axe, his family said in a statement through Northern Constabulary.
"Shaun's family and friends were devastated to learn of his death on March 8," the family said.
"He had spent many hours on the hills in Scotland. He was an experienced hiker. Although he was doing what he loved, it was tragic that his death was the result of an accident on a walk that he had been on many times.
"It is a testament to his courage and skill that when he fell, he instinctively avoided grabbing his walking companions which would surely have resulted in their deaths as well. Instead he attempted to arrest his fall with his ice axe but the quality of the snow made this impossible.
"He was a talented cardiac physiologist but he had changed career some years ago and was a successful international sales and marketing executive.
"He will be sadly missed by his wife, two children and the rest of his family and many, many friends. They would like to express their gratitude to the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team for their courage during the search for Shaun and to the Glencoe police for their kindness and professionalism."
Four people were killed during an avalanche on Bidean Nam Bian in January. The only survivor was able to stop his fall with an ice axe.
Another avalanche in the Cairngorms in February claimed the lives of three people, while in the same week a second avalanche killed a hillwalker, and two climbers were also killed in a fall on Ben Nevis.