The John Muir Trust said Thursday that an increasing number of people using Google Maps to ascend Ben Nevis risked being led by a route “very dangerous, even for experienced climbers.”
Ben Nevis, a popular tourist destination, is the tallest mountain in the British Isles, peaking at 1,345 meters (4,413 feet). Although thousands of people climb it each year, the ascent to the summit is not without risks and deaths have been recorded on the mountain as recently as this year.
“The problem is, Google Maps directs some visitors to the Upper Falls parking lot, probably because it’s the parking lot closest to the summit,” Nathan Berrie, Nevis conservation officer for the John Muir Trust, said in a statement. communicated.
Google / Mountaineering Scotland
A “dangerous” route indicated for An Teallach, as described by Mountaineering Scotland.
Google / Mountaineering Scotland
“But this is NOT the right route and we often come across groups of inexperienced walkers heading towards Steall Falls or the southern slopes of Ben Nevis, believing this to be the route to the top,” Berrie added.
Mountaineering Scotland also warned that a route suggested by Google Maps was “potentially fatal”.
“For those new to mountain hiking, it would seem perfectly logical to consult Google Maps for directions to the mountain of your choice,” said Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Advisor at Mountaineering Scotland, in a statement.
“But when you enter Ben Nevis and click on the ‘car’ icon, a map of your route appears, taking you to the parking lot at the head of Glen Nevis, followed by a dotted line appearing to show a route to the top. . ”
Morning said that “even the most experienced climber would have difficulty following this route. The line crosses very steep, rocky and pathless terrain where even with good visibility it would be difficult to find a safe line. Add low clouds and rain and the line suggested by Google is potentially fatal. “
Above a cliff
She also added that Google Maps suggested alternative routes that would direct users to “potentially lethal terrain” when looking to navigate the country’s other high peaks, including the 1,062-meter An Teallach.
“For An Teallach in the northwest, a ‘walking route’ was entered into the search engine and the proposed line would lead people over a cliff,” she warned.
“It’s too easy these days to assume that information on the Internet is all good, correct, up-to-date and secure. Unfortunately, experience shows that this is not the case and there have been a number of recent incidents where following downloaded routes off the internet have caused injury or worse, ”she said.
The organizations want to look to Google to remove any “life-threatening” route, Mountaineering Scotland said, adding that John Muir’s calls to Google went unanswered.
A Google spokesperson told CNN the company is reviewing the complaints.
“We have built Google Maps for safety and reliability, and we are working quickly to investigate the routing issue in Ben Nevis and surrounding areas,” the spokesperson said in an email.
“In addition to using authoritative data and high definition images to update the map, we encourage local organizations to provide geographic information on roads and routes through our geographic data upload tool. “