Search for missing hiker Esther Dingley may not resume until JULY due to heavy snow

THE search for British hiker Esther Dingley may not resume on the mountain top where she was last seen until July.

Police are hoping to begin looking around 8,983ft Pico Salvaguardia in April but heavy snow may delay them.

Durham-born Esther, 37, last contacted boyfriend Dan Colegate, 38, from the peak on the Spanish-French border on November 22.

Authorities believe the travel blogger had an accident.

Sgt Jorge Lopez Ramos, a Spanish mountain rescue chief in Benasque where Esther was based, said: “The peak where we know Esther last made contact with her partner from is nearly 9,000ft above sea level so it will be a while before the snow there thaws and we can see what’s underneath it.

“And at the moment there’s a risk of avalanches which makes it dangerous.

“We are at the mercy of the weather.”

He added: “We’ve had no more information pointing to any last-minute changes of route Esther might have made."

Last month it emerged four other European hikers have vanished in the glacier-rich region since 2006.

All, like Esther, were on their own.

A spokesman for the French police said: “It’s not an easy terrain.”

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