MOUNTAIN rescue teams have resumed searching for missing Brit hiker Esther Dingley as her devastated boyfriend continues to scour the Pyrenees in his own effort to find her.
Specialist officers have been able to comb the 8,796ft Pico Salvaguardia summit where the Oxford graduate last made contact with partner Dan Colegate around 4pm on November 22.
Sergeant Jorge Lopez Ramos, whose Greim elite mountain search and rescue team led the eight-day search for Esther last year, said snow on the north face of the peak on the French side of the border meant work there had to wait still.
He also said officers were counting on the possibility of information from the hikers who throng the Pyrenees in the peak months of July and August if they found nothing earlier.
Civil Guard officers who have been working on the ground will be supported by a helicopter from mid-June which have a permanent base in the town of Benasque where Esther had been stayed before vanishing.
A Spanish court probe opened after the Durham-born 37-year-old went missing remains open.
Mr Lopez Ramos said: “We have spent some time going into the mountains and seeing what the snow is like and looking at places where we think Esther could have had an accident.
“A helicopter has been assisting officers on the ground but we haven’t found anything.
“The south face of the Pico Salvaguardia can now be hiked to the summit without any problem. That’s one of the places we’ve looked because that’s where we know Esther made her last contact with her boyfriend.
“There’s still snow on the north side near the summit on what would be the French side so nothing can be ruled out there for the moment.
“The snow there could take a month to melt but it’s impossible to give a precise date.”
He added: “Our busiest period of the year when we have to carry out most rescues is about to begin and we won’t be able to search for Esther systematically like we did at the beginning.
“But we’ll have a helicopter again here from June 19 and we’ll use it to rule out areas.
“The summer is the most likely time of the year when we’ll get information that could help us because that’s when most people are walking in the mountains.”
Police and mountain rescue teams said Dan and Esther’s mother Ria had both been in the area recently to discuss the ongoing hunt for Esther and to look themselves.