Climbers have been told to ensure they are properly prepared after a group of 14 people had to be rescued from Ben Macdui in the Cairngorms.
They became disorientated in fog on Monday evening and three mountain rescue teams and a rescue helicopter from the navy were all required to help them.
At 4294ft, Ben Macdui is the second-highest mountain in Britain and is in the centre of the Arctic-like Cairngorms plateau.
The Walking Britain website says of the mountain: "Good navigational skills are a must here as the weather can break within minutes, immersing these high levels in dense cloud."
The climbers who ran into trouble on Monday used their mobile telephones to contact police and raise the alarm. Grampian Police, Braemar and Aberdeen mountain rescue teams were called out, as was a rescue helicopter from HMS Gannet.
They were located just before 11pm and safely walked off the hill. No-one was injured, but yesterday Grampian Police took the opportunity to tell climbers of the real need for parties to have the correct level of skill and equipment, particularly in respect of navigation.
They said that over four nights there had been four separate incidents within the Cairngorms.
The police added that the 18 individuals involved all appeared to have been attempting to navigate within the Caingorms using smartphone-type technology.
Most smartphones now have GPS capability onboard, so many people believe they provide sufficient navigational capability.
However, Grampian Police said that, while all were 18 traced safely, it was disappointing to both the police and the mountain rescue teams that there appeared to be a complete reliance on a navigation technology which the experts would consider unsuitable for such terrain.
Chief Inspector Andrew Todd, co-ordinator of mountain rescue in Grampian, said: "I have been involved in mountain rescue for nearly 20 years and, while technology can and does play an important part in raising the alarm or assisting navigation, it appears we may be about to witness a marked increase in the complete reliance of smartphone apps to navigate some of the UK's highest mountains.
"What is particularly concerning is the individuals relying on this apparently inappropriate technology often do not possess even rudimentary mountain navigation skills.
"This is putting their lives at risk. While Scotland's mountains are there for all to enjoy, there is a personal responsibility on those who venture into the mountains to do so only when properly equipped and skilled."
Nigel Williams, head of mountain navigation training at Scotland's National Outdoor Training Centre, Glenmore Lodge, said it was essential to learn navigation skills before mountain climbing.
He said: "You can't beat a map and compass and the knowledge to use them effectively.
"Battery life is an issue with GPS systems and you can't always see the map on the screens.
"You have to be able to navigate because you need to know exactly where you are. You need a high level of map and compass skills to work out where you are on a mountain. You need to be able to read the contours and use the contours to navigate.
"I think it's essential to learn these skills. Plenty of people come on our courses because they have decided it's the best thing to do because they nearly got caught out."
And Simon Steer, deputy leader of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, said: "While these advances in technology are a great addition to the range of navigational aids, they do not remove the two key requirements to travel safely in the mountains which are the ability to navigate using traditional map and compass, even when supported by other technologies, and the need to go to the hills properly equipped for Scottish mountain weather.
"Apps don't give you a risk free passport to the mountains. If nothing else, the batteries don't last indefinitely."
The hillwalkers rescued from Ben Macdui were from the Tayside area and believed to be teenagers and young adults in their early-20s.
None of them was available for comment yesterday.
Contextual targeting label: