David Gibson’s comments come after the death toll on the mountains reached five in just the past three weeks.
The bodies of only two of the victims have been recovered and warnings remain in place for anyone thinking of venturing out over the forthcoming days.
Mr Gibson, chief executive officer of the 14,000-strong Mountaineering Scotland, said: “The conditions are world renowned but the conditions at the moment are challenging, even for the most experienced mountaineers. Scotland’s mountains can be as dangerous as anywhere.
“There are natural hazards and hillwalkers and climbers have to make sure they have the necessary experience, equipment and skills, which are acquired progressively, to deal with those hazards. The risk is relative to the individual.
“There have been some tragic events in the past where people have had the attitude of, ‘I must attain the objective’. The mountains are always going to be there. You are less likely to lose your life by turning back.”
At least two of the dead are thought to have fallen through cornices, over-hanging ledges of snow.
One, a 55-year-old man, plunged off 3,440ft Beinn a’ Chaorainn on the northern side of Glen Spean as his female companion in her 20s watched on helplessly.
A Polish man is still missing on Ben Nevis. He is believed to be buried in snow after falling 1,600ft.
The body of Aberdeen man John Lea, 65, was found on Lochnagar, also in January.
Police have halted the search for another of the recent missing victims, Neil Gibson, 63, from Nairn in Moray, until there is “significant snow melt.”
The body of his brother Alan was recovered on Saturday.