Mummified body of missing American climber found 22 years after he vanished in Peru

10-07-2024 03:00 PM

Ammon News - The preserved body of an American mountaineer — who disappeared 22 years ago while scaling a snowy peak in Peru — has been found after being exposed by climate change-induced ice melt, police said Monday.

William Stampfl was reported missing in June 2002, aged 59, when an avalanche buried his climbing party on the mountain Huascaran, which stands more than 22,000 feet high.

Stampfl was with friends Matthew Richardson and Steve Erskine when they attempted the ascent. Erskine's body was found shortly after the avalanche, but Richardson's is still missing.

Peruvian police said his remains were finally exposed by ice melt on the Cordillera Blanca range of the Andes.

Stampfl's body, as well as his clothes, harness and boots had been well-preserved by the cold, according to images distributed by police.

His passport was found among his possessions, allowing police to identify the body.

Stampfl's drivers license was also found with his remains. It says he was a resident of California's San Bernardino County.

Stampfl's body was brought down the mountain over the weekend by guides and police officers and put in a morgue in the city of Huaraz.

The mountains of northeastern Peru, home to snowy peaks such as Huascaran and Cashan, are a favorite with mountaineers from around the world.

In May, the body of an Israeli hiker was found there nearly a month after he disappeared.

And last month, an experienced Italian mountaineer was found dead after he fell while trying to scale another Andean peak.

Bodies of other climbers found in recent years
As glaciers increasingly melt and recede around the world, which many scientists blame on global warming, there has been an increase in discoveries of the remains of hikers, skiers and other climbers who went missing decades ago.

In June, five frozen bodies were retrieved from Mount Everest— including one that was just skeletal remains — as part of Nepal's mountain clean-up campaign on Everest and adjoining peaks Lhotse and Nuptse.

Last year, the remains of a German climber who went missing in 1986 were recovered on a glacier in the Swiss Alps.

In 2017, Italian mountain rescue crews recovered the remains of hikers on a glacier on Mont Blanc's southern face likely dating from the 1980s or 1990s. Just a few weeks later, the remains of a climber discovered in the Swiss Alps were identified as a British mountaineer who went missing in 1971, local police said Thursday.

That same year, a shrinking glacier in Switzerland revealed the bodies of a frozen couple who went missing 75 years ago. Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife, Francine, were 40 and 37 years old when they disappeared on Aug. 15, 1942. Regional police told local media that their bodies were discovered near a ski lift on the glacier by a worker for an adventure resort company.

In 2016, the bodies of a renowned mountain climber and expedition cameraman who were buried in a Himalayan avalanche in 1999 were found partially melting out of a glacier.

In 2015, the remains of two Japanese climbers who went missing in 1970 on Switzerland's famous Matterhorn were found and their identities were confirmed through the DNA testing, Reuters reported.

CBS news

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