An experienced English climber who was halfway through a four-month trip through Vietnam with his girlfriend has been found dead after attempting to summit the country's highest peak. Expecting to scale the 10,312-foot Fansipan in a day, 22-year-old Aiden Webb set out at 6am last Friday with only a small amount of food but soon fell, cut his arm open, hurt his knee, and lost his flashlight, reports the BBC. Using Facebook Messenger to communicate with girlfriend Bluebell Baughan, who'd stayed at the nearest town of Sapa a few miles away, Webb said he was "determined" to summit but by the next morning shared his location with Baughan and asked for help. Then his phone stopped working. Webb's father and uncle both traveled to Vietnam, arriving Tuesday, and were eventually granted permission to use drones to search hard-to-reach ravines, reports the Telegraph.
Rangers found Webb's body Thursday afternoon near the location Baughan had shared with local officials based on their Facebook communication; local media reports he may have been dead for three days at that point. Friends and family raised roughly $9,000 to help pay for the 150-person search effort, while Webb, who was nicknamed "Hercules" for his strength, was honored across social media for his sense of humor and adventurous spirit. In one of his last posts, the climber wrote that he had just completed his first free solo ascent (climbing without ropes or protective gear) in late May and that he'd never "had my mind so clear and empty." He added an apology to all family members "who think I'm loco and reckless, I'm actually quite safe and know my limits." (See why this climber blames himself for his wife's death.)