Body of American Lost in 2002 Avalanche Is Found

Ice melt exposed the body of climber William Stampfl in the Peruvian Andes
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2024 8:23 AM CDT
Body of American Lost in 2002 Avalanche Is Found
Huascaran.   (Getty Images / ~User9b5326ed_357)

The remains of an American who lost his life climbing in Peru 22 years ago have been found. William Stampfl, 59, was on the 22,000-foot Huascaran in June 2002 when he was buried in an avalanche; search and rescue efforts were unable to locate him at the time. CBS News reports Peruvian police on Monday said that ice melt in the area led to his body being exposed. His passport was still with him, which facilitated his identification, along with his clothes, harness, and boots.

The Independent reports that Peru has seen its glacier surface shrink by more than half in the last 60 years, with 175 glaciers being lost altogether between 2016 and 2020, according to a study by government scientists. Last year another lost mountaineer was found in the Andes, in that case a woman who had vanished 41 years prior.

As part of a $600,000 clean-up campaign on Everest and its adjoining peaks Lhotse and Nuptse, five frozen bodies were retrieved this year by a team of 12 military personnel and 18 climbers who used axes and boiling water to break the mountains' icy grip on their victims. (Read more on that effort here.)

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