Mummy of an American who died 22 years ago found on the highest peak in Peru

Mummy of an American who died 22 years ago found on the highest peak in Peru

Peruvian authorities have found the mummified body of an American who died 22 years ago along with two other American climbers after the three were trapped in an avalanche while trying to scale Peru’s highest mountain, police said Tuesday.

Agent Luis Peña, from the Ranrahirca police station, in the Ancash region, confirmed by telephone to The Associated Press the discovery of the body of American William Stampfl, a civil engineer aged 58 at the time of his death. He was found on Friday 5 July in the remote camp number one, at an altitude of around 5,200 metres, on Mount Huascarán, which measures 6,768 metres.

Among the belongings that allowed for the quick identification, the agent said they found a driver’s license indicating that Stampfl lived in Chino, a city in San Bernardino County, California. The ice covering the mummified body preserved the climber’s clothing, harnesses, ropes and boots in good condition, Peña said.

The rescue team that found Stampfl’s body was made up of police officers from the High Mountain Rescue Department and from a company that offers guides to climb snowy peaks. The descent with the climber’s body placed on a stretcher was slow and difficult, said the agent. The remains were taken to the morgue in the city of Yungay, in the Ancash region.

Stampfl disappeared on June 24, 2022 in an avalanche with his friends Matthew Richardson, 40, and Steve Erskine, 51. After the fatality, only Erskine’s body was found, but Richardson’s body has yet to be recovered.

Huascarán is a peak frequently visited by climbers from all over the world and is located within the Cordillera Blanca. Climate change has affected the mountain range, where 27% of its ice cover has melted in almost 50 years, according to official data.

According to authorities, the peak season for climbers in the Cordillera Blanca is between May and September. In May, authorities found the body of a missing Israeli, while in June, an Italian died while trying to climb another peak in the mountain range.

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