American climber found in Peru

American climber found 22 years later in Peru as glaciers retreat

In Peru’s Huascaran National Park, Peruvian police and mountain rescue workers recently recovered the mummified remains of American climber William Stampfl, who had been missing since 2002. The body, found at an altitude of 5,200 meters (17,060 feet) on Huascaran, Peru’s highest mountain, was remarkably preserved despite the passage of over 20 years. Stampfl’s climbing gear, including boots, crampons, and clothing, along with his driver’s license and passport, were found with him, suggesting he perished in an avalanche.

The recovery underscores the ongoing retreat of glaciers in the region, a consequence of climate change. Edson Ramirez, a park ranger, noted that glacial mass has been receding steadily, exposing long-buried artifacts and remains. Peru holds about 68% of the world’s tropical glaciers, which are highly susceptible to the warming climate. A recent government report revealed a 56% loss of these glaciers over the past six decades.

The Cordillera Blanca, where Huascaran is located, attracts numerous climbers annually. The discovery of Stampfl’s body serves as a poignant reminder of the environmental changes affecting these iconic mountains and the risks associated with mountaineering in the region.

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