The family of a French climber who disappeared in the winter of 1982 finally have some closure over three decades later.
A group of climbers in the Alps were scaling the Talèfre glacier on the Mont Blanc massif, the tallest mountain in Europe, when they stumbled upon a body sticking out of the ice on Thursday.
They contacted local police, who quickly identified the dead man as Patrice Hyvert, a 23-year-old alpinist who went missing while climbing in the area in March 1982.
Hyvert had set out alone to scale the 4,100-metre Nant-blanc peak but around 4pm nasty weather rolled in and dumped a blanket of snow on the mountain. Another climber, Jean-Marc Bovin, happened to also be on the mountain that day.
After being airlifted out two days after the storm Bovin called Hyvert’s father to tell him: “It was really bad up there,” French paper Le Dauphiné reported. The nasty weather kept rescue crews at bay for two more days.
When rescuers finally flew up the mountain they found no trace of Hyvert in the fresh snow and a subsequent mission on foot was also fruitless. In the intervening decades no new clues surfaced, until last week.
“We think he made it to the summit in the bad weather and that he decided to descend via another route,” Hyvert’s father told Le Dauphiné. But what happened next is and probably will remain a mystery.
Another two families were keeping a similarly tragic vigil on Tuesday after two climbers, one in his 30s, the other in his 40s, disappeared on Sunday on Mont Blanc. They were crossing the Les Courtes portion of the mountain when they vanished, French daily Le Parisien reported.
Rescuers used a helicopter to search for the missing men, but came up empty-handed and have since had their efforts hampered by bad weather. They search will resume when the weather clears.