Body of American climber buried by avalanche 22 years ago in Peru is found

Two people carry a stretcher across ice.

Police say they recovered the body of William Stampfl, a U.S. climber who was trying to summit Mt. Huascaran when an avalanche struck in 2002.
(Peruvian National Police / Associated Press)

Police in Peru said Tuesday they have found the body of an American mountaineer who was buried by an avalanche 22 years ago as he tried to climb one of the highest peaks in the Andes.

Police in the Ancash region said they found the body of William Stampfl on Friday near a camp 17,060 feet above sea level. The 58-year-old Stampfl had been trying to climb Mt. Huascaran.

Police said Stampfl’s body and clothing were preserved by the ice and cold. They said the body was easy to identify also because the climber had been carrying his driver’s license.

Hundreds of climbers visit the mountain each year with local guides, and it takes them about a week to reach the summit. Stampfl was with friends Matthew Richardson and Steve Erskine when they attempted the ascent in 2002. Erskine’s body was found shortly after the avalanche, but Richardson’s is still missing.

Stampfl’s body was brought down the mountain over the weekend by guides and police officers and put in a morgue in the city of Huaraz.

Briceño writes for the Associated Press.

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