Body of American recovered 22 years after avalanche in Peru

Body of American recovered 22 years after avalanche in Peru

By Franklin Briceno | Associated Press

LIMA, Peru — Police in Peru said Tuesday they have found the cold-preserved 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 told The Associated Press they found the body of William Stampfl on Friday near a camp 5,200 meters (17,060 feet) above sea level. The 58-year-old Stampfl had been trying to climb the 6,768-meter Mount Huascaran.

Police said Stampfl’s body and clothing had been preserved by the ice and freezing temperatures. His drivers license was also found. It says he was a resident of Chino in California’s San Bernardino County.

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. They had travelled the world to climb challenging mountains and had summitted Kilimanjaro, Rainier, Shasta and Denali, according to a Los Angeles Times report at the time.

Erskine’s body was found shortly after the avalanche on Huascaran, but Richardson’s is still missing.

Stampfl’s body was brought down the mountain over the weekend and put in a morgue in the city of Yungay.