Huascaran mountain from the north.
Huascaran mountain from the north. Credit: User:Flothias, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LIMA, Peru – When Joseph Stampfl received a call informing him that his father’s body had been discovered, he was shocked. Not because he didn’t know his father died, but because his father died 22 years ago in an avalanche on the 22,000 foot tall Huascaran peak in Peru, and Stampfl never expected to see his father again.

According to the Associated Press, the body of American climber Bill Stampfl was discovered earlier this month, recovered from the mountain where he had passed, along with two friends, while climbing in 2002. The 52-year-old’s body was located at an altitude of 17,060 feet, a whole nine-hour hike from one of their camps. The frozen body was discovered, mostly intact, by another climber making his way up the mountain.

For 22 years, we just kind of put in our mind: ’This is the way it is. Dad’s part of the mountain, and he’s never coming home.” – Jennifer Stampfl

Five elite police officers and eight mountain guides with Grupo Alpamayo, apparently hired by the Stampfl family to retrieve the body, worked in the recovery. According to officer Lenin Alvardo, Stampfl’s clothing was still mostly intact, and he had two $20 bills, a camera, a voice recorder, and a pair of sunglasses in addition to his driver’s license.

Stampfl was with friends Matthew Richardson and Steve Erskine at the time of the avalanche in 2002. Erkine’s body was discovered shortly after his death, but Richardson’s remains missing.

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