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Pics: Mummified American body discovered in Peru

A man shoveling snow. (Dreamstime/TNS)
July 10, 2024

The mummified body of an American climber who disappeared after being buried in an avalanche 22 years ago in Peru’s Andes mountains was recently discovered in ice.

According to The Associated Press, American climber Bill Stampfl was buried by an avalanche 22 years ago alongside two friends while trying to climb one of the highest peaks of the Andes mountains. Prior to the recent discovery, Stampfl’s family had little hope of finding him or recovering his body from the snow and ice sheets that span the 6,700-meter-tall Huascaran peak.

The Associated Press reported that in June, Joseph Stampfl, Bill Stampfl’s son, received a phone call from a stranger who claimed to have discovered his father’s frozen body as he climbed the Huascaran peak.

“It was so out of left field. We talk about my dad, we think about him all the time,” Joseph Stampfl said. “You just never think you are going to get that call.”

“It’s been a shock,” Jennifer Stampfl, Bill Stampfl’s daughter, added. “When you get that phone call that he’s been found your heart just sinks. You don’t know how exactly to feel at first.”

According to The Associated Press, Peruvian police announced on Tuesday that Bill Stampfl’s body had been recovered from the mountain. Police and mountain guides were able to put the mummified body on a stretcher and carry it down the mountain.

Peru’s police indicated that Stampfl’s body and clothing were preserved due to the ice and freezing temperatures of the mountain. In addition to his clothes, Stampfl’s driver’s license was recovered inside a pouch.

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According to The Associated Press, the recovery effort started last week after an American climber discovered Stampfl’s frozen body. After discovering Stampfl’s driver’s license, the climber was able to contact Stampfl’s relatives, who then contacted local mountain guides.

Joseph Stampfl explained that the family worked with a Peruvian mountain rescue organization to coordinate the recovery operation. The recovery operation was conducted by five police officers and eight mountain guides, and the man’s body was later recovered approximately 1,200 meters below the place where Bill Stampfl and his two friends were believed to have been killed.

According to The Associated Press, Lenin Alvardo, one of the police officers involved in the operation, explained that Stampfl’s clothes remained mostly intact. In addition to the driver’s license, a camera, a pair of sunglasses, a voice recorder, and two $20 bills were discovered in Stampfl’s pouch. Stampfl’s gold wedding ring was also found on his left hand.

Pictures of the recovery effort and Stampfl’s mummified body were shared on X, formerly Twitter, by Collin Rugg, co-owner of Trending Politics.