/ NEWS: Deadly Avalanche on Mont Maudit

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UKC News - on 12 Jul 2012
Mont Maudit 4342 mtrs and Mont Blanc 4810 mtrs  taken from the summit ridge of Mont Tacul , 4 kbA serac release has triggered an avalanche on Mont Maudit, Chamonix. This large avalanche has killed at least nine climbers early this morning, with four more climbers still missing.

Those found are reported to include three British climbers.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67253

edmitchell - on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Dreadful news, my thoughts are with the injured and the relatives of the dead.

The deputy chief of the chamonix guides suggested that it was a slab avalanche, released by the climbers, not a serac collapse as I'd assumed. I can see the upper part of Mont Maudit at the moment through binoculars and can't see any obvious debris there. There wasd some fresh snow on tues night and its been windy, so maybe windslab?

Such a terrible accident.
highclimber - on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to edmitchell: Yeah I just heard on BBC news that it was a slab avalanche.
frankbabs - on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to highclimber:

A horrible reminder that no matter how experienced and competent we are if you're caught in the wrong area at the wrong time....!!

All our thoghts are with the climbers' families and friends at a terrible time.
Sean Kelly - on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: Just come through on BBc News 24. One of the victims was Roger Payne. So sad
BeerBuddha - on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to Sean Kelly:
> (In reply to UKC News) Just come through on BBc News 24. One of the victims was Roger Payne. So sad

Agreed, just heard on radio.
improveonsilence - on 12 Jul 2012
Roger was such a friendly, inspirational guy, who, even despite all the time he had spent in the mountains, still had a insatiable appetite for it. So sad. I only spent five minutes talking to him, but he was awesome.
Graeme Alderson on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to improveonsilence: So sad about this, I worked with Roger at the BMC and will always remember his Chelsea no. 10 shirt that we bought as his leaving gift.
Christheclimber - on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

Dreadful news about Roger, very sad indeed he was a great guy.
Erstwhile on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to Christheclimber:

I always thought of Rog as one of those invincible, indestructable climbers. He was a great person.
I remember Zero gully in about 1980, and all the others. I meant to go and see him in Switzerland last winter for old time's sake but never made it.

Sorry mate, it'll have to wait.




Goucho on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to Sean Kelly: I was fortunate to meet Roger on a couple of occasions socially out and about over the years, and this is very very sad news...condolences to family and his many close friends.

When something like this happens to someone of Roger's calibre, it only goes to show that 'there for the grace of god' go many of us.

Ghastly Rubberfeet on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Very sad news.

A great mountaineer and a very approachable bloke.

My thoughts are with his family and friends
Ian Dunn - on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson: Roger was a climber's climber. A leader who knew what he wanted and went for it. This sometimes brought him into conflict with his critics but he got things done. The BMC wouldn't have a great Headquarters in Didsbury if it wasn't for his vision, Summit magazine wouldn't exist, he helped start CWMA, he was involved in the first climbing competitions, Roger was never afraid of going for it. I am so so sad he has been taken from us in such an unexpected way, my deepest sympathies go to Julie-Ann, he was a one off, take care Ian
Grinning Donkey on 12 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Condolences to all the climbers caught up in this tragedy.

We did exactly the same route up Mont Blanc a few years ago ... and as many people have said ..... "It could have been us"

But....Total respect to all those people attempting Mont Blanc .... It is a fabulous, awe inspiring and unforgetable place ....... God bless to all the unfortunate casualties .. and with all due respect I hope they were inspired as much from just 'being there' as we were.

Humble and respectful thoughts to all.






ste_d - on 13 Jul 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

Very sad news. I'll always remember Roger stomping up and down the BMC corridor, 2 days into my new job, demanding to know 'wheres my email Steve!'
Erstwhile on 13 Jul 2012
In reply to ste_d:

A picture from around 1980, as I will always remember him.
He certainly knew how to enjoy life in those days.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201300
In reply to UKC News: Foreign Office have named two more Britons killed in avalanche in the French Alps as John Taylor and Steve Barber. Condolences.
BMC Office - on 13 Jul 2012 - www.thebmc.co.uk
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat:

In case anyone's missed, it, we've written a tribute here:

http://www.thebmc.co.uk/roger-payne-killed-on-mont-maudit-ed-douglas-looks-back-on-his-life

And will continue to update our news here:

http://www.thebmc.co.uk/mont-maudit-avalanche

If anyone has any good photos of Roger, please email alex@thebmc.co.uk. The photos on our news item are a bit old (and feature a rather bad jumper) so be good to have something recent. Cheers.
Ian Parnell - on 13 Jul 2012
In reply to Erstwhile: Roger was my boss at the BMC for 5 years, - as Ian put it so well he was someone who was incredibly passionate about everything he did. I remember so many days spent working far too late in the office, almost afraid to turn off the computer as Roger was showing no signs of quitting - then suddenly he shout out 'right that's it - time to climb' and we'd rush out to grab a route at Running Hill Pits or Hobson Moor', equal energy would then be put into beers and banter back at his house - all very exhausting but envigorating.

A typical Roger memory was on one of winter meets in the late 90s - very late at night in the Glenmore Lodge bar after a hard day on the hill. The bar shut down and there were just a few die hards left. This was the point where as 'climbing's nominal boss' the diplomatic thing would have been for Roger to wind up the evening and shepherd everyone towards their beds. Instead Roger noticed that the metal security grill hadn't fully closed and their was a tiny gap just above the bar top. Roger turned to Leo Houlding and said 'as the General Secretary of the BMC I order you to squeeze through and get us a bottle of whisky. What followed got very messy - with a lot of people ending up in the Lodge canoe pool, further details suddenly evade me ...:-). Whilst Roger at times could be ruthlessly efficient in his work it felt reassuring that someone who knew how to have that much fun was the representative head of our game.

My thoughts go out to Julie Ann

almost sane - on 13 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Condolences to the families of all who were lost.
ads.ukclimbing.com
BigHell on 13 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:
> A serac release has triggered an avalanche on Mont Maudit, Chamonix. This large avalanche has killed at least nine climbers early this morning, with four more climbers still missing.
>
> Those found are reported to include three British climbers.
>
> Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67253

Very sad news I was there in 2008 time of the Tacul avalanche seems the two incidents were very similar.
BMC Office - on 13 Jul 2012 - www.thebmc.co.uk
In reply to bighell:

Have you got any good photos of Roger? His family and friends would like to see them. Details here:

http://www.thebmc.co.uk/roger-payne-photos-wanted
highclimber - on 13 Jul 2012
In reply to Ian Parnell: That's a lovely anecdote, Ian. It sounds like he was a great laugh. a sad loss to the mountaineering community. RIP Roger, your life will keep people smiling even in your absence.
Dave Turnbull, BMC - on 13 Jul 2012
In reply to Ian Parnell:

..and here's another little anecodote I recall from climbing with Roger one winter in Coire an t-Sneachda (Northern Corries). He recalled the story of when he'd been approaching the Corries some years earlier when suddenly out of the clouds a body came tumbling and free falling several 100 ft down one of the main faces before impacting a snow slope not far from his position at the time. Roger force marched up to casualty fully expecting to find a dead body. But as he approached he saw movement and a snow covered face popped out from a drift - 'where've you come from'? he said - shocked that anyone could have survived such a fall and expecting an explanation of which route he'd fallen off, 'Edinburgh University' came the reply from dazed but perfectly ok climber. Roger then walked him back down, then to Glenmore Lodge where they no ended up in the bar. I've always remembered the way he told the 'Edinburgh University' punchline bit, as a Londoner he had a awful Scottish acsent but that didn't stop him trying.
Enty - on 13 Jul 2012
In reply to Ian Parnell:
>
> A typical Roger memory was on one of winter meets in the late 90s - very late at night in the Glenmore Lodge bar after a hard day on the hill. The bar shut down and there were just a few die hards left. This was the point where as 'climbing's nominal boss' the diplomatic thing would have been for Roger to wind up the evening and shepherd everyone towards their beds. Instead Roger noticed that the metal security grill hadn't fully closed and their was a tiny gap just above the bar top. Roger turned to Leo Houlding and said 'as the General Secretary of the BMC I order you to squeeze through and get us a bottle of whisky. What followed got very messy - with a lot of people ending up in the Lodge canoe pool, further details suddenly evade me ...:-). Whilst Roger at times could be ruthlessly efficient in his work it felt reassuring that someone who knew how to have that much fun was the representative head of our game.
>

Brilliant!!

E

Erstwhile on 14 Jul 2012
Ian Parnell - on 14 Jul 2012
In reply to Erstwhile: Brilliant that expression could have been Roger after a meeting with some UK Sport cronies, or having got through Indian customs with 2 tonnes of excess expedition baggage or perhaps just having persuaded someone to stay a little longer at the bar!
The Ivanator - on 15 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: Such a terrible accident. My thoughts are with friends and relatives of all the climbers involved.
One of the Brits who sadly died (Steve Barber) was doing the climb as a charitable fundraiser for St. Leonard's Hospice in York, anyone who is able to donate to the charity and help a little good come from this tragedy can do so here:
http://www.justgiving.com/stevebarber
Gordonbp - on 15 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Quite a moving piece in the Telegraph about the memorial service:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/france/alps/9400417/Prayers-for-nine-Alps-clim...
icnoble on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: This is an extract from the Telegraph obituary last week.

One of his more noteworthy adventures took place in 1993 on the slopes of K2 when he aborted his ascent to rescue a stricken climber. Known as “the Savage Mountain” for the ferocity of its weather and its fatality rate, K2, at 8,611m, is considered by climbers to be an infinitely more challenging peak to climb than Everest.
On the morning of July 31 he and his wife, Julie-Ann, were at Camp III, 7,400m, when they learned that of the six climbers who had summitted the previous day, three had perished on the descent. Two other members of Payne’s team ventured up and discovered an exhausted member of the summit team, whom they brought to the camp.
Payne and his wife looked after the stricken climber overnight and then together lowered him down the mountain the following morning. Visibility was extremely poor and strong winds battered the section of the mountain known as the Abruzzi Spur — named after the Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi, who had made one of the first attempts on the mountain.
During one heart-stopping moment, Payne was abseiling down fixed ropes while attached to the exhausted climber when the ropes snapped. With lightning reflexes he was able to grab the line with his hand and thus avoid certain death. After 13 hours of struggle he and his wife were able to bring the climber to the safety of base camp.

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