Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Falling ice chunk kills climbers in Peru

(CNN) -- A large, hanging and then collapsing chunk of ice is likely the reason why two American climbers died in Peru, an investigator said Monday.

The bodies of Ben Horne and Gil Weiss were found two days earlier, a heartbreaking end to a high-tech search.

The men disappeared while attempting to scale the south face of Palcaraju Oeste, a 6,110-meter (20,000-foot) tall mountain located in Huaraz, a region popular with climbers.

Ted Alexander, who coordinated an investigation and effort to find the men, said Horne and Weiss made it to the summit and ran into trouble on their way down.

Evidence suggests that one of the men likely went to look over a serac -- a large block of ice -- to see if they could descend. Something gave out, causing the climber to fall some 65 feet, said Alexander. But because the men would have been tethered together, that first fall likely pulled the other man off the edge, which sent them both spiraling off a large cliff. Read More