July 13, 2012

    Photo: alpiniste/Flickr

Famed British Guide Among Avalanche Dead

Roger Payne was former BMC secretary

A British mountain guide who wrote a book on how to avoid avalanches was among the climbers killed in Thursday's slide in France's Mont Blanc range, the United Kingdom's Home Office announced. Roger Payne, 55, was shepherding a group of climbers up Mont Maudit when the avalanche hit. Payne, who lived in Leysin, Switzerland, was a former general secretary of the British Mountaineering Council. In an interview with ITV, mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington said that there was no way Payne could have predicted the slide. "Roger was an expert on avalanche danger, he actually taught it, instructed it, but that doesn't make any difference," he said. "They are unpredictable."

Read more at The Guardian


    Photo: eGuide Travel/Flickr

Cannibals Arrested for Murder, Penis Soup

Uh, what?

Officials in Papua New Guinea have arrested 29 members of a supposed cannibal cult for killing seven witch doctors, eating their raw brains, and using their penises to make soup, according to a Friday police report. The individuals, who appeared in court this week, are said to be part of a 1,000-strong coalition that hunts errant sorcerers who overcharge their customers. Belief in black magic is strong in PNG, where many seek the help of profiteering medicine men. Witch doctors in the region typically charge 1,000 kina ($472), a pig, and a bag of rice, but some witch doctors have begun to demand sex in addition to the standard pig-cash-rice fee. "That was the main cause of frustration that led to the forming of a group to hunt down sorcerers," said a local cult leader. "Over time, as suspects were released to carry on as sorcerers, we got tired and fed up." Police, who raided the village of Biamb and made the arrests last week, have urged the other members to surrender.

Read more at the AFP


    Photo: lawmurray/Flickr

Mugs Stump Climber Dies in Crevasse Fall

Carried Olympic torch to Everest

Chinese alpinist Yan Dongdong died in a crevasse fall on Monday while attempting to climb Quelebosi Peak, in China's Tianshan Mountains. "Yan fell into a hidden deep ice crack and got stuck inside, and his teammates tried many times to rescue him but failed," Ma Xinxiang, training director of the Chinese Mountaineering Association, wrote in a blog post. Among his other achievements, Dongdong, 28, was a 2012 recipient of the Mugs Stump Award grant, which he and partners Steve Su and Zhou Peng planned to use to fund an expedition to traverse China's unclimbed Sanlian Peak. Outside of the mountaineering community, he was best known as one of the group of Chinese climbers who brought the Olympic torch to Everest in 2008 prior to the Beijing summer games.

Read more at China Daily