Mont Blanc Patrice Hyvert Aiguille des Grands Charmoz Talèfre glacier
Body found on Mont Blanc Range (l.fregeac/flickr)

Frozen Corpse Found on Mont Blanc

Climber's body discovered after 32 years

Mont Blanc Patrice Hyvert Aiguille des Grands Charmoz Talèfre glacier

The body of a mountaineer who has been missing for 32 years was found in the Mont Blanc mountain range last Thursday.

As the Guardian reports, Patrice Hyvert, a 23-year-old aspiring climbing guide and French native, set out in early 1982 on a solo ascent of the Nant Blanc face with the intention of skiing down the Couturier corridor. A snowstorm hit the area on March 1, rendering conditions so hazardous that Jean-Marc Boivin, another climber bound for the north face of the Aiguille des Grands Charmoz who had set out at the same time as Hyvert, had to be rescued by helicopter two days after the storm cleared. 

Hyvert wasn’t as fortunate, despite prolonged rescue efforts by search crews after his disappearance. When two climbers discovered his frozen remains on Talèfre glacier last week, it took little time to identify the body.

“We identified him straightaway,” said Captain Patrick Ribes of the Chamonix gendarmerie rescue service. “He still had his ID papers on him, and all his equipment, including his skis.”

Hyvert’s 82 year-old father, Gérard, described the discovery of his son’s body as “a second death.”

“I can’t say that it came as a relief,” Hyvert Sr. told Le Parisien. “I would have preferred him to have stayed up there.”

It is unlikely to offer much solace, but Gérard Hyvert will have his wish partially granted. After a memorial service in Chamonix, Patrice Hyvert’s ashes will be scattered on the same glacier where he was found.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: l.fregeac/flickr