Two Americans Die on Matterhorn

Posted on: August 11, 2008


The east (left) and north faces of the Matterhorn (4478m), Valais Alps, Switzerland. The bodies of two climbing partners from Colorado were recovered at 13,100' on the east face last Friday, August 8, 2008; stormy conditions, and resulting poor visibility, likely were factors in the incident. [Photo] Menno Boermans

Two climbers from Colorado—Vince Bousselaire, 53, of Golden and a 57-year-old woman from Boulder whose name has not been released—died last week on the Matterhorn in Switzerland's Valais Alps.

Descending in a storm alongside three other climbers, poor visibility caused Bousselaire and partner to lose contact with the other team. How they fell remains unclear; the Associated Press reported that Bousselaire fell ca. 300 meters and his partner, whose rope caught on a rock, fell ca. 80 meters.

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Rescue operation leader Bruno Jelk noted that, in dry conditions, the terrain where the incident occurred is not considered treacherous, "but anywhere can be dangerous when the weather turns and it snows and there's fog."

The two bodies were recovered at 13,100' on the Matterhorn's east face by Air Zermatt on Friday evening, August 8, after numerous search campaigns throughout the day. Family members had reported the climbers missing that morning or the night before, according to AP reports.

Bousselaire was an experienced mountain traveler, having hiked Colorado's fifty-four 14,000' peaks. He is survived by two daughters, two grandchildren, his mother and eight siblings.

Alpinist will update this report as more information becomes available.

Sources: Menno Boermans, www.usatoday.com, www.9news.com, Associated Press, www.bergredding.nl

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