A French climber went missing on the first of March, 1982. Now, 32 years later, his body has been recovered, the frigid temps allowing for identification of the frozen remains belonging to Patrice Hyvert, who was only 23 years of age when he was lost on Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and the European Union.
Reports the Huffington Post: “Hyvert, an aspiring mountain guide, was last seen on March 1, 1982, when he embarked on a solo trek up the Nant Blanc face of the Aiguille Verte with plans to ski down, according to reports… Inclement weather rolled in later that afternoon and heavy snow soon obscured the climb. On the same day, another mountaineer, Jean-Marc Boivin, was also scaling the range. He was airlifted off the mountain two days later.” Hyvert was never found.
When told of the discovery of his son’s body, Hyvert’s father, 82-year-old Gerard Hyvert, said he wishes that his son’s body would have been left atop the mountain.
“I'm a mountain man, and I would have preferred him to stay up there,” Gerard said. “He was better on a mountain than in a coffin. He was in his element.”
An article from the Atlantic.com noted that Mont Blanc has the “highest fatality rate of any mountain in Europe. Some estimates put the fatality rate at an average of 100 hikers a year.”
Despite the fact that Mont Blanc is the tallest mountain in Europe, standing at 15,780 feet, it is portrayed as technically easy to climb. In fact, the Atlantic says the mountain is described by guiding companies as more of a “long walk” then a challenging ascent. For that reason, Mont Blanc attracts many unqualified hikers and climbers, and the mountain’s easy access (gondolas carry hikers almost 10,000 feet up) invite tens of thousands of novice climbers each year, many of whom are unqualified to be on the mountain face on their own.