Team Belgium falls to death

“Isn´t it an amazing feeling,
to know that there is absolutely nothing alse in the world
that you would rather be doing at this moment!”

Yesterday early morning 3 climbers & friends from Belgium, with whom I have been climbing and living together in Huaraz for the last month, have fallen to death on Tocllaraju West Face (D+, 6032m).

toclla
Photo © Elias Segovia (www.mountcoach.net)

When the police asked for their passport details we went through their personal belongings which they left behind at our hostel. I couldn´t see with all the tears in my eyes, knowing my friends don´t mind what I´m doing since they won´t come back. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life!

toclla2
Me, An & Koen resting on the way to Alpamayo Col Camp

An (22), Koen (25) & Hans (29)
were the kind of people the world needs to become a better place.

I´m so sad! I don´t understand! And I´m sure the accident will affect my mountaineering career until the end of my climbing days. Was it a warning at the right time?

I am in Lima leaving for the Amazon now. I need to get away, far away from mountains for a while.

Belgian Consul Jacques Francois says the party was not far from the summit when cascading snow and/or possible serac fall swept them off a steep slope to an ice shelf 400 meters below.

More info can be found at the Team Belgium´s blog:
http://mountcoach.com/2009/08/05/laatste-nieuws-vanuit-huaraz-peru/

It was the third fatal accident in just 10 days in the treacherous Peruvian mountains.

Addendum: In September 2010 An & Hans’ parents went to Tocllaraju to place a monument in the glacier camp:

http://mountcoach.com/2010/09/10/de-families-van-an-hans-in-peru/

August 3, 2009  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Peru Views: 4019

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2 Responses

  1. Karess - October 3, 2011

    A piece of erudition unkile any other!

  2. Jo De Backer - August 13, 2009

    Thank you for the story and the nice words about my brother Koen and his friends.

    The mountains were indeed the place they loved the most, but that it had to end this soon, was not to be expected.

    Wishing you the best and keep on climbing with a smile and a lot of confidence as that is what Koen did and would have wanted…

    Jo (sister of Koen)