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Body of climber missing 37 years is found inside melting Swiss glacier, police report

A melting glacier near the Matterhorn has uncovered the remains of a climber missing for 37 years, Swiss police reported.

Mountaineers stumbled across the remains and scattered climbing gear, including a boot, July 12 on the Theodul glacier above Zermatt, Valais Cantonal Police said in a news release.

DNA testing found the remains are those of a German climber who vanished in September 1986, police said.

The then 38-year-old man was reported missing after failing to return from a hike, police said. Searchers failed to find the missing man.

Police said receding glaciers are increasingly revealing the remains of long-missing climbers and mountaineers.

In 2022, a receding glacier revealed the wreckage of a plane crash from 1968, BBC News reported. In 2014, a helicopter found the remains of a British climber missing since 1979.

How to be prepared while hiking

If you’re planning to hike, the National Park Service says there are 10 essentials you should take:

  • Navigation: Pack a map, compass and a GPS system. Make sure you study your route beforehand and understand how to use the tools.

  • Sun protection: Sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat can help protect your skin and eyes from UV rays.

  • Insulation: A jacket, hat, gloves, raincoat and thermal underwear can help you be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions.

  • Illumination: A flashlight, lantern and headlamp can create light if you get stuck in the dark — and don’t forget to pack extra batteries.

  • First-aid supplies: It’s a good idea to have a first-aid kit on hand while hiking. Check the expiration date on items before you pack them.

  • Fire: Matches and a lighter can help start fire to act as an emergency signal in times of need.

  • Repair kit and tools: Duct tape, a knife, screwdriver and scissors can be helpful if items break during your hike or you need assistance.

  • Nutrition: You should pack an extra day’s worth of food in case something goes wrong. Park officials recommend having “salty and easy to digest snacks.”

  • Hydration: You should drink water often and before you feel thirsty if you’re hiking in hot weather. Keeping your body hydrated is “of utmost importance,” park officials said.

  • Emergency shelter: Packing a tent, space blanket, tarp and bivy can help you be prepared if severe weather breaks out or your plan takes a turn.

Google Translate was used to translate the news release from the Valais Cantonal Police in Switzerland.

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