I WON'T CLIMB THE CURSED MOUNTAIN; Tragic William's last message to family.A climber who lost his footing and plummeted 1,200 feet on Europe's highest mountain died because he changed his mind.
Just hours before his fall William Rattray phoned his family in Cork to say he'd called off an attempt to reach the summit of Mont Blanc Mont Blanc (môN bläN), Alpine massif, on the French-Italian border, SE of Geneva. One of its several peaks, also called Mont Blanc (15,771 ft/4,807 m), is the highest peak in France and the second highest in Europe. because the weather was closing in and it was too risky.
But the 29-year-old microbiologist and his French climbing partner later pressed ahead and made a successful ascent of the 15,600ft jagged Alpine peak which locals call "Le Mont Maudit Mont Maudit (4,465 m) is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in France and Italy. Until the end of the 18th century, Mont Blanc and its satellite peaks were collectively known in French as the Montagne Maudite. " - The Cursed Mountain.
The pair, roped together, were making their way back down when tragedy struck 2,500ft below the summit.
Witnesses say they slipped after losing their footing in the snow.
"We don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. why William went ahead," his dad said last night.
"He was a real enthusiast and very experienced. He'd been climbing all his life.
"The news has left us absolutely shattered."
Emergency services emergency services Emergency care '…services …necessary to prevent death or serious impairment of health and, because of the danger to life or health, require the use of the most accessible hospital available and equipped to furnish those services' from the French resort of Chamonix found his son's body.
His French pal lay nearby gravely injured and unconscious. He was still in a coma in hospital last night.
At the family home in Clogheen, Co Cork, William Senr said the family feared the worst after hearing reports that a climber had been killed on the peak.
But, he said, they were too frightened to make inquiries for fear of what they might be told.
His wife Ita said: "Our fears were confirmed on Monday night when French police contacted the gardai and they called on us about midnight with the news."
She added that the family had been in touch with the Irish Embassy in Paris who, they hoped, would provide further details of the accident.
William, eldest of their three children, was a food science graduate of UCC An abbreviation for the Uniform Commercial Code. and a founder member of the univer-sity's mountaineering society.
Members there were last night mourning the loss of "a popular and very experienced climber."
A brilliant student, William went on to take a PhD in food micro- biology at Edmonton in Canada.
He then returned to Cork where he found work at the Dairy Research Centre at Moorepark.
He was spending his summer vacation Summer vacation (also called summer holidays or summer break) is a vacation in the summertime between school years in which students are off for 3 months, depending on the country and district. climbing in the Alps.
The Department of Foreign Affairs foreign affairs
Affairs concerning international relations and national interests in foreign countries. is making arrangements to have his body flown home to Ireland.
More than 100 climbers reach the summit of Mont Blanc every day in summer.
The relatively-easy climb makes it a favourite with novice climbers.
But the peak has several perilous glaciers which can make it a death trap death trap
a place or vehicle considered very unsafe .
William is the 56th climber to die on its slopes this summer.
Last week it saw a total of 16 deaths in four days.