Jean Juge, 73, veteran of climbing expeditions from Mont Blanc to the Himalayas, died in a blizzard less than 24-hours after realizing a life-long ambition by conquering the north face of the Matterhorn, it was learned here yesterday.
Mr. Juge, former president of the International Union of Alpinist Associations, set out to climb the 14,787 foot peak with Rene Mayor, 42, and Stephane Schafter, 27, two climbers from his home town of Genera.
According to guides at Zermatt, the weather suddenly deteriorated on Sunday when the three men were 13,200 feet up, but they persevered, reached the summit and began to make their way down again in the thick of a blizzard.
On Monday, the three camped at 13,695 feet and Tuesday the two younger men left Mr. Juge while they went to raise the alarm at a refuge 448 feet down the mountain. When the weather lifted enough for the rescue helicopter to get through late last night, the guides found Jean Juge dead.
Mr. Juge was president of the International Union of Alpinist Association from 1972 to 1976.
In 1976, when aged 68, he climbed the north face of the Eiger. Apart from conquering other European peaks, he also took part in a 1952 expedition to Algeria and a 1954 expedition to Cho-oyu, the 25,080 foot peak in the Himalayas.