The bodies of missing UC San Diego graduate student Ben Horne and a friend were found Saturday in the Andes mountains of Peru, according to U-T San Diego and news services.
Horne, a UCSD doctoral student in economics, and his friend Gil Weiss went missing July 11 while climbing a 20,000-foot peak in the Cordillera Blanca range.
“Friends involved in the search said the families of Horne and Weiss were notified their bodies were found Saturday,” U-T San Diego reported.
Searchers reportedly found their tent at 16,700 feet Thursday and tracks coming off the summit, as well as evidence of an avalanche, the U-T reported.
Horne and Weiss were members of the Pullharder Alpine Club, an informal group of about 25 mountain climbers. Its website announced the recovery of the bodies.
We are very sad to report that we lost two very good friends and
amazing climbing partners. We would like to say thank you to everyone who helped in the search effort in the many ways they could. We are proud to be part of such an unbelievable community.
Horne began his climbing career as a Boy Scout and acquired a passion
for high-altitude hikes while with the Peace Corps in the Asian Himalayas a
decade ago, he told the La Jolla Light.
In a 2011 profile, UCSD said Horne, a triathlete, had climbed more than 25 mountain peaks, including Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, Mount Whitney and Mount Rainier.
“He’s run the Grand Canyon from rim to rim and back, and completed Ironman Arizona: a 2.4-mile ocean swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. Race after race, nothing slows Ben down—not even the surgical reconstruction of his elbow following an accident,” UCSD said.
Two years ago, Horne’s elbow was crushed in five pieces in a cycling accident.
“The radial head of Ben’s elbow was completely shattered,” said Dr. Reid Abrams, chief of hand and microvascular surgery at UC San Diego Health System. “Because he is young, and an athlete, the team wanted to preserve his natural bone. We also wanted to avoid a prosthetic replacement which is commonly used but unpredictable in terms of longevity. As a cyclist, I understood the flexibility and stability that Ben would require for cycling, climbing and swimming well into the future.”
During a delicate two-hour surgery, Abram’s team rebuilt Benjamin’s elbow with a series of strategically placed plates, screws and pins woven with wire.
In a March inteview with the Light, Horned said climbing was “almost a religious experience. The mountains are a way for me to understand God, or at least, glimpse a little bit of God.”
—City News Service contributed to this report.