Human remains found on a glacier close to Switzerland’s famous Matterhorn have been confirmed to be the body of a German climber missing since 1986.
The discovery is the latest in a number of long held secrets that the Alpine glaciers, now rapidly shrinking due to climate change, have revealed.
The body was discovered earlier this month by climbers crossing the Theodul glacier above Zermatt.
They noticed a hiking boot and crampons emerging from the ice.
DNA analysis showed the body to be that of a German climber, who disappeared 37 years ago. A huge search and rescue operation at the time failed to find any trace of him.
Police did not name the climber but said he was aged 38 when he went missing during a hike.
The Theodul glacier, like glaciers across the Alps, has shown a marked retreat in the last few years. It is part of Zermatt’s famous year round ski region, the highest in Europe.
But the alpine ice fields are especially sensitive to global warming. Until the 1980s the Theodul was still connected to its neighbour – the Gorner glacier – but the two have now split apart.
Almost every summer, the melting ice reveals something, or someone, lost for decades. Last year the wreckage of a plane that crashed in 1968 emerged from the Aletsch glacier. (BBC)