Shropshire man solves mystery of missing climber after 21 years

A Shropshire man working in the Canadian ice-fields has solved a 21-year-old mystery after he and a friend stumbled upon the body of a missing American climber.

Adam Pahal was hiking to the base of the Dome Glacier when he made the discovery
Adam Pahal was hiking to the base of the Dome Glacier when he made the discovery

A Shropshire man working in the Canadian ice-fields has solved a 21-year-old mystery after he and a friend stumbled upon the body of a missing American climber.

Adam Pahal, of Bomere Heath, near Shrewsbury, is currently living in Vancouver while working in the Columbia Ice-field, a 325 kmĀ², 100 to 365m deep field of snow and ice.

Climber William Holland

Last month while hiking to the base of the Dome Glacier with friend and fellow employee, Matt Shantz, the pair found the body of American William Holland who had been missing since April 3, 1989.

His body was perfectly preserved in his full climbing gear, spiked boots on his feet and even rope slung over his shoulder.

Adam, 23, said that on August 15 he and Matt had been walking for about three hours until they reached the base of Mount Snowdome.

But he said it was on the hike back that it became a day they would "never forget".

After carefully descending from a waterfall they noticed debris which had melted out of the ice and as they got closer, they realised to their horror that they had found a body.

Clarity

"Although the debris was in the shape of a person it took a very long time for the information to process in my brain, and for us both to realise what we had just found," said Adam.

"This was the moment of clarity when I knew we had discovered a perfectly preserved body, still in the clothing they were wearing when they fell."

Adam said they later told officials about their grim find and the body of Mr Holland was recovered and he was identified using dental records.

He said: "The remains were of Mr Holland, a 39-year-old geologist from Gorham, Maine, USA, who had remained, frozen in ice and perfectly preserved for over 21 years.

"Mr Holland was an extremely experienced and capable climber, previously climbing Mount McKinley in Alaska, the highest and deadliest mountain peak in North America,

"It's a truly amazing story, and the chances of something like this happening are so small it's hard to believe."

He added: "The area we found Mr Holland is now covered in snow, so if we went today we would not have found him."

By Russell Roberts