The tracks of two 29-year old US climbers have been found near the base camp of a 20,000-foot glacier-capped peak in the Cordillera Blanca range of northern Peru, 16 days after they set out.
Gil Weiss and Ben Horne, both experienced climbers from Boulder, Colorado, were attempting the west summit of Palcajaru, said Ted Alexander, a guide based in nearby Huaraz who coordinated an initial search team sent out Tuesday, reported the Associated Press. The three-person team found a bright yellow tent said to belong to the two missing climbers at 16,700 feet on Thursday. They also found tracks coming off the summit and evidence of an avalanche.
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Alexander said his team would attempt an ascent on Saturday, but that he is not optimistic about Weiss and Horne's chances of survival based on how long they've been missing, according to the AP.
The two climbers had planned a seven to 10 day excursion, reported Fox News. Family members contacted Alexander after 13 days went by with no word from either of them. Weiss's sister Galit said the two men were not carrying a satellite phone, but that they had previously completed a five-day trip, including summiting the north face of 2,0216-foot (6,162-meter) Ranrapalca.
Fox also said that according to a blog post by both Horne and Weiss, this trip would be Horne's first to the Cordillera Blanca, but that Weiss had been there before.