August 7, 2002

Friends and Family,

For those of you that are receiving the word of my father's death for the first time via this email, I apologize for the way that you are finding this out.

The official word from the Peruvian government is: After over a month of searching, all official searches have been stopped. Bill Stampfl, Steve Erskine & Matthew Richardson, all perished as a result of an ice avalanche on June 24th, 2002 at the 19,000-foot level of the Huascaran mountain peak in Lima, Peru.

The American embassy in Peru did a remarkable job in their efforts to keep us updated on a regular basis with regards to the search and rescue operations for the two remaining men that had yet to be found. It wasn't until the early parts of last week that we again heard from the embassy with the unfortunate news that the third and final search turned up nothing.

My dad's personal belongings that had been left at the hotel and base camp were collected by the embassy in Peru, cataloged, packaged, and shipped out late last week. We received the packages yesterday. Among his personal belongings, were several post cards of the mountain peaks, a clay caricature statue of a native man playing a wood flute on a pack mule (don't ask, it must have meant something to him) and film that had been used prior to his fatal climb. We hope that once we have the film processed, we will be able to see what an exciting time my dad was having in Peru before this tragic event.

My family thanks everyone for their continued prayers. Please keep them coming. We will all need much strength as the reality of my father's death begins to soak in; we are all still very numb and have yet to really begin what I fear will be a very difficult time to come.

At this point, a memorial service is planned for Sept. 14th at 3:00 p.m. Should you be interested in joining us, please contact me for further information.


v i s u a l.r e a l m s.
Joseph W. Stampfl