Northampton

Climber died in rock fall on highest peak in Alps

Mont Blanc
Image caption Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps

The death of a 20-year-old female mountaineer from Northamptonshire on Mont Blanc was accidental despite no witnesses, a coroner has ruled.

Emma Wright and Tim Ballard died in a rock fall as they were on the mountain on the Italian-French border.

An inquest heard Ms Wright, of Kettering, was training to become a mountain leader.

She was with Mr Ballard, who had 15 years' climbing experience, when the accident happened on 5 July.

Coroner Anne Pember, at Kettering, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

In a statement read to the hearing her stepfather Glenn Lennie said the family had received very little information about the tragedy.

He said: "We knew Emma and Mr Ballard died from injuries sustained following a fall. The fall appears to have occurred from a rock fall as opposed to any equipment failure."

'Huge enthusiasm'

The court heard Miss Wright was a keen outdoor activity enthusiast and had worked at the Benmore Centre for Outdoor Education in Dunoon, Argyle.

She also helped pupils at St Anne's School in Windermere in the Lake District to complete their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

She had been offered a full-time job at the school and had decided to take a holiday with other mountain enthusiasts to contemplate her future.

Her father said: said: "Emma enjoyed her time at the Benmore Centre. It was there that her passion for mountain climbing began.

"In order to become a mountain leader she had to complete a logbook of mountains she had climbed.

"As with most things she took to this task with huge enthusiasm."

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