Mother of avalanche-killed expresses grief
Sat, 14 Jul 2012 6:16p.m.
By Alex Bourn
The mother of the renowned British climber killed in an avalanche in the French Alps yesterday has spoken of her grief.
Her son, Roger Payne, died while attempting to reach Western Europe’s highest peak.
He is survived by his wife, New Zealand-born Julie Ann Clyma, who always climbed with him, except for the expedition which took his life.
Roger Payne was one of Britain's most-respected mountaineers. Climbing was his passion, and one that he shared with his Kiwi wife Julie-Anne.
They had been together 26 years, conquering peaks all over the world.
But Julie-Anne Clyma wasn't part of the Mont Blanc expedition that claimed her husband's life.
“I can’t believe it,” says mother Nellie Payne. “I just can’t take it all in at the moment.”
Mr Payne gave a photo to his mother on her 100th birthday and told her he would never push his luck on the mountain.
“If they could get to the top, they would,” says his mother. “But if they were just a little way from the top, they wouldn't take any chances.”
Julie-Anne Clyma is Invercargill-born. She learned to climb at Otago University.
She is now in Chamonix, at the hospital where her husband's body is being kept, in the shadow of the mountain that took his life.
“[With] the avalanche, they didn't stand a chance,” says Ms Payne.
Twenty-eight climbers attempted to reach the summit of Mount Maudit yesterday.
Nine died and nine others were injured when a wall of snow and ice swept them away.
“The first time, when it first came, I felt like ‘okay, this is really bad, I'm going to stop it’,” says avalanche survivor Tomas Dybro. “I felt like I was above it somehow, but then two seconds after it was just hitting us and that was terrible because I just thought I was going to die.”
Analysis into what triggered the avalanche has now begun.
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