Body of missing UCSD student and fellow hiker found in Peru

The body of a UC San Diego political science graduate student, and the body of his climbing partner, were found in the Peruvian Andes July 28.

Ben Horne, 32, of La Jolla Shores, a doctoral student in economics at the University of California San Diego, and Gil Weiss, 29, of Boulder, Colo., previously from San Diego, died in the thin air of Palcaraju, a glacier-covered peak in the Cordillera Blanca range.

An eight-man search party and a search plane were dispatched a week ago to look for the mountaineers, who went missing July 11. Their tent was found at an elevation of 16,700 feet on Thursday. Search crews also found tracks descending from the summit and evidence of an avalanche.

Horne and Weiss were members of The

Pullharder Alpine Club

, an informal group of about 25 mountain climbers. Its website announced the recovery of the bodies.

"We are very sad to report that we lost two very good friends and amazing climbing partners,” the website stated. “We would like to say thank you to everyone who helped in the search effort in the many ways they could. We are proud to be part of such an unbelievable community."

Horne began his climbing career as a Boy Scout and acquired a passion for high-altitude hikes while with the Peace Corps in the Asian Himalayas a decade ago, he told La Jolla Light Newspaper in March.

Horne described high-altitude climbing as "spiritual ... almost a religious experience. ... The mountains are a way for me to understand God, or at least, glimpse a little bit of God."

Horne said Pullharder group's vision was to "push yourself" without cutting corners. "We want to do bigger and harder things, but we want to do them in the right way."

--City News Service

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