The bodies of two lifelong friends were found frozen side-by-side following a “freak” snowstorm after scaling an infamous Swiss mountain.
Peter Rumble and Royal Navy friend Dennis Robinson had warned emergency services about worsening conditions on the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps on their way down from the top of the 14,000ft mountain.
The two pensioner friends, who were experienced climbers, were instructed to seek shelter on the mountainside as a helicopter rescue was made impossible by the harsh weather conditions.
Mr Rumble and Mr Robinson, both aged 66 years, were found in a small cranny less than 400 metres from the summit of the Matterhorn at Pic Tyndall.
Mr Robinson’s partner was told the pair would be gone three to four days and waited patiently for their return before the devastating news was broken to her.
Father-of-one Mr Rumble’s ex-wife Janet said reports the pair had been ill-prepared for the challenge were upsetting, and described the series of events as “a fluke.”
The 70-year-old said: “They were experienced and disciplined climbers.
“The Matterhorn is an unknown quantity.
“It has claimed 500 lives but if you’ve got it in your soul to be adventurous, you try anyway.”
The pair had been training rigorously for the excursion and Mrs Rumble said the two lifelong friends often went abroad together to Switzerland of France, and were both fond of skiing and climbing.
They were only identified when a camera from their travels was collected and traced back to their campervan at their campsite at the bottom of the mountain.
Mrs Rumble added: “They climbed a lot together, they were a good team.
“Peter was always an adventurous person.
“I can’t say what Dennis was like as we only saw him if he came to visit at the weekend but he had the same sense of adventure.
“They were friends for a considerable time.”
Tragically, she did not know about Mr Rumble’s trip to the Matterhorn, and was only made aware about it after his death and she said it was some consolation the pair died doing what they loved.
Mr Rumble, served as an officer in the Royal Navy for 12 years, and competed for England as a skier in the Navy team after discovering a passion for the winter sport. He later worked as a computer engineer for IBM, where the couple met.
Mrs Rumble paid tribute to her husband of 15 years and said they remained friends after divorcing and he had been a devoted father to their son
Matthew who was too distraught to speak about his father’s death.
The two lived together at their home in Maidenhead, Berks.
“He was good at all sports and was an excellent skier, he’d help anybody out,” Mrs Rumble said.
“I think his son would say the same.”
“He was always going away. I didn’t know he was climbing the Matterhorn.”