Climber Sepp Mayerl dead after cliff plunge

One of the world’s top mountain climbers Sepp Mayerl, 75, who refused to give up his passion for the sport has died after falling off the north face of the Adlerwand in the Dolomites at Lienz in the Austrian East Tyrol.

He was travelling with a pal and the pair had planned to climb to the peak to take a look at the brand-new crucifix that had been erected there when he fell more than 50 foot onto rocks below. Apparently a small section of rock broke free as he climbed the sheer cliff face.

His companion raised the alarm and although rescuers were quickly on the scene reanimation attempts failed and he was declared dead by the time he had been flown by helicopter into the valley.

Mayerl was such a passionate climber that he had climbed many of the world’s tallest mountains, and when not climbing he worked as a roof repairer on church towers – usually without a safety line or scaffolding.

He is renowned for making the first ascent of Lhotse Shar − a subsidiary summit of Lhotse − in the Himalayas in May 1970 together with his friend Rolf Walter – and a year later conquered the previously unconquered Annapurna group.