Rescue of Japanese on Mont Blanc foiled by bad weather

AFP-JIJI

Bad weather Friday prevented French efforts to locate a 35-year-old Japanese climber who requested help while descending Mont Blanc, a local rescue service said.

“There was no weather window this morning and there probably won’t be today,” an official said of the conditions on 4,810-meter (15,780-foot) Mont Blanc.

The service posted an appeal on its Facebook page Thursday for help finding Hironobu Shimosawa, who set out on his own on Monday to scale western Europe’s highest peak.

No one has seen Shimosawa since Monday, according to PGHM rescue service, based in the French Alpine town of Chamonix.

On Wednesday, he sent an instant message over Facebook to a friend in Japan who in turn telephoned PGHM, saying Shimosawa had reached the summit but needed help with his descent.

PGHM said he could have descended more than 1,000 meters since then.

PGHM head Patrice Ribes said Thursday that Shimosawa “could survive several days” if he found shelter and had enough water.