Climber died after Month Blanc 'rock fall'

11 November 2010, 16:52 | Updated: 11 November 2010, 17:15

A 20-year-old woman from Northamptonshire died alongside her climbing partner when they apparently fell after a rock slide on Mont Blanc, an inquest has heard.

Mountaineering enthusiast Emma Wright was climbing the peak near Chamonix, France, when she plummeted to her death on July 5.

The inquest at Kettering Magistrates' Court heard the 20-year-old, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, was climbing with three other enthusiasts and a partner with 15 years experience.

But the pair both died after a fall believed to have been caused by a rock slide, the inquest was told. A post-mortem examination carried out after Miss Wright's body was repatriated gave a cause of death as severe head and back injuries.

Northamptonshire coroner Anne Pember said the pathologist said the limited amount of bleeding meant death had probably occurred instantly without suffering.

In a statement read to the court Miss Wright's stepfather Glenn Lennie said she was a fit and active person, keen to try new activities. He said she secured a job with the Benmore Centre for Outdoor Education in Argyll, Scotland, where she trained to teach people to climb, canoe and cave.

He said: ``She was training to be a mountain leader, which would allow her to take inexperienced people on mountain climbs. In order to become a mountain leader she had to complete a logbook of mountains she had climbed. As with most things she took to this task with huge enthusiasm.''

Mr Lennie said Miss Wright went on to get a job at St Anne's School in Windermere, where she was offered a full-time job. He added: ``Prior to accepting the full-time position Emma decided to go on holiday to allow herself some time to contemplate her future,'' he said. ``On July 1 this year she went to the Chamonix region of France to participate in a climbing holiday with three other mountaineering enthusiasts.''

He said she was paired with a man called Tim Ballard, believed to be from South Wales, who had 15 years climbing experience. The group started their ascent on July 4, with the trip due to take four days, the inquest heard. But on July 5 Miss Wright's family were visited by a Northamptonshire police officer who told them she had died.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Anne Pember said Miss Wright had died ``doing what I am sure she absolutely loved''.