Prominent mountaineer mourned in Britain
LONDON (AP) -- He is being remembered as one of a long line of brave British mountaineers, an intrepid climber who traveled the world in search of fresh challenges and higher peaks.
The death of Roger Payne and two other Britons in a French avalanche has shaken Britain's climbing community, which has lost one of its best known and most accomplished members.
A conqueror of mountains on many continents, Payne had served as general secretary of the British Mountaineering Council, which promotes safety training and expeditions. He was also a past president of British Mountain Guides and gave courses in how to survive avalanches.
Dave Turnbull, current chief of the mountaineering council, said Payne, 55, had been known for his energy and concern for safe practices.
"Roger was one of the UK's most enthusiastic and respected climbers with a track record of Alpine and Himalayan mountaineering stretching back to the 1980s," he said.
British officials Friday named the other Britons who perished as John Taylor and Steve Barber. They were among nine who died in the avalanche in the high Alpine region of France.
Payne first developed an interest in climbing through the Scouts when he was a boy in the west London neighborhood of Hammersmith and honed his skills climbing hills in Scotland and taking part in rock climbing trips to remote parts of England and Wales.
He and his wife Julie-Ann, also a skilled mountaineer, made a number of groundbreaking expeditions. He is remembered for making four first ascents and more than 20 challenging climbs of peaks in Asia, North America and South America.
Payne has also drawn praise for combining his climbing expeditions with programs to bring development and infrastructure improvements to remote villages, working in conjunction with the United Nations Environmental Program and other agencies.
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