The married 41-year-old man from Yorkshire was climbing alone on the Matterhorn in Switzerland when the accident happened, on Monday afternoon.
He was properly equipped with crampons and an ice pick, but had not followed local safety guidelines by registering and leaving his passport at a climbers' hut on the 14,000ft mountain.
It is thought he slipped and fell. He was spotted by a Portuguese kichen worker at the Hurnle Hut climbers' lodge, half a mile away.
Kurt Lauber, who runs the Zermatt Mountain Rescue, said: "We had a doctor on standby at the hut but it was not necessary to take the man to see him. When someone falls that sort of distance, there is nothing you can do."
The Foreign Office said the man was not being named yesterday "in deference to his wife's wishes". Arrangements were being made to bring his body back to Britain.
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