Climber loses hands and feet

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The Independent Online
A CLIMBER who was rescued after a five-day ordeal in the French Alps has had both his hands and feet amputated, his father said yesterday.

Jamie Andrew, 29, suffered severe frostbite after being stranded at 13,000ft on the Mont Blanc range at Chamonix. His friend Jamie Fisher froze to death.

His father, Howard, said: "My son has regrettably had to have both feet and both hands amputated. Surgeons tried desperately to save one hand, but were unable to do so."

The climber hopes to return to Britain next week. It is expected that he will be transferred to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Mr Andrew, of Glasgow, his wife, Catherine, and their son's girlfriend, Anna Wyatt, are in France to be with Jamie.

Climbing experts said at the time that the severe frostbite he suffered could result in amputation.

Jamie Andrew and Mr Fisher, of Edinburgh, had been attempting to climb Les Droites near Mont Blanc when they became trapped on an icy ridge where temperatures fell as low as minus 60 degrees at the end of January.

After his rescue, Mr Andrew recalled how his friend froze to death next to him as during the long ordeal. He said: "The one thing that kept us going was our friendship. We buoyed each other up.

"On several occasions we had to keep each other going to survive. Sadly, only I made it."

The tragedy was one of several to hit France's mountain ranges recently, exacerbated by record snowfalls. In the past four weeks avalanches have claimed the lives of 18 people. They include the worst avalanche in living memory which struck Montroc in the Chamonix valley, killing 12.

The avalanches haveprompted a clampdown by French authorities on off- piste skiing. Three British skiers will appear in court on Monday charged with "endangering others" by skiing on a closed slope.