In early August 2023, two mountaineers discovered human remains on the Chessjen glacier near Saas Fee. However, the identity of the individual was unknown until DNA test results provided an answer.
Forensic analysis was done at a hospital in Valais. The work involved an investigation of unfound missing persons. An examination of the bones further narrowed the list of possible individuals. Then a DNA sample was collected from a relative of the most likely individual.
The Swiss authorities were assisted by the authorities in Scotland and Manchester in the United Kingdom to locate living relatives. Together they were able to identify one and obtain a DNA sample.
A direct DNA match was then made between that of the relative and DNA taken from bone remains allowing the individual to be identified. The remains belong to a British climber who went missing in 1971 at the end of July and who could not be found at the time. The formal identification was done on 30 August 2023.
In July 2023, a German climber was found 37 years after disappearing near Zermatt. Rising temperatures and the downward flow of glacial ice are likely to continue to reveal long lost climbers.