Inquest opens into the deaths of two Yorkshire climbers in Alps avalanche

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AN INQUEST has opened into the deaths of two Yorkshire climbers killed in an avalanche on the French Alps while taking part in an expedition to raise funds for charity.

Steve Barber and John Taylor died early on Thursday last week when a group of mountaineers were hit by a wall of snow as they traversed a peak known as Cursed Mountain, in the Mont Blanc range near Chamonix.

The bodies of the two men, who lived in the same street in the village of Upper Poppleton, near York, were repatriated earlier this week and yesterday an inquest into their deaths was opened and adjourned at Sentinel House in York.

Mr Barber and Mr Taylor, who both had children at Poppleton Ousebank Primary School, had been climbing in aid of St Leonard’s Hospice in York.

A third British man who lost his life after being caught in the avalanche was Roger Payne, one of the UK’s most respected climbers and the former general secretary of the British Mountaineering Council.

In all, nine climbers were killed as they traversed the mountain, including three Germans, two Spaniards and one Swiss climber.

Mr Barber, 47, was attempting to climb Mont Blanc for the first time. He leaves behind long-term partner Donna Rogers, and daughter Francesca, 10.

Mr Taylor, 48, leaves behind his wife Karine, and daughters Emma, 10, and eight-year-old Louise.