Body of Lonely Planet writer found on Chinese mountain
3:37PM Wednesday July 25, 2007
SYDNEY- One of Lonely Planet's most experienced travel writers, Clem Lindenmayer, has been found dead on a Chinese mountainside, three months after he was reported missing.
Mr Lindenmayer, 47, had set out to climb Mount Gongga, in a remote area of south-west China, telling his family that he expected to complete a circuit in six days.
When they failed to hear from him, his relatives posted messages on travellers' websites.
China's official Xinhua news agency reported that villagers found his body last Thursday.
The Australian-born writer had been based in Switzerland "on and off" for nearly 20 years, according to Lonely Planet.
He was not on assignment for the guide book publisher in China, but the company had said that it was aware of the situation and was in touch with his family.
Mr Lindenmayer, author of Trekking in the Patagonian Andes, published in 2003, and Walking in Switzerland, was a highly experienced hiker who had undertaken many similar treks.
His family last heard from him on May 2, when he emailed his wife from Kangding to tell her that he was preparing to hike around the nearby mountain range, in Sichuan province.
Mount Gongga, also known as Minya Konka, is the highest in the area, with more than 20 peaks above 6,000m and a 7,556m-high summit.
The mountain range, situated in a rugged region that was once part of Tibet, is said to be notoriously dangerous for climbers.
More than 20 people have died trying to scale Mount Gongga since 1957, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Only twenty-four have reached the peak.
Mr Lindenmayer's family became alarmed when they had not heard from him by the end of May.
One of his relatives posted a missing notice on Thorn Tree, a Lonely Planet internet forum.
She described him as "a 47-year-old, very fit Australian male with a ready smile", and "a seasoned traveller with many years trekking experience".
As fears grew for his safety, the family offered a reward for information that could help locate him.
It was advertised on numerous websites.
Early last month his brother, Peter, and nephew, Tim, left Australia for China, to conduct their own search for him.
His father, Graeme, said: "He was going to go for a walk for about six days around the mountain ..
he was just going to do what was a pretty standard hike." He added: "It's known to be a trip where you need experience and common sense before you undertake it. This area is an extension of the Himalayas."
According to Xinhua, rescuers searching for Mr Lindenmayer had earlier found a body believed to be that of a Japanese mountaineer who disappeared 26 years ago.
Mr Lindenmayer, who was from Melbourne and spoke Mandarin, German and Spanish, had written for Lonely Planet for more than a decade.
In addition to the two books that he researched and wrote, he had helped to update guides to China, Malaysia, Germany and Sweden.
Lonely Planet said he had "developed a special affection for the Swiss Alps".
His mother told Australian Associated Press that she had been told of the discovery of his body - at Riwuqie Peak, 4,600m above sea level - last weekend.
The ABC reported that he would be cremated on the mountain where he was found, and his ashes brought back to Australia.