A FORMER Sunderland Polytechnic graduate was among the nine people who died in an avalanche in the French Alps.
Roger Payne (pictured), one of the UK’s most respected climbers, was also president of the Mountaineering Club at the polytechnic, which is now Sunderland University.
He had taken on various routes in the Alps every year since 1977.
The former general secretary of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) was killed as a group climbed Mont Maudit – Cursed Mountain – near Chamonix.
Dave Turnbull, current chief executive of the BMC, today paid tribute to Mr Payne.
He said: “Roger was one of the UK’s most enthusiastic and respected climbers, with a track record of Alpine and Himalayan mountaineering stretching back to the 1980s.”
Mr Payne, who was also a former president of the British Mountain Guides, was originally from Hammersmith in West London, but is believed to have lived in Leysin, Switzerland.
Mr Payne was part of a group of 28 which left a climbing hut to attempt the route, described by guides as the second most popular to the top of Mont Blanc.