One of the UK's most respected climbers who died alongside eight others in an avalanche in the French Alps was a former student at Sunderland Polytechnic.
Roger Payne was also president of the Mountaineering Club at the polytechnic, which is now the University of Sunderland.
Mr Payne was a vastly experienced avalanche instructor and former general secretary of the British Mountaineering Council.
He had climbed routes in the Alps every year from 1977.
The climbers, including two other Britons named as Steve Barber and John Taylor, were killed as they traversed Mont Maudit - translated as Cursed Mountain - in the Mont Blanc range near Chamonix.
A spokesperson for the University of Sunderland said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news that one of our graduates has died in such tragic circumstances and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Roger’s family at this very difficult time.
“Roger studied a primary education degree between 1979 and 1983, when the University was still a Polytechnic.
"Alongside his academic studies, he was interested in sporting activities and became president of the Sunderland Polytechnic Mountaineering Club between 1980 and 1983.”
Dave Turnbull, the current chief executive of the BMC, said the mountaineering world was "shocked and saddened".
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 Guide, was originally from Hammersmith in West London, but reportedly lived in Leysin, Switzerland, with New Zealand-born wife Julie-Ann Clyma, who is also an experienced mountaineer.
In a distinguished list of achievements, the couple became the first to make it to the summit of Mount Grovesnor in China in 2003.
Two other Britons - including climber Dave Compton - were reported missing following the avalanche, but were confirmed safe and well after presenting themselves to police in Chamonix.
As well as Mr Payne and the two other Britons who are yet to be named, the avalanche claimed the lives of two Spaniards, three Germans and one Swiss, according to the Prefecture de la Haute-Savoie.
They all were part of a 28-strong group which left a climbing hut to attempt the route, described by local guides the second most popular to the top of Mont Blanc, following a 1am breakfast.
The group included independent climbers and others supervised by professional mountaineering guides.
At around 5.20am, French authorities received reports that a 'slab' avalanche had hit several groups of mountaineers who were roped together on the northern face of Mont Maudit at 13,123ft or 4,000m.
Several dozen gendarmes and other rescuers along with two helicopters were sent to the scene to pull the dead and injured from the mountain. Nine people were taken to hospital in Sallanches with minor injuries.
The prefecture said some climbers had crossed the path of the avalanche before it hit and others were able to turn back.
Describing the sequence of events, it said block of ice 16in or 40cm thick broke off and slid down the slope, creating a mass of snow that was 6ft or 2m deep and 328ft or 100m long.
Regional authorities believe the avalanche may have been triggered by a climber accidentally snapping off a slab of ice on the mountain.
The Mont Blanc massif is a popular area for climbers, hikers and tourists but a dangerous one, with dozens dying on it each year.
Climbers had been warned to be careful earlier this summer because of an unusually snowy spring, while recent storms had apparently left dangerous overhanging conditions on some of the popular climbing routes around Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe.
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