07/10/2014 at 05:00 PM EDT
More than three decades of questions regarding the fate of a missing young mountain climber have finally been answered.
Two mountain climbers scaling the Mont Blanc range in the French Alps on July 3 came upon the remains of Patrice Hyvert, a 23-year-old aspiring French mountain guide who disappeared 32 years ago. His body was found in a glacier about halfway up the mountain, completely preserved in ice, local newspaper Dauphiné Libéré and other media reported.
Investigators were able to confirm his identity – and even found his ID in his wallet.
On March 1, 1982, Hyvert began a solo trek up Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. He planned to reach the 13,500-foot-high summit before skiing down the face of the mountain. It had been an unusually mild season, and it seemed like Hyvert would have an uncomplicated climb.
But he never reached the zenith. Just hours after he embarked on the challenge, the weather abruptly changed. Heavy snowfall and pounding winds obscured his path. He was never heard from again, and for more than three decades, his family was haunted by his disappearance.
The discovery of Hyvert shocked and dismayed his 82-year-old father, Gerard.
"I would have preferred him to stay up there," he told France's RTL radio this week. "He was better on a mountain than in a coffin. He was in his element."