Gosforth adventurer fell to his death during Mont Blanc trek, inquest hears

An inquest heard Simon Bates, 30, suffered multiple injuries when he fell as he descended the mountain's summit

Simon Bates, of Gosforth, who died on Mont Blanc, with partner Kelly
Simon Bates, of Gosforth, who died on Mont Blanc, with partner Kelly

An adventurer who fell from Mont Blanc after trekking to the summit died accidentally, a coroner said.

Action man Simon Bates – who had already hiked the Himalayas, leapt 12,000ft out of a plane, played roulette in Las Vegas and dived deep into the ocean – died on a lads’ adventure trip in the French Alps.

Simon was with friends on the Gouter corridor, a popular access route to Mont Blanc, when he fell on September 21 2013.

The 30-year-old, of Gosforth, Newcastle, was on holiday with eight firefighters, one of whom was his brother-in-law Adam Thackray.

The party had summitted Mont Blanc’s 15,781ft peak on the previous day.

Five of the party then climbed down and returned to the French town of Chamonix, which sits at the foot of Mont Blanc.

The other four had climbed down to a high mountain refuge, which is at an altitude of about 12,600ft, where they stayed the night on Friday and then continued their descent on Saturday morning.

Mr Bates was at an altitude of 11,155ft when he fell, suffering multiple injuries.

Assistant coroner for Newcastle Mr David Mitford returned a verdict of accidental death at an inquest heard at Newcastle Civic centre on Thursday.

Simon’s family, who did not attend the inquest, have launched the Simon Bates Foundation to keep his memory alive.

Simon’s sister Caroline paid tribute to her brother in February.

“He was gorgeous, larger than life,” said Caroline, 32, of Matfen, Northumberland.

“He jumped out of planes, went up mountains, trekked the Himalayas, dived in the oceans and bungee jumped in Australia. He did everything to the full and made sure he enjoyed doing it.

“But Si was at that stage were he was wanting to take responsibility and get married and take over the family property development business.

“But then this happened and it is hard to come to terms with that he isn’t here.

“The charity is helping us cope. It is keeping his memory alive.”

Caroline, a business manager at Ramarketing in Newcastle, added: “Si, he was a big man, 6ft 3ins, size 13 shoes, big hands, a huge heart, an almighty laugh, and what seemed like a never-ending appetite for love and for life.

“He was dedicated to his family, his friends and to making a difference to others.

“It’s hard to believe that one misplaced step could cost Si his future, so to honour such a wonderful life the Simon Bates Foundation was initiated by his family and friends to help continue his passion for empowering others and bettering lives.”

Simon was originally from Ponteland, Northumberland, where his parents, Ray and Maureen, still live. He was living with girlfriend Kelly Hendry, 32, and her six-year-old son Elijah in Gosforth, Newcastle.

Anyone wanting to donate to the Simon Bates Foundation visit www.simonbatesfoundation.com


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer