Provided by the Christensen Family
Federico Campanini, 31, was killed while hiking Argentina's Mount Aconcagua, which was hit by a snowstorm.

The family of the Utah man who died recently while guiding a group on an expedition on Mount Aconcagua in Argentina is doing all they can to cope with the tragic loss of their beloved family member.

Federico Campanini, 31, was one of two people killed while hiking the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere that was hit by a treacherous snowstorm that caused terrible conditions for the group.

"He had so much love for life and zest, he was just a great man," said Anne Christensen, Campanini's mother in-law. "Everybody loved him and he changed our lives."

Campanini was an experienced tour guide who regularly hiked that mountain and had hiked Mount Rainier 17 times.

Christensen said the storm last week was unexpected and came abruptly, but the group was able to walk in circles to help stay warm. However, as the group was descending the mountain in the storm, one of the women in the group slipped and fell in a crevasse and was stuck underneath a large chunk of ice. Campanini left the group and climbed down into the crevasse and tried to pull the ice off of her.

The rescue attempt in the terrible storm was too much for Campanini and he died from heart-related problems and hypothermia.

"It took everything he had," Christensen said. "He cared so much and it cost him his life. Most mountain guides in that situation would not have gone down to try and save a person."

Three members of the group were rescued from the mountain, while an Italian woman died along with Campanini.

Campanini, who was born in Mendoza, Argentina, moved to Utah three years ago after marrying his wife Amber. The two met when she was in South America on a tour he was guiding. The two fell in love, were married and he followed her to back to Utah. They have been residing in the Sugarhouse area ever since.

His widow has now traveled to Argentina in an attempt to claim Federico's body. Because of the storm and treacherous area where the body is located, they are unsure if they will be able to bring it down the mountain. They are working on hiring a private company to bring the body down. An account under the name Amber C. Campanini has been set up at Wells Fargo where people can donate to help the family reclaim the body.

E-mail: ethomas@desnews.com