Top mountaineer dies during climb

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The famed Swiss mountaineer, Erhard Loretan – one of the few people to reach the summits of all 14 of the world's peaks above 8,000m – has died during a climb on his 52nd birthday.

Swiss police said Mr Loretan died as he was leading a client up the summit ridge of the Gruenhorn in the Bernese Alps around midday on Thursday. The pair had skied up part-way, then roped up for the final ascent.

They fell at 3,800m up the 4,043m peak. Mr Loretan died at the scene. His 38-year-old Swiss client was flown to hospital in a serious condition. Police are still investigating the accident. Mr Loretan began climbing at age 11. He climbed his first 8,000m peak, Pakistan's Nanga Parbat, in 1982. It took him 13 years to make it up the other 13 highest peaks. His 1986 ascent of Everest, without oxygen and at night stunned the alpine climbing world.