Mount Everest filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears dead at 68

 March 17, 2024

David Breashears, a celebrated mountaineer, author, and filmmaker known for his contributions to a 1998 IMAX documentary chronicling the ascent of Mount Everest, has passed away at 68 years old, his business manager, Ellen Golbranson, confirmed on Saturday.

Breashears was discovered unresponsive at his residence in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on Thursday, Golbranson stated. While his death is attributed to natural causes, the exact circumstances remain undisclosed.

His climbing background

With an impressive record of summiting Mount Everest five times, including a pioneering expedition with an IMAX camera in 1996, Breashears earned admiration as one of the foremost adventure filmmakers globally, seamlessly blending his passion for climbing and photography.

In 2007, Breashears established GlacierWorks, a nonprofit organization dedicated to highlighting Himalayan glacier changes through artistic, scientific, and adventurous endeavors.

Utilizing his climbing expertise and photographic skills, Breashears embarked on a mission to document the profound impact of climate change on the historic mountain range.

“With GlacierWorks, he used his climbing and photography experience to create unique records revealing the dramatic effects of climate change on the historic mountain range,” his family said.

“He combined his passion for climbing and photography to become one of the world’s most admired adventure filmmakers,” the statement added.

Climbing Everest twice

Breashears made history in 1983 by transmitting the first live television images from Everest's summit and achieved another milestone in 1985 as the first U.S. citizen to summit the peak twice, according to his website.

During the filming of the Everest documentary in 1996, he and his team suspended filming to provide aid to climbers caught in the deadly blizzard of May 10, which claimed the lives of eight individuals.

Breashears's pioneering spirit and dedication to adventure filmmaking left an indelible mark on the world, inspiring countless individuals to explore the boundaries of human achievement and environmental conservation.

His legacy

His legacy extends beyond his mountaineering feats; Breashears's commitment to GlacierWorks underscored his deep concern for the preservation of fragile ecosystems and the urgent need to address climate change.

As news of Breashears's passing reverberates through the mountaineering and filmmaking communities, tributes pour in from admirers worldwide, commemorating his enduring contributions to both fields.

Despite his untimely departure, Breashears's legacy will continue to inspire future generations of adventurers and environmentalists to tackle the world's most daunting challenges with courage, resilience, and a profound appreciation for the natural world.

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