PIONEERING documentary-maker and world-renowned climber David Breashears has passed away at his home in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

David Breashears: Pioneering filmmaker who scaled Everest five times passes away aged 68

PIONEERING documentary-maker and world-renowned climber David Breashears has passed away at his home in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Breashears, 68, was considered one of the greatest mountaineers of his generation, becoming – in 1985 – the first American to scale Everest more than once, two years after becoming the first person to transmit a live broadcast at the summit.

He was the force behind the 1998 film ‘Everest‘ which went on to become the highest-grossing IMAX feature ever made. Breashears was considered so good at his craft that he was brought in to work on two Hollywood movies – Cliffhanger and Seven Years In Tibet.

Often overlooked as a skilled climber due to his remarkable ability behind a camera, in mountaineering circles he was regarded as a brilliant climber first, and respected filmmaker second.

His association with Everest was viewed almost as a bond between a man and a mountain, as he described in an interview with PBS.

“Mount Everest holds a special place in our imagination, and much of that uniqueness is what we give to the mountain,” he explained.

“Climbing Everest says that you have done something extraordinary, that you have stepped outside the routines of ordinary life, endured hardship and accepted a great challenge. Standing on earth’s highest peak, the romance of adventure and the glory of achievement is a way to feel separate and distinct from those around you. There is only one highest place on earth.

“The irony is that now many mountaineers and spectators feel that climbing Everest is no longer remarkable or special, making the achievement less deserving to be admired. Yet people will always be drawn to Everest, cast by its spell, whatever that spell may be for them personally.”

Breashears passing was announced by his close friends and fellow climbers Ed Viesturs, Kathy Harvard and Jed Williamson.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we share the news of David Breashears’ untimely passing. David was a beloved brother, uncle, father, friend, and colleague and a caring, impassioned advocate of adventure, exploration, and the health of our planet.

In his lifetime, David climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest five times, including an ascent with the IMAX camera in 1996. He combined his passion for climbing and photography to become one of the world’s most admired adventure filmmakers.

What fulfilled him the most – where he’d want his legacy to lie – is his non-profit organization, GlacierWorks, which he founded in 2007 to highlight the Himalayan glaciers through art, science, and adventure. 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.

We want to thank everyone for their wonderful messages of support and love for David and understand that we respectfully ask for privacy as we grieve our loss.

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