Legendary Swiss Alpinist Climbs His Last Mountain

Marcel Remy, father of celebrated climbing brothers Yves and Claude Remy and a living legend in his own right, has died.

Remy was 99.

marcel remy

With his son, Claude (right), in 2017. Photo: Mammut


The so-called “Patriarch of the Cime” became increasingly beloved throughout the decades, as he kept climbing and seemed to retain psych regardless of age. He climbed well into his 90s, thanks to what Italian alpinist Alessandro Filippini called “an inexhaustible passion for the mountains”.

Early reports suggest he died peacefully in his sleep, late on July 10 or early on the 11th.

Remy was born on Feb. 6, 1923, in Gruyère, Switzerland. Decades of climbing helped make him a household name and raise two highly prolific first ascensionists. He married his wife by age 30.

Marcel Remy

Young Marcel Remy climbing (left) and courting his wife (right), always at home in the mountains


But he attained worldwide acclaim for his recent persistence as a nonagenarian.

In 2017 at 94, he delighted and amazed the climbing world by successfully tackling the Vaud Alps’ Miroir de l’Argentine (5c, 450 metres). Alongside his sons, he gamely summited the 2,421m formation for what he estimated was his “200, 220, or 240th” time.

“I can’t figure out people who don’t understand that at my age, you can still be active,” Remy said in Mammut’s video chronicle of the climb. “I just don’t get it.”

Remy celebrated his 99th birthday this February by leading a 4c at the gym. In the meantime, all signs indicate he remained active. “With the good fortune that I have, I need to train regularly in order to keep my body and mind fit,” he said at the time.

marcel remy

Photo: Hannes Tell


In what would be his final year, he also participated in the making of a yet-to-be-released documentary about his life.

Climb on, Marcel Remy. You are loved.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.