Famed Everest Documentarian David Breashears Dies at 68

The mountaineering community has lost a luminary.

David Breashears died at 68 on March 14 at his home in Massachusetts, Outside reported. Friends said he died of natural causes, and his family submitted a statement to the outlet.

It is with great sadness that we share the news that our beloved David passed (of natural causes) this morning. He was a brother, father, friend, colleague and a caring, passionate advocate of adventure, exploration and the health of our planet. We are heartbroken by this loss and respectfully request privacy at this difficult time.

A venerated climber and photographer, Breashears earned his best-known success as the director of the 1998 IMAX film Everest.

His relationship with the mountain proved enduring. He first summitted Everest in 1983 and claimed its first repeat ascent by an American in 1985. His rescue efforts in the 1996 Everest disaster (which informed the 2008 Frontline documentary Storm Over Everest) highlighted his contributions to climbing.

In all, Breashears summitted world’s tallest peak five times.

Along with numerous documentaries, Breashears’ film credits included Cliffhanger, Seven Years in Tibet, and even David Lee Roth’s Just Like Paradise music video (which featured the famous Yosemite route Heaven).

His nonprofit, GlacierWorks, uses science, art, and storytelling to highlight climate change in the Himalaya.

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.