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 takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.