Canadian firefighter dies in fall on Pakistan’s treacherous K2 mountain

He had been leading an international mountaineering expedition when he died early Saturday

A Montreal firefighter who fell to his death on Pakistan’s treacherous K2 mountain is being remembered as a passionate mountaineer whose courage and “unwavering spirit” propelled him to ascend the world’s highest peaks.

Serge Dessureault, 53, had been leading an international mountaineering expedition when he died early Saturday while attempting to scale the 8,611-metre peak in northern Pakistan, according to Karrar Haidri, secretary of Alpine Club of Pakistan. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fall.

Yanick St-Martin, a fellow firefighter, said Dessureault had become a mentor to him after he expressed an interest in mountaineering.

He said Dessureault’s ”enormous soul” and passion always shone through, whether he was fighting fires or climbing mountains.

“He showed great pride, a great compassion towards others and the sport, and he radiated courage all around him,” St-Martin said in a phone interview from the Rocky Mountains, where he’s training to attempt to climb Mount Everest next year.

He described Dessureault, who has previously summitted Everest, as a cautious climber who always advised him above all to remain alert to danger.

“He told me to take my time, and said it was always the mountain that had the last word,” he said.

St-Martin said it wasn’t always easy to explain why a climber would want to climb K2, which is among the world’s most difficult, dangerous peaks.

“It’s surpassing yourself, accomplishment, and what we forget is the spirituality behind it,” he said. ”It’s not just conquering a mountain, it’s conquering oneself.”

Dessureault had been a captain with Montreal’s fire department since 1990, according to the city’s firefighters’ association.

“The shock is all the greater among the firefighters since Serge was known to be an experienced mountain climber, very cautious, always aware of the possible risks at all times and never taking any unnecessary risk,” president Chris Ross said in a statement.

READ MORE: B.C. travel vloggers ID’ed as three hikers who died at Shannon Falls

The Montreal Fire Department also issued a statement praising the 28-year veteran as a “firefighter who was fully committed to serving the Montreal community.”

The department said it would offer support to Dessureault’s family, including his wife and children.

A Facebook page following the climb of Dessureault and two other climbers said Dessureault “took a fall near camp 2 at 6,700 metres” early Saturday.

Dessureault had been leading the nine-member “K2-Broad Peak” expedition up the mountain, which is extremely steep and attracts notoriously bad weather.

Claude Beausejour, whose brother Maurice Beausejour was with Dessureault on the mountain, told The Canadian Press in a phone interview that the other climbers were planning to end the expedition and return home.

“Both of them, my brother and Serge, are people who are very, very careful and they take no unnecessary risks. They calculate things well, they are excessively intelligent beings and they understand what they do and they are very careful,” he said, adding he did not yet know exactly what happened to cause the fall.

—with files by The Associated Press

Morgan Lowrie , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Lemon Creek fuel truck driver gets $20,000 fine

Danny LaSante was sentenced in Nelson court today

LVR presents tense jury room drama

12 Angry Jurors runs Feb. 28 to March 3 in a unique venue, directed by Robyn Sheppard

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could say the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Most Read