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. budget committee calls for more Haida Gwaii ferry sailings

A special committee of B.C. MLAs wants the province to fund more… Continue reading

Gwaii Haanas celebrates new Land-Sea-People plan

Forty per cent of Gwaii Haanas marine areas protected under new, integrated plan

Tlellians show support for oceanside “glamping” resort

The Haida Gwaii Glamping Company made a compelling pitch in Tlell last… Continue reading

Choppy weather delays Haida Gwaii/Prince Rupert ferry

The Northern Expedition is delayed until further notice.

Get on it folks, says local MLA as referendum deadline nears

Haida Gwaii post offices got a small flurry of yellow referendum ballots… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

B.C. police watchdog calls for investigation into police board spending on former Victoria police chief

Police Complaint Commissioner says accountable and transparent review is in public interest

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services.

E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Trump defies calls to punish crown prince for writer’s death

The U.S. earlier sanctioned 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the Oct. 2 killing, but members of Congress have called for harsher actions, including cancelling arms sales.

British, EU leaders to meet as Brexit deadline looms

The U.K. and the European Union agreed last week on a 585-page document sealing the terms of Britain’s departure.

Richard Oland was killed ‘in a rage,’ prosecutor tells son’s murder trial

The verdict from Oland’s 2015 murder trial was set aside on appeal in 2016. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

B.C.’s HMCS Edmonton rescues two more sea turtles

Warship credited with a turtle rescue earlier in November

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Most Read