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

Salmon Arm RCMP seeking car involved in hit and run

Small blue car struck a young man near Okanagan Avenue and 20 Street Monday

Shuswap homing pigeon in need of new abode

Carrier pigeon wearing outdated identification band takes up residence in Yankee Flats

Dog control ramping up on Okanagan Rail Trail

RDNO taking extra precautions to ensure dogs remain on leash

Phone scam uses false RCMP ID on call display

North Okanagan RCMP say there are applications that allow people to change, hide call display info

Fears that speculation tax, if imposed, could kill Shuswap tourism

Regional district directors wrestle with concern of seasonal residents leaving the area

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

Okanagan College student population climbs

Enrolment up nearly 14 per cent

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Coldstream supports Okanagan College Campus residence project

Project would see a 100-bed residence on the Vernon campus in Coldstream

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Okanagan show supports youth mental health, suicide prevention

Robb Nash will be performing Oct. 2 and 3 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre

Most Read