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

Ucluelet gets ready to celebrate Ukee Days

“There is nowhere that does an event quite like Ukee Days.”

Florencia beach clean near Tofino draws awesome crowd

Visitors from as far as Hawaii, Philippines, and Venezuela pitch in at Surfrider event.

West Coast leaders fear orca habitat protection could bring fishery closures

Ucluelet demands extension to DFO consultation process

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Through your lens: Okanagan wildfires

Check out some of the captivating images and video from social media of the wildfires

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

UPDATED: ICBC fights back against claims that it’s ‘ripping off’ B.C. RV drivers

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

A brother’s determination pushes B.C. cyclist to ride 2,500 km for heart care

#Cunnycan: Ryan Cunningham ‘pushing the envelope’ to support brother Craig’s foundation

B.C. hockey coach, nurse was killed in case of mistaken identity, police say

In Surrey, Paul Bennett’s wife makes a tearful plea for help in finding her husband’s killer

Lower Mainland blueberry farms expect solid season

Blueberry Council of B.C. says season will be better than last year

Most Read