American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Bernard Pierre, 1920-1997

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

BERNARD PIERRE 1920-1997

Bernard Pierre was bom in Chelles, France, became a doctor of law and a graduate of the School of Political Science, and became head of the family textile business. From his earliest years, he devoted his leisure time to mountaineering and to writing.

With Gaston Rebuffat, he made several classic ascents in the Alps, including the North Face of the Drus, the Northwest Face of La Civetta, the second ascent of the Northeast Face of Piz Badille, and the second ascent of the Black Needle de Penterey. In addition, he shared leads on the first ascents of the North Arête of the Aiguille des Aigles and the face of the Aiguille de la Brenva. In 1951, he visited the Hoggar in North Africa and made several first ascents there. In 1952, he and three French colleagues joined four AAC members in Peru and made the first ascent of Salcantay (6271m).

In 1953, he led an expedition to Nun Kun, the second-highest peak in Kashmir (7135m), on which Pierre Vittoz and Claude Kogan reached the summit. In 1954, he led a Franco- Iranian expedition to Iran to make the first ascent of Demavend. He led expeditions to the Mountains of the Moon in Ruwenzori (1955-’56,) the Caucasus (1958), and Hoggar (1961). Pierre’s career as a writer was extraordinary. His first book, on synthetic textiles, was honored by the Institute de France. His mountaineering writings include books about his own expeditions (Escalades au Hoggar, Salcantay, Geant des Andes; Une Montagne Nomee Nun Kun; Une Victoire sur l’Himalaya; Montagnes de la Lune; Mes Galons d’Alpiniste; Une Victorie sur les Andes; and Ils ont Conquis l ’Himalaya), books written in collaboration with others (Face a l’Everest, with Eric Shipton; Escalades et Randonees au Hoggar, with Claude Aulard), and several books for young readers. In addition, he produced some lovingly written books about the great rivers of the world (Le Roman du Nil; Le Roman du Mississippi; ...Danube;...Gange; ...Loire). He received a number of literary prizes, and his books have often been translated into other languages.

Pierre became a member of the Groupe de la Haute Montagne in 1949. He became a member of the AAC in 1953, and Honorary Member in 1991.

George I. Bell, Sr., W.V. Graham Matthews, and David Harrah

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