Erhard Loretan (28 April 1959 – 28 April 2011) was a Swiss mountain climber, often described as one of the greatest mountaineers of all times.
Loretan was born in Bulle in the canton of Fribourg. He trained as a cabinet-maker (1979) and mountain guide (1981) and began his climbing career at the age of 11. He died on his 52nd birthday while climbing the Grünhorn in the Swiss Alps.
Loretan was the third person to have climbed all 14 eight-thousanders (second without oxygen), a feat he accomplished at the age of 36. He made his first expedition to the Andes in 1980 and began his conquest of the 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) peaks in 1982 with the deadly Nanga Parbat. 13 years later, in 1995, he climbed the last of them, Kangchenjunga. In 1986, together with Jean Troillet, Loretan made a revolutionary ascent of Mount Everest in only 43 hours, climbing by night and without the use of supplementary oxygen.
Loretan was convicted in 2003 of the manslaughter of his seven-month-old son, after shaking him for a short period of time to stop him crying in late 2001. He was given a four-month suspended sentence. At that time Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) was largely unknown, but he decided to disclose his name to the press in the hope that other parents might avoid a similar drama. Publicity of the case raised awareness of the danger of shaking children due to weak neck muscles.
In April 2011, Loretan and his partner Xenia Minder were undertaking the ascent of the Grünhorn when Minder slipped. The rope tying them together dragged them both down a 200m fall. Minder was airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries, but Loretan did not survive.
- "Famed Swiss climber Erhard Loretan dies in fall in Alps". BBC News. 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- "Erhard Loretan, Top Climber, Dies at 52". The New York Times. 2011-04-30. p. D7. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
- "Swiss climber's lover describes final moments before his death". BBC News. 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
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