David Breashears

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David Breashears

David Breashears (born December 20, 1955[citation needed]) is an American mountaineer, filmmaker, author, and motivational speaker.[1] In 1985, he reached the summit of Mount Everest a second time, becoming the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest more than once. He is perhaps most famous for guiding Richard Bass to the summit of Everest, thus completing Bass's ascent of the Seven Summits (the highest summit on each of the seven continents).[citation needed]


Mountaineering, filmmaking, and photography[edit]

In 1983, Breashears transmitted the first live pictures from the summit of Mount Everest, and in 1985, he became the first American to reach its summit more than once. Breashears has made eight expeditions to Everest, reaching the summit five times.[citation needed] He has also climbed to the summit of 24,494 ft (7,466 m) Ama Dablam in the Himalayas, and is known in climbing circles for having free climbed some of the most technically challenging rock walls in Colorado, as a young man.[citation needed]

He has also worked on feature films including Cliffhanger (1993) and Seven Years in Tibet (1997), as well as on documentaries, such as the award-winning TV documentary Red Flag over Tibet (October 20, 1989).[2] He has received four Emmy awards for achievement in cinematography.

Combining his interests and skills in climbing, filmmaking, and photography, he co-directed, photographed, and co-produced the acclaimed IMAX film Everest (1998), and contributed still photos to the best selling book Everest: Mountain Without Mercy (1977).[3] He also directed and produced the Nova television program, Everest: The Death Zone (1998), in which he and fellow mountaineer Ed Viesturs climbed Everest while undergoing physical and mental tests to record the effects of altitude on humans.[4] Additionally, Breashears directed the IMAX film Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa (2000) for the National Geographic Society, which documented the climbing of the world's largest freestanding mountain in Tanzania by an expedition of seven climbers.[5]

Breashears' documentary film, Storm Over Everest (May 13, 2008),[6] shown on PBS Frontline, features photography on the mountain, interviews with survivors of the three climbing teams that were caught in the 1996 storm, and music composed by Jocelyn Pook. During the filming of the documentary in 2006, Breashears summitted Everest once again, for a fifth time. He also documented his personal reactions to climbing Everest again, while filming the Nova documentary, in "Epilogue to the 1996 Everest disaster".[7]

He continues to actively pursue Himalayan climbing, lecturing around the world, and working on new film projects.[citation needed]


He is the author of several books, including an autobiography, High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places (1999).[8]

He also wrote the article, "Every Man For Himself?", published in American Alpine Journal (1988).[9]

Work with organizations[edit]

Breashears is a director of Destination Himalaya, a travel firm specializing in adventure travel to Himalayan countries.[10]

In 2007, Breashears founded GlacierWorks, a non-profit company that uses science, art, and adventure to raise awareness about climate change in the Greater Himalaya.[11]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to fellow adventurer Veronique Choa in the late 1980s. They have since divorced, and Breashears lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts when not climbing.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Motivational Speaker: David F. Breashears". 
  2. ^ Red Flag Over Tibet. October 20, 1989. 
  3. ^ Coburn, Broughton. Everest: Mountain Without Mercy (First ed.). National Geographic Society. ASIN B008YFBVK6. 
  4. ^ Everest: The Death Zone. IMDb. 1998. 
  5. ^ "Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa". IMDB. Retrieved May 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ Storm over Everest. PBS. May 13, 2008. 
  7. ^ Breashears, David. "Epilogue to the 1996 Everest disaster". Nova (PBS). 
  8. ^ Breashears, David (1999). High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-85361-2. 
  9. ^ Breashears, David (1988). "Every Man For Himself?". American Alpine Journal (New York, NY USA: American Alpine Club) 30 (62): 58–59. ISBN 0-930410-33-5. 
  10. ^ "Breashears, Director". Destination Himalaya. 
  11. ^ "GlacierWorksfficial website". GlacierWorks.org. 

External links[edit]