Acclaimed Ice Climber Stéphane Husson Falls to Death Whilst Guiding Group of Teenagers

Steven Agar | ClimbingClimbing
climber, falls to death
Stéphane Husson. Photo: Philippe Poulet

Stéphane Husson, a 47-year-old French mountain guide, and climber died last week after a fall in Beaufort, France. On June 20, he was guiding a group of around 20 teenagers during an event put together by the French Alpine Club of Albertville, when he and one of the teenagers, aged 16, fell 65-feet from the top of the crag. The pair were roped together. Husson was taken to a hospital in Grenoble in critical condition and died the next day. The 16-year-old, whose identity has not been made public, also passed away, dying on site before help arrived. The circumstances surrounding the fall are still under investigation, reports Rock and Ice.

Husson’s childhood friend and fellow climber Arnaud Petit told Rock and Ice by email:

“Stéphane was my age and we were at school together most our time. We both started climbing very young (7). At the time French Free was the game, but as soon as we were 13 we were going by bicycle and equipped as much rock as we could, hand drill first, around Albertville. It was funny that it was 2 teenagers that were creating the new spots. We learned by ourselves, and I have to say we were quite safe on the rock.”

climber, falls to death
Ben Rueck on a repeat free ascent of Delicatessen, Corsica, belayed by Delaney Miller. Delicatessen was established by Husson and Arnaud Petit. Credit: Jeff Rueppel

Husson was a powerhouse in the ice climbing competition circuit in the early 2000s. The Frenchman placed second in two Ice Climbing World Championships, in 2001 and 2002. He also won the 6th Festiglace du Québec in 2003. He also made the first ascent of the classic Delicatessen, with Petit, in 1992. The 400-foot multi-pitch, in Corsica, contains difficulties up to 8b (5.13d). It has seldom been repeated.

climber, falls to death
Arnaud Petit on the first ascent of Delicatessen, 1992. Credit: Stéphane Husson

Husson was not only active as an athlete, but also as an emissary of the sport. He was instrumental in creating the first tower for ice climbing in Champagny-en-Vanoise, France. “It was he who started climbing competition ice in France,” said his friend Damion Souvy in a La Savoie article. “It is with him that was born the first team in France. He liked to discover climbing, to train the next generation.”

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