In total, René Claret-Tournier climbed 254,771 metres of vertical terrain on Mont Blanc over 530 ascents.
He was born in 1917, his father Michel Gabriel Paccard was one of the first climbers to the top Mont Blanc in 1786. And his grandfather Edouard was one of the first guides to bring paying clients to the summit.
Claret-Tournier served in the military and was captured by the advancing German front and was held prisoner until 1945. During his imprisonment, Claret-Tour learned how to speak German.
When he returned to the Chamonix in 1945 he was the only guide that could speak the language, which made him one of the most sought-after guides.
“The Mont Blanc is two days of climbing, many guides wanted to go home after the summit,” said Claret-Tournier.
“I could stay up there all week, I would base myself in the Tête Rousse refuge and guide four Mont Blanc’s during one week.”
His last ascent of Western Europe’s highest peak was when he was 75.
The iconic Chamonix legend passed away in 2013 at the age of 96 due to what he called, “The Mont Blanc disease, skin cancer.”