Chantal Mauduit

Chantal Mauduit

Chantal Mauduit (24 March 1964 – 13 May 1998) was a French alpinist. Born in Paris, she arrived in the French Alps at age five and started climbing at the age of 15. After several difficult routes in the Alps, she focused her attention on the Andes, and then the Himalayas, where she climbed K2 (1992; fourth woman overall, and solo climb), Shisha Pangma (1993), Cho Oyu (1993), Lhotse (1996; first woman solo), Manaslu (1996), and Gasherbrum II (1997), all without supplemental oxygen. Along with her Sherpa partner Ang Tsering, she was killed by an avalanche on Dhaulagiri on May 13, 1998 while asleep in their tent. In honor of her generosity, her friends and family created a foundation to help needy Nepalese children, especially with schooling: The Association Chantal Mauduit Namasté.


Mauduit needed to be rescued by other climbers on descent from K2 in 1992, and again after collapsing during a failed summit attempt on Mount Everest in 1995. Some climbers perceived her as ungrateful for never acknowledging the lifesaving assistance that she had been given.[1][2] She was also accused of not pulling her weight on climbing expeditions, leaving it to others to fix ropes on difficult sections of mountain or stock higher camps with food and other provisions, and then taking advantage of their work.[2]

American mountaineer Ed Viesturs also raised questions about the cause of Mauduit's death, suggesting either suffocation or carbon monoxide poisoning as other possible causes, implying that Mauduit and her sherpa were incompetent.[1] Viesturs was on Dhaulagiri at the time of Mauduit's death, but had no first hand knowledge of the situation where Mauduit died. The French autopsy concluded that the cause of death was a broken neck as a result of an ice or rock strike, and Viesturs does not formally question the autopsy's findings. Frederique Delrieu, a climbing companion of both Viesturs and Mauduit, saw Mauduit's body first-hand and confirmed that she had a broken neck.[3]


  1. ^ a b Viesturs, Ed (2006). No Shortcuts to the Top. Broadway Books. 
  2. ^ a b Jordan, Jennifer (2005). Savage Summit: The Life and Death of the First Women of K2. It Books. 
  3. ^ "Cause of Mauduit Death Confirmed". September 29, 1998. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 

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