Great mourning in the world of ski mountaineering and that of the mountain in general: on Sunday 06/17/2012 the 41-year-old ski mountaineering champion StÃ©phane Brosse died of the consequences of a ledge collapse on the Aiguille ArgentiÃ¨re (Mont Blanc).
StÃ©phane Brosse was a ski mountaineering champion. He had won the World Championship three times, as well as countless other races. A true emblem of this sport. A symbol that left us when he was involved in one of his projects: the crossing of Mont Blanc, these two days from France to Switzerland, from Contamines Montjoie to Champex, in the company of Catalan champion Kilian Jornet Burgada. It all happened yesterday morning at the top of the Aiguille d’ArgentiÃ¨re in the Mont Blanc range that the mountaineer loved so much. The numerous reports which followed the tragic accident speak of a collapsed ledge and a fall of 600 m which proved fatal to one of the undisputed kings of ski mountaineering.
StÃ©phane Brosse was born on April 28, 1972 in Pont-de-Beauvoisin in Savoie. The 41-year-old was without doubt one of the best ski mountaineers of our time. Ever since he started ski mountaineering at the age of 18, Brosse loved and dominated the sport and his program is frightening in both quality and intensity. Brosse has been crowned world champion three times in three different disciplines: in 2006 he won team gold, in 2004 the team relay, while in 2002 he was crowned individual champion. In 2001, he won the European team championship with Pierre Gignoux, while in 1999 he was crowned French champion with Patrice Bret. In addition, Brosse has won the Tour de France equivalent of ski mountaineering – the Pierra Menta – three times: in 2001, 2005 and 2006. While in 2005, with Patrick Blanc and Guido Giacomelli, he won the ski mountaineering university races, namely the prestigious Mezzalama Trophy. To which must also be added his two victories, in 2004 and 2006, of the legendary Swiss competition Patrouille des Glaciers.
But Brosse was not only distinguished by his numerous victories in the most prestigious competitions in the world. Brosse was actually a complete ski mountaineer who knew how to combine being a superbly fast athlete with the creativity to explore the limits. Brosse had set the Chamonix speed record at the top of Mont Blanc and returned in 2007 with Pierre Gignoux in 5 hours 15 minutes and 47 seconds, while with Lionel Bonnel he stopped the stopwatch after 21 hours 11 minutes after finishing the Classic Haute Route Chamonix – Zermatt. Brosse’s approach to new goals was total. On Saturday morning, however, everything suddenly came to a halt. Stopped, forever, this last ski which should have been the first step of his plan to cross “some of the most spectacular mountains in the world like Mount Elbrus, Matterhorn, Aconcagua, Mount McKinley, Everest, in as soon as possible”.
StÃ©phane Brosse left a big void. We would like to remember him with the words of the French Minister of Sports, Youth and Education: âStÃ©phane was an exceptional athlete and man. His love for the mountains and his sport command respect. His many accomplishments, notably the Patrouille des Glaciers and the legendary Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Chamonix route, will remain forever etched in our memory. I share the grief of his family and friends, and I offer my deepest condolences to all who knew and loved him. “