Bonatti, Walter

Bonatti, Walter,

1930–2011, Italian mountain climber. He became famous for such feats as the first climb (1951) of Grand Capucin in the Mont BlancMont Blanc
, Alpine massif, on the French-Italian border, SE of Geneva. One of its several peaks, also called Mont Blanc (15,771 ft/4,807 m), is the highest peak in France and the second highest in Europe.
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 massif and the ascent (1958) of Gasherbrum IV in the Karakorum; other landmarks include solo ascents of the Petit Dru in the Alps (1955) and of the MatterhornMatterhorn
, Fr. Mont Cervin, Ital. Monte Cervino, peak, c.14,700 ft (4,480 m) high, in the Pennine Alps, on the Swiss-Italian border, near Zermatt. Its distinctive pyramidal peak was formed by the enlargement of several cirques.
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's north face in winter (1965). His triumphs were overshadowed by the controversial first ascent (1954) of K2K2
or Mount Godwin-Austen,
peak, 28,251 ft (8,611 m) high, in the Karakorum range, N Kashmir, on the China-Pakistan border; second highest peak in the world. It was discovered and measured by the Survey of India in 1856, and first named for English topographer Henry
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, during which Bonatti was denied the summit and the climbers accused one another of wrongdoing. Bonatti's claims were later largely substantiated by summitting climber Lino Lacedelli's K2: The Price of Conquest (2004, tr. 2006). Among Bonatti's books are On the Heights (tr. 1964), Great Days (1971, tr. 1974), and The Magic of Mont Blanc (tr. 1985).


See his autobiography (tr. 2001).