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Swiss Mountaineer Loretan Dies in Climbing Accident

Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan, (File)

Police in Switzerland said Friday that famed Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan has fallen to his death in a climbing accident on his birthday.

The 52-year-old Loretan died Thursday while guiding a client up the summit ridge of the Gruenhorn in the Bernese Alps. They were at a height of 3,800 meters when, for unknown reasons, the two men fell around 200 meters. Loretan died at the scene, while his companion was flown to a hospital in serious condition.

The Swiss climber was one of just three men to scale all 14 of the world's peaks rising above 8,000 meters, completing the feat at the age of 36. Loretan was also well known for his 1986 nighttime ascent of Mount Everest without using bottled oxygen, in just 40 hours.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.