Friday, March 10, 2017

François Bernat-Salles

François Bernat-Salles, born in 1855 in Gavarnie ( Hautes-Pyrénées  was one of the great mountain guides of the Pyrenees.
Like most inhabitants of the mountain village of Gavarnie, François Bernat-Salles was a modest farmer and shepherd. With the arrival of tourists wishing to explore the mountains, a demand for guides and porters created, which was for many farmers an opportunity to make some extra income. François Bernat-Salles began as a bearer of Célestin Passet . With his strength and his knowledge of the mountain, he became a first class guide.
He worked for prestigious clients: Henry Russell, Roger de Monts, Henri Brulle and Jean Bazillac.
In 1888, he accompanied Roger de Monts and Célestin Passet for the first ascent of the north face of Mont Perdu. This feat earned him a recommendation by Henri Brulle, and the following year he is part of the team Brulle, Bazillac, de Monts & Celestin Passet at the Vignemale . Three days later he did the north face of Mont Perdu.
He ended his life as he had begun as a modest shepherd. He is buried in the cemetery of Gavarnie, in the square of Pyrénéistes.

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