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The gravestone of Gaston Rébuffat

Gaston Rébuffat (7 May 1921, Marseille – 31 May 1985, Paris) was a French alpinist and mountain guide. The climbing technique gaston was named after him. He was a recipient of France's prestigious Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 1984.



Rébuffat began climbing in the Calanques becoming a mountain guide in 1942. He rose to international prominence in 1950 as one of the four principals of a French expedition during the first ascent of Annapurna, the highest peak then summitted. His most famous mountaineering feat was to be the first man to climb all six of the great north faces of the Alps--the Grandes Jorasses, the Piz Badile, the Petit Dru, the Matterhorn, the Cima Grande di Lavaredo, and the Eiger. His insistence on seeing a climb as an act of harmonious communion with the mountain, not a battle waged against it, seemed radical at the time, though Rébuffat's aesthetic has since won the day. He put up more than 40 new routes in the Alps. A photo of him climbing in the French Alps is one of 116 pictures included as part of the Golden Record on the Voyager Spacecraft.


Known for his lyrical writing and his ability to convey not only the dangers of mountaineering but the pure exaltation of the climb, Rébuffat authored several books. His most famous written work is Etoiles et Tempêtes (Starlight and Storm), first published in French in 1954, and in English in 1956.

  • Starlight and Storm: The Ascent of six great North Faces of the Alps, J.M. Dent, London 1956.
  • Mont Blanc To Everest Thames & Hudson, 1956. Translated from the French Du Mont Blanc a l'Himalaya 1955.
  • Calanques (with Gabriel M. Ollive) Arthaud, Paris 1957.
  • On Ice and Snow and Rock Nicholas Kaye Ltd 1963 translated from the 1959 French Edition published by EGI. ISBN 0-19-519149-8
  • Un Guide Raconte Hachette, Paris, 1964.
  • Men and the Matterhorn Oxford University Press 1967.
  • Between Heaven and Earth (with Pierre Tairraz). Kaye and W, 1970. ISBN 0-7182-0513-8
  • Les Horizons Gagnés Editions Denoël, 1975.
  • La Montagne Est Mon Domaine Éditions Hoëbeke, Paris 1994.
  • The Mont Blanc Massif: The Hundred Finest Routes. Bâton Wicks, 2005. ISBN 1-898573-69-7


Rébuffat produced three colour films depicting himself and others climbing in the Alps. These are a testament to his skill as a climber, and his love of the mountains. Étoiles et Tempêtes won the Grand Prix at the Trento Filmfestival in Italy. Trente.

  • Flammes de Pierres 1953.
  • Étoiles et Tempêtes with Maurice Baquet and Georges Tairraz 1955 90 mins
  • Entre Terre et Ciel with Pierre Tairraz 1960-61 90 mins
  • Les Horizons Gagnés with René Vernadet 1974 90 mins

Rébuffat also was second unit director on the Walt Disney mountain film Third Man on the Mountain.

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