Italian climber Bonatti dies at 81

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Associated Press

Posted on September 14, 2011 at 8:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 14 at 8:33 AM

ROME (AP) — Walter Bonatti, an Italian climber who won belated recognition for his contribution for the first ascent to the summit of K2, the world's second-highest peak, has died at age 81.

His editor Baldini Castoldi Dalai said Bonatti, who was also a journalist, died suddenly from an undisclosed illness.

Bonatti was involved in numerous famous climbs in the 1950s and 60s, but the controversy with fellow climbers Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli over the ascent up Pakistan's K-2 in 1954 went on for years.

It wasn't until 2008 that the Italian Alpine Club confirmed Bonatti's version, declaring that Bonatti and his fellow support climber Amir Mahdi had a decisive and essential role in the success of the 1954 expedition.

Bonatti is survived by his widow, Rossana Podesta.

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