For that reason, he was not among the best-known mountaineers. The first many people had heard of him was when, in early July, an avalanche caused by a toppling ice-block swept him away, with eight others, on Mont Maudit, beside Mont Blanc. He was guiding two clients along a popular route; the way and the weather looked safe. He was travelling light, on what he liked to call “another day in the office”. As no one knew better than himself, there was no perfect safety in mountains. But he would not have been in any other place, for, in Byron’s words, “Where rose the mountains, there to him were friends”.
Canto the Third
XII But soon he knew himself the most unfit 100 Of men to herd with Man; with whom he held Little in common; untaught to submit His thoughts to others, though his soul was quell'd In youth by his own thoughts; still uncompell'd, He would not yield dominion of his mind To spirits against whom his own rebell'd; Proud though in desolation; which could find A life within itself, to breathe without mankind.