Henry Patrice Marie, Count Russell-Killough, better known as Henry Russell, was one of the pioneers in the conquest of the Pyrenees.
Born in 1834 in Toulouse, died in 1909 in Biarritz, his father was Irish and his mother Gers.
At the age of 23, he undertook his first faraway trip to North America.
In 1858, from Barèges in the Hautes Pyrénées, he set out to climb the peaks of Néouvielle, Ardiden and Mont Perdu.
Alone, or with his guides, he made countless ascents, achieving about thirty firsts.
He lives off his personal fortune and the income from his bank investments.
His passion became the Vignemale, which he climbed for the first time on 14 September 1861 with a guide.
On 19 August 1864, in Gavarnie, he founded with three other Pyrenean climbers the first mountaineers' society: the Ramond society.
In 1868 he carried out the first winter.
It was the first great winter ascent in Europe.
In August 1880, he spent a night under the stars at the summit of the Pique-Longue where it was very cold and it was then that he imagined the construction of caves, as he thought that any other construction would disfigure the mountain.
On August 1, 1882, the first cave was completed; it was the Russell Villa, located at an altitude of 3,205 m. The first cave was completed on August 1, 1882.
He lived in his cave for three days.
On August 12, 1884, he had it and the Vignemale blessed.
Six caves will be fitted out and decorated with carpets and other strange accessories at this altitude.
On 5 December 1888, he asked the prefect of the Hautes-Pyrénées to grant him the concession of the Vignemale.
The annual rental was fixed at 1 franc over 99 years and began in January 1889.
One hundred years later, in 1989, the Vignemale returned to the public domain.
It climbs for the thirty-third and last time to the summit of the Vignemale on August 8th 1904.
He died in 1909. He is buried in the Pau cemetery.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
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