Andre Roch, 96, a Swiss mountaineer and avalanche researcher who attempted to conquer Mt. Everest the year before the successful 1953 British expedition, died Tuesday of undisclosed causes in Geneva.
As part of a Swiss team of climbers, Roch made it to within about 650 feet of the summit of 29,035-foot Mt. Everest.
Roch's team was helped by Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay, who in 1953 made it to the top of Everest with Edmund Hillary.
The Geneva-born Roch trained as an engineer. He became a member of the Swiss Alpine Club in 1928, and made several expeditions to the Himalayas, which he last climbed in 1990 at age 84.
Roch, who was caught in three avalanches during his climbing career, headed Switzerland's federal institute for the study of snow and avalanches for 30 years.