Popular French Adventurer in a Coma After Suffering a Fall

42-year old French adventurer Sylvain Tesson is in a coma after suffering a fall while attempting to climb a building last week. The popular writer was in Chamonix at the time of the accident, which occurred last Wednesday. He is said to have fallen about 10 meters, striking his head on the pavement, injuring his brain and several other internal organs in the process. He has been in a medically-induced coma ever since, and his condition is said to be very serious.

Tesson is known for his urban climbing, often scaling buildings without the use of any safety gear. In the past, he has climbed the likes of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. In this incident, he was testing his skills on the chateau that he was staying at in Chamonix when the fall occurred. It is unclear at this time how long he will remain in the coma, or what his chances of a full recovery will be.

A popular figure in his home country, Tesson has had a series of globe-spanning adventures throughout his life, often sharing those experiences with readers through his writings. For instance, he once spent the better part of two years riding around the world on a bicycle. He has also crossed the Himalaya on foot, traveling from Bhutan to Tajikistan.

Later, he would cross the Asian steppe, from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan on horseback, and later would travel from Yakutsk, Siberia to Calcutta, India on foot, tracing the same route used by Sławomir Rawicz to escape a Russian gulag as described in the famous book The Long Walk. More recently, he lived in a cabin along Lake Baikal in Siberia for five months, recounting his adventure in the book The Consolidation of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga.

At the moment, doctor’s say that their hopes for a recovery are guarded. Tesson suffered serious injuries in the fall, and it is too soon to know if he will recover fully, or at all. His family is said to be at his bedside, waiting for an indication of his condition. My thoughts are with them in this time of need, and I wish Sylvain a full recovery.

Thanks to Louis-Philippe Loncke for sharing this story with me.

Kraig Becker