August 17, 2022 7.00 pm This story is over 22 months old

80-year-old mountain climber took own life after stopping cancer treatment

An inquest outlined the details of his death

An 80-year-old East Lindsey man, who once managed the most dangerous mountain climb in the world, took his own life after stopping treatment for prostate cancer.

Herbert Seear, known as Tony, scaled 8,091m Annapurna in Nepal – the tenth highest mountain and with a fatality rate of around one in three – because he felt “Everest was for tourists”, an inquest into his death heard.

A family statement read to the hearing in Lincoln today (Wednesday) said: “He was fascinated by anything to do with Antarctic exploration, especially Ernest Shackleston, whom he idolised.

“He would have been thrilled by the news that Shackleston’s ship Endurance had been found at the bottom of the Weddell Sea in such a good state of preservation after so many years.”

“Kind and generous” Mr Seear, a former medic who served in the Royal Navy and worked on oil rigs in Dubai, was described as “practical, resourceful and clever” but lost confidence in his abilities, such as DIY, in later life.

“He was a witty and congenial host but tired quickly of company, especially if the company coincided with the rugby,” his family said wryly.

The hearing was told that Mr Seear was prone to having dark moods, sometimes lasting for several days and often without revealing to his loved ones what had triggered them.

On the night before he died on February 22 this year, he had asked his family about their wishes in the event of their passing. It was said that he seemed unsatisfied with the outcome and went on to have a poor night’s sleep, waking in a dark mood.

Later in the day, his partner found what she took to be a suicide note and a search for Mr Seear was undertaken by police.

His body was found in his car in a remote place about a mile from his home in Church Lane, Marshchapel.

Mr Seear had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017 and had stopped radiotherapy treatment because of the side effects.

He had lived his life and was more likely to die with cancer than of it, he had told his family.

Acting senior corner for Lincolnshire, Paul Smith, concluded that Mr Seear’s death was suicide.