The first ascent of the Southwest Face of Everest

The first ascent of the Southwest Face of Everest

On 24 September 1975, Doug Scott and Dougal Haston became the first two Brits to reach the summit of Everest, by a new route on the Southwest Face. Forty years later, on 24 September 2015, I had the privilege of hearing all about it from members of their team.

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Everest’s deadliest day – debating Everest’s future

Everest’s deadliest day – debating Everest’s future

Everest’s Deadliest Day was the title of a debate at the RGS in London last week, about the April avalanche and what it meant for the future of Himalayan climbing and the economy of Nepal. Here is my account and thoughts about the event.

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Leo Houlding does his bit for the Sherpas

Leo Houlding does his bit for the Sherpas

Last week one of Britain’s top rock climbers did a lecture at the RGS in London. Rock climbing isn’t generally my thing, but this talk had an Everest theme, and one of its aims was to raise money for the families of the Sherpas who died in the 18 April avalanche.

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Ueli Steck’s guide to the 8000m peaks

Ueli Steck’s guide to the 8000m peaks

A short while ago I attended a lecture by the Swiss climber Ueli Steck, known affectionately as the Swiss Machine, and later wrote about how ridiculous his mountaineering career has been. Last week I went to see him again after he had done something even more ridiculous.

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How not to do a mountaineering presentation

How not to do a mountaineering presentation

Climbing has as much in common with public speaking as it does with hosting a dinner party. I’ve seen some great lectures by mountaineering legends over the years, but last week I attended a lecture that was about as slick as a mountaineer’s chin after two weeks in an ice cave.

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Sir Chris Bonington’s life in 90 minutes

Sir Chris Bonington’s life in 90 minutes

Britain’s greatest living mountaineer is currently touring the country with a series of lectures about his life, and I was lucky enough to see one of them. An important World Cup qualifier was taking place that evening, but if Chris Bonington’s life were a football match it would be a 22 goal thriller which ended 11 goals all and went into extra time.

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Everest comes to London: celebrating the 1953 Everest expedition

Everest comes to London: celebrating the 1953 Everest expedition

Although I’ve lived here for 17 years, I’ve never been a big one for taking advantage of London’s art galleries and exhibitions. Last weekend was an exception because it had a mountaineering theme. I spent the afternoon at two exhibitions celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest.

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Everest by the Venables Direct Route

Everest by the Venables Direct Route

In 1988 a ragtag quartet of mountaineers from the USA, Canada and the UK made one of Everest’s most intrepid ascents, and last Thursday I had the good fortune of attending a lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London celebrating the 25th anniversary of their climb.

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Touching Doug Scott’s void: a crawl down The Ogre

Touching Doug Scott’s void: a crawl down The Ogre

No, the title of this post is not a euphemism, but a reference to the similarities between one of the great mountaineering survival stories, Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void, and another less well-known survival story which happened in the Pakistan

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