K2: Touching the Sky – a film review

K2: Touching the Sky – a film review

There are not many films about mountaineering that tackle questions about risk and death by trying to understand rather than by being evasive or dismissive. It’s a dark and poignant film, but it’s also thought-provoking and worth watching for its interesting characters.

Read more

Why The Economist thinks Mount Everest is so dangerous

Why The Economist thinks Mount Everest is so dangerous

Last week The Economist published an article about why Everest is dangerous, without mentioning avalanches, rockfall, crevasses, precipitous terrain, oxygen deprivation, altitude sickness, exhaustion, exposure, extreme temperatures, frostbite, storms or murderous jetstream winds.

Read more

An early history of the 8000m peaks: the Sherpa contribution

An early history of the 8000m peaks: the Sherpa contribution

The early history of the 8000m peaks has traditionally been seen as a competition between Europeans and Americans to become the first nation to climb one, but the Sherpa contribution should never be forgotten.

Read more

My review of Sherpa – Trouble on Everest

My review of Sherpa – Trouble on Everest

I expect not too many people have found themselves in a movie theatre watching a two-hour film about a real life drama for which they have been an eyewitness. In December I had that experience for the first, and perhaps the only, time in my life.

Read more

Everest the Movie: my review of the Hollywood blockbuster

Everest the Movie: my review of the Hollywood blockbuster

They’ve just released a big-budget film about the 1996 Everest tragedy, which I went to see at the BFI IMAX in London earlier this week. I was expecting to hate it, but although I had some reservations, I ended up really enjoying it.

Read more

Sunshine and optimism in the High Pamirs: my attempt on Peak Lenin

Sunshine and optimism in the High Pamirs: my attempt on Peak Lenin

If I’d known about the climbing history of 7134m Peak Lenin, then I might have thought twice about going there. But if I’m lucky I will have good weather and reach the summit, and if I don’t I’m sure I will return home with many happy memories.

Read more

Is disaster reporting becoming too violent?

Is disaster reporting becoming too violent?

After two major tragedies on Everest in the last two years, which generated worldwide media interest, I have found myself reading increasingly violent reports, with explicit descriptions of injuries and upsetting photographs.

Read more

Don’t be fooled by disaster porn

Don’t be fooled by disaster porn

Since Jon Krakauer’s seminal disaster porn classic Into Thin Air came out in 1997 publishers have flocked to release books about mountaineering disasters, but every time I see a new book like this I can’t help wishing they had never been published. Why? For me there are two reasons.

Read more

Why most books about Everest are irrelevant (but not all of them)

Why most books about Everest are irrelevant (but not all of them)

If you type the word Everest into the books category on Amazon.com, here’s what you get: 4 teen novels about a group of backstabbing teenagers competing to become the youngest person to climb Everest 1 worst-case scenario teen adventure book

Read more

In defence of Manaslu (and commercial mountaineering)

In defence of Manaslu (and commercial mountaineering)

It’s not always wise or worthwhile to respond to a rant, but occasionally something you hold dear is attacked so mercilessly that you can’t help yourself. There’s been quite a lot of nonsense published about last month’s avalanche on Manaslu,

Read more