There’s been a lot of hype about the new chatbot ChatGPT. If it can impersonate a real person, then it occurred to me that I could interview George Mallory and find out if he actually reached the summit of Everest in 1924. So I did, and here’s what happened.Read more
If Reinhold Messner wasn’t the first person to climb all the 8,000m peaks, who was?
There have been rumours in the mountaineering world for a few years now that all the records about ascents of the world’s fourteen 8,000m peaks might need to be rewritten, including whether the great Reinhold Messner was first to climb them all.Read more
Is the first winter ascent of K2 a turning point for Sherpa mountaineers?
It’s not very often that the ascent of an 8,000m peak makes international news headlines, but earlier this month something rather special happened when a team of 10 Nepali climbers stood on the summit of K2.Read more
What was Jan Morris’s secret code to say that Everest had been climbed?
In 1953, Jan Morris was the Times correspondent entrusted with sending the exclusive news that Everest had been climbed for the very first time. With rival journalists snooping around the Everest region, she decided to invent a secret code.Read more
If you climb a peak that collapses in an earthquake, did you still climb it?
On 7 August, an earthquake in the Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho, caused a famous rock feature known as Baron Spire, affectionately known as Old Smoothie, to collapse. It also caused a man to shoot a video with the most entertaining commentary ever recorded.Read more
Review: Touching the Void, on stage in London’s West End
There aren’t many characters in Joe Simpson’s book Touching the Void, and the main one spends most of the story entirely alone, contemplating existence as he crawls for three days along a glacier. How on earth were they going to make a stage version of this?Read more
Nirmal Purja’s ascent of all fourteen 8,000m peaks: why is it controversial?
Last week was one of those weeks when a mountaineering story is so big that it makes it into the popular press. On the face of it, it was a straightforward story of someone smashing a record to smithereens. But if you dig a little deeper, there is another side to it.Read more
Did Edward Whymper make the first ascent of Carihuairazo?
Nobody knows if Edward Whymper made the first ascent of Carihuairazo in 1880. Nor was Whymper very sure himself. He made an ascent of a summit, but whether it was the main one is open to debate. In this post I examine the evidence.Read more
Banished to Room 101: the Inaccessible Pinnacle
If you asked a group of UK hill walkers to nominate items for Room 101, some of them might suggest the Inaccessible Pinnacle, a narrow shark’s fin of rock that crowns the summit of Sgurr Dearg, a 978m mountain on the Isle of Skye in north-west Scotland.Read more
The first ever successful Everesting of Everest
A Chinese cyclist has recently completed the first ever Everesting – where a cyclist repeatedly climbs the same hill until they’ve biked the height of Everest – on the side of Everest itself. It’s a story I first reported on a few months earlier.Read more