The two things I miss most since moving from London to the Cotswolds are live jazz and mountaineering lectures. Imagine my delight then, to learn that Kenton Cool would be giving a lecture about Everest a few fields away from where I live.Read more
History Of Mountaineering
Did George Mallory climb Everest in 1924? I asked ChatGPT for an answer
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
Life and Death on Mt Everest: a rare window into Sherpa culture
A few months ago someone recommended to me a lesser known volume in the Everest canon, written by Sherry B Ortner, an American anthropologist who spent over 30 years studying Sherpa culture, including fieldwork in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal.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
His father, Frank Smythe – biography of a Himalayan legend
It’s been a while since I wrote at length about Frank Smythe, the legendary British mountain explorer who was something of a celebrity in the 1930s when he became one of the first people to make a career of climbing,Read more
Is The Last Great Mountain by Mick Conefrey the last great book about Kangchenjunga?
It’s not clear why Kangchenjunga should be considered the last great mountain, but whatever: this book is a comprehensive history of all expeditions up to its first ascent in 1955. I learned a lot from it, and I can thoroughly recommend it, however well acquainted you are with Kangchenjunga’s history.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
Drohmo Ri: The Movie
It’s almost the first anniversary of the day Edita and I climbed Drohmo Ri in the Kangchenjunga region of Nepal, and I thought I’d celebrate the occasion with this entertaining video.Read more
Humboldt and Boussingault on Chimborazo: how high did they climb?
How high Humboldt and Boussingault climbed on Chimborazo has been the subject of much debate. When Edward Whymper made the first ascent in 1880, he was baffled by their descriptions of the climb. So what happened, and how high did they really get?Read more
Where are the humorous mountaineering books?
Mountain literature isn’t devoid of humour, but generally speaking, comedy takes second place to heroics in mountain writing. But I know there must be some laugh-out-loud funny, two or three jokes a page mountaineering books out there. If you know of any, then I’d like to hear about them.Read more