Day 1: 10 February 1980. There are things I’ve forgotten and things I’ll never forget. I’ve forgotten which station we got off the train (was it Alpiglen or Kleine Scheidegg?) yet I remember the loaded expression on Roger’s face when he asked, ‘Ready?’. I’ve forgotten the strain of the straps cutting into our shoulders with … More The North Face of the Eiger: Days 1-3
‘Ready?’ asked Roger as the Eiger came into view. We faced each other in the train carriage and our eyes met. It was too late to say no, too presumptuous to say yes, so I just stared back at him and smiled. Forty years ago this month Roger Mear and I climbed the North Face … More Eiger Diary
Pasang Karma Sherpa was one of sixteen Sherpas who were buried alive in the Khumbu Icefall in April 2014. He was working for Jagged Globe when he, and about ninety other Sherpas working for numerous commercial expeditions, were forced to wait while a ladder bridge was repaired. It was the worst possible moment for the … More Supper in the Shadow of the Avalanche
Elizabeth Hawley passed away on 26 January 2017. Below is an extract from my forthcoming book about the commercialisation of Everest, posted as a tribute to the great lady: Elizabeth Hawley had never been near a mountain, yet she was a portal to my Himalayan past as much as any other. I was interrogated … More An hour with Elizabeth Hawley (1923 – 2018)
In 1980, Roger Mear and I made the first ascent of the East Face of Mt Huntington in Alaska. Our base camp was next to the mountain’s fearsome north face, which had been climbed two years earlier by Jack Roberts and Simon McCartney. Constantly swept by avalanches, their route looked so difficult and dangerous that … More The Bond between two stories.
I was sure Madonna was at the 1994 Brit Awards. I watched all the acts from the best seat in the house, with nothing but a trench crammed with young writhing bodies between me and the stage, and Madonna’s was the most memorable. When she started to sing and the wind blew from beneath her lifting her long … More Beware tricks of memory that trip up memoir.