Saturday 4 June 2011

Meeting the Legend - Sir Chris Bonington

Yesterday I met the legendary mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington. I got to know that he is coming to our campus couple of months back and since then I was eagerly waiting to meet him. When he arrived on the campus he pleasantly surprised me by saying – so you are the mountaineer here.

With Sir Chris Bonington

Later in the evening he gave a public lecture at Taj Ambassador on “Everest – Peak of Achievement”. The lecture was based on Sir Chris’s experiences as a member of the Norwegian Everest Expedition’s successful ascent of Everest in 1985 to illustrate leadership, teamwork and motivation.

Sir Chris Bonington's lecture on Everest A Peak of Achievement

After the lecture over drinks we discussed some other climbers also like Jon Krakauer, Anatoli Boukreev and others. Another bonus was meeting his co-climber friend Dr Charles Clarke who is an accomplished mountaineer and has written several books on medicine – more specifically on high altitude medicines. He was the medical officer in two of Bonington’s Everest expeditions - 1975 Everest SW Face and 1982 Everest, NE Ridge, Tibet.

With Sir Chris Bonington and Dr Charles Clarke

Britain's best known mountaineer, Sir Chris Bonington has led and been on 19 Himalayan expeditions, including 4 to Everest which he climbed in 1985 at the age of fifty, and has made many first ascents in the Alps and greater ranges of the world.

His most important climbs are:

1st ascent Annapurna II (26,041 ft) 1960
1st ascent Nuptse (25,850 ft) 1961
1st ascent Central Pillar of Freney 1961
1st ascent Central Tower of Paine (8760 ft), Patagonia 1963
1st ascent Old Man of Hoy 1966
Leader of successful Annapurna South Face Expedition 1970
1st ascent Brammah (21,030 ft) 1973
1st ascent Changabang (22,520 ft) 1974
Leader of successful Everest South West Face Expedition 1975
1st ascent, the Ogre (23,900 ft)1977
1st ascent Mount Kongur, Western Xinjiang, China (25,325 ft) 1981
1st ascent Shivling West (21,250 ft) 1983
1st ascent West Ridge, Panch Chuli II, Kumaon Himalaya, India, 1992
1st ascent The Needle, Greenland 1993
1st ascent Rangrik Rang (21,499 ft), in the Kinnaur Himalaya, India 1994
1st ascent Drangnag Ri (22,312 ft) in the Rolwaling Himal, Nepal 1995
1996 Reconnaissance Expedition to Sepu Kangri (6956m) in Tibet
Leader of 1997 British Expedition to make the first attempt on Sepu Kangri
Leader of 1998 British Expedition to Sepu Kangri
1st ascent Danga (24,776 ft) in Nepal in 2000

He has got several awards: Knighthood, CVO,CBE, Hon. DSc, Sheffield, Hon. MA, Salford, Hon. DSc., Lancaster, Hon,. Fellow, Lancashire Polytechnic, Hon. DCL University of Northumbria, Founders Medal Royal Geographical Society, Lawrence of Arabia Medal of the Royal Asian Society, Livingstone medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society

Sir Bonington has authored of 15 books; he has presented and appeared in many television programmes. His books are: I Chose to Climb (autobiography, 1966), Annapurna South Face (1971), The Next Horizon (autobiography, 1973), Everest South West Face (1973), Changabang, Everest the Hard Way (1976), Quest for Adventure (1981), Kongur - China's Elusive Summit (1982), Everest - The Unclimbed Ridge (with Dr Charles Clarke, 1983), The Everest Years (1986), Mountaineer - Thirty Years of Climbing on the World's Great Peaks (1989), The Climbers (1992), Sea, Ice and Rock (1992), Great Climbs (1994), Tibet's Secret Mountain (with Dr Charles Clarke, 1999), Boundless Horizons ( 2000), Chris Bonington's Everest (2002), Everest Expeditions (2003).