Reference Number:
GB 3075 CEV
Papers of Sir Charles Evans
1 folder
Creator Name 1:
Evans | Sir Robert Charles
Creator Name 2:
McCandless | Anne
Biog/Admin History:
Sir Robert Charles Evans was an only child, born 19th October 1918, several months after his father, Mr R C Evans, had been killed in WWI. He spoke only Welsh until the age of six before learning English at school. He was educated at a public school in Shrewsbury and from 1936 studied medicine at University College Oxford, qualifying in 1942. Whilst there he was a member of the Oxford University Mountaineering Club and experienced his first Alpine season in 1939. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1943, being posted to India and Burma. He was demobilised in 1946 and moved to Liverpool to train as a neurosurgeon, joining the Wayfarers Club to pursue climbing. He was elected to the Alpine Club in 1948 and elected a FRCS in 1949. Also in 1949, during his second Alpine season, Evans climbing partner was killed whilst on Mont Blanc. It was following this event that Evans came to meet H W Tilman and they subsequently attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, Annapurna II. Tilman recommended Evans to Shipton for inclusion in the forthcoming Mount Everest Expedition. In 1952 Evans, and other members of the Everest team, made an attempt on Cho Oyu, this was a training expedition prior to attempting Mount Everest.

In 1953 the expedition to Mount Everest was successful. Evans, with Tom Bourdillon, had made the first ascent of the South Summit three days prior to this. Unfortunately, Charles' closed circuit oxygen set was not working properly, so the pair had to return to the South Col. In 1955 Evans lead the party which successfully summited the SW face of Kangchenjunga. It was this expedition which proved him to be a great leader. As a result, he was awarded the Founder's Gold Medal by the Royal Geographical Society in 1956.

In 1957 Evans climbed Annapurna IV, following another unsuccessful attempt on Annapurna II. He married a notable climber, Denise Morin, who became the first female president of the Alpine Club. They had three sons, all who enjoy mountaineering. He also served as a member of the Management Committee of the National Mountaineering Centre at Plas Y Brenin, 1958-1978.

Charles held an honorary Doctorate from the University of Wales and in 1959 he became Principal of the University College of North Wales, Bangor. It was at this time that Charles was finally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, following years of neurological symptoms.

The development of MS reduced his ability to walk, confining him to a wheelchair, so he focussed his energies on sailing. Evans served as President of the Alpine Club, 1967-1970. He was knighted in 1970 for his professional achievements at the University, finally retiring in 1984. He published three books, Kangchenjunga, the Untrodden Peak, Eye on Everest and On Climbing. He died of prostate cancer on 4th December 1995.
Archival History:
The material had been in the possession of Dr. Anne McCandless, a fellow medical student who was rooming in Solna, the same house in Liverpool as Evans when he was appointed as a surgical registrar to the Northern Hospital. Bequeathed to her great nephew following Dr. McCandless' death.
Acquisition Source:
Donated by the great-nephew of Dr. McCandless in 2004.
Accession Number:
Scope and Content:
One folder of letters written by Sir Charles Evans and his mother, Edith Evans, to Dr. Anne McCandless. Also includes some photographs, press cuttings and a handwritten memoir of Sir Charles by Dr. McCandless.
Original order as arranged by Dr. Anne McCandless in reference to the memoir she had written.
Access Conditions:
This collection is open for consultation. Readers are advised to contact the Mountain Heritage Trust in advance of their visit in order to make an appointment.
Finding Aids:
Related Material:
Papers held at Royal Geographical Society, ref: GB 402 RCE, also holds images and artefacts relating to expeditions to Mount Everest and Kangchenjunga.
Publication Note:
Sketches produced can be viewed in Eye on Everest.
Description compiled by Maxine Willett, Archivist
Access Points:
Evans, Sir Robert Charles (1918-1995)
Everest, Mount
McCandless, Dr Anne
Related Entities:
Evans, Sir Robert Charles (1918-1995)
2007-01-29 00:00:00
M Willett