Entity Type:
Rouse, Al (1951-1986)
Rouse, Al  (1951-1986)
Tousle-haired, bespectacled and with a penchant for mathematics, early photos of Rouse project a passing resemblance to the young Bill Gates. Unlike the King of the Geeks, however, Rouse was far from dull and he was no good at making money. He did appear to share a desire for world domination in his particular field however, and he announced his arrival in the world of climbing in 1970 with a solo of Cloggy’s Extreme route The Boldest - a route which was then considered one of the hardest around. His subsequent legacy of climbing achievements is scattered generously across the geography of climbing Europe, and across several styles; from hard grit in the Peak, serious ice climbs on Ben Nevis and difficult Alpine. Rouse was one of the leading lights of the resurgent 70s British alpine climbing scene, exercising both his indefatigable party energy and an extraordinary ability in the mountains over many seasons. Rouse’s drive led him into the big mountains, pioneering the modern Alpine-style approach on technical objectives in the Andes, while he instigated the highly influential Alpine-style ascent of Jannu in eastern Nepal. Following this, Rouse entered into a never-ending cycle of fund-raising, organising and implementing expeditions. The high-risk mountaineering Rouse was pursuing took a terrible toll on his contemporaries and by the 80s many of his friends had been killed. Nevertheless, Rouse continued to climb hard, maintaining his rock climbing form despite the arduous expeditions and he became an influential guru to both rock climbers and mountaineers in the Sheffield orbit such as Johnny Dawes and Joe Simpson. The risks caught up with Rouse in 1986 when, after becoming the first Briton to summit K2, he was trapped by storm near the top of the mountain and perished with several other prominent international climbers.
Standout climbs: The Boldest (solo) Clogwyn du’r Arddu, 2nd ascent of Orion Face Direct, Ben Nevis, 1st winter ascent of Route 2 and Left Edge Route, Ben Nevis, 1st winter ascent of Aiguille des Pelerins, 1st alpine-style ascent of Jannu, Nepal, 1st ascent of North Face of Nuptse, nepal, 1st ascent Mount Kongur, China, 1st British ascent of K2.
Most impressive achievement (in his own view): spending an entire winter season in Chamonix without missing a night in the Bar National!
Further reading: Alan Rouse, a mountaineer’s life. Geoff Birtles (editor), Unwin, 1987
Biographical information is kindly supplied by Colin Wells.
2006-08-06 00:00:00
Maxine Willett