Entity Type:
Shipton, Eric Earle (1907-1977)
Shipton, Eric Earle (1907-1977)
Dashing, dyslexic Shipton was pottering about on a colonial farm in Africa in 1929 when he met down to earth grump Bill Tilman. It should have been a disaster; instead it was a climbing partnership made in heaven. They made an ascent of Mount Kenya and several first ascents of African alps. There was no stopping them after this, and they roamed the length and breadth of the Karakorum and Nepal, bagging peaks, but specialising in monster exploratory glacier journeys. As a result of this activity, Shipton and Tilman are often credited with ‘inventing’ the notion of the lightweight expedition; they were famous for minimum planning and living largely off rice and weevils. It is ironic therefore, that outside of mountaineering circles, Shipton became famous chiefly for his role in leading old-fashioned seige-style military precision assaults on Everest. But Shipton’s heart lay in low-key exploratory mountaineering, and he was never happier than when pushing new ground over unexplored passes and valley systems. It may well be that it was this hippyish lack of enthusiasm for the over-organised expedition which contributed to his being unceremoniously and humiliatingly dumped from leadership of the 1953 Everest trip. Although this was a crushing blow to his pride, it ensured Shipton went on to pursue far more interesting small trips to esoteric Patagonia.

Biographical information is kindly supplied by Colin Wells.
2006-08-06 00:00:00
Maxine Willett
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Shipton, Eric Earle (1907-1977)
Related Entities:
Royal Geographical Society