Entity Type:
Slingsby, William Cecil (1849-1929)
Slingsby, William Cecil (1849-1929)
Yorkshire squire and textile magnet Slingsby had the time and money to travel. Beginning with exploring his local dales of Craven, scrambling on the limestone cliffs and exploring the caves below, he became enamored of adventurous activities, a passion which never left him. He opened up the mountains of Scandinavia to the sound of ringing ice axes and the crunch of nailed boots and adopting the locals’ habit of travelling about on wooden planks (he is sometimes credited as being one of the people who helped infect the alps with skiing). Dividing his summers between the Alps and Norway made many hard first ascents. Domestically, Slingsby was very active, and in the Lakes several eponymously named climbs mark his passage. In Norway he is best known for the exploration of the Jotunheimen where he made many fine ascents. When his reputation as a climber came under fire from some jealous local mountaineers he took a local girl ‘dressed in her Sunday best’ to the top of a mountain by one of their routes which they claimed was the hardest ascent in Norway. ‘We reached the summit, raised a loud cheer, and put Marie on the top of the little cairn, and very bonny she looked in her picturesque costume.’ He also added they hadn’t bothered with a rope. That shut his detractors up.
Standout climbs: Lake District: Slingsby’s Chimney, Scafell; Eagle’s Nest Ridge, Gable (2nd on rope). Norway: many first ascents of mountains including the formidable Skagastolstind (guides refused to continue and he soloed to summit). Alps: 1st ascent of the Requin; spirited attempt on the advanced North Face of the Plan.
Further reading: The First Tigers, Alan Hankinson. Hale, 1972; A Century on the Crags, Alan Hankinson, 1986; Norway, the Northern Playground, Cecil Slingsby, 1904.
Biographical information is kindly supplied by Colin Wells.
2006-08-06 00:00:00
Maxine Willett
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Slingsby, William Cecil (1849-1929)
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West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds