Entity Type:
Evans, Sir Robert Charles (1918-1995)
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 neuro-surgeon, 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 wasn’t 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 wheel-chair, 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 5th December 1995.
2007-01-12 00:00:00
M Willett
Access Points:
Evans, Sir Robert Charles (1918-1995)
Related Items:
B004 : The Ascent of Everest
B037 : Eye on Everest
B241 : Kangchenjunga - the Untrodden Peak