Cutting the rope

As one of the most iconic mountaineers of the 1970s, the Mountain Heritage Trust was delighted to finally bring Pete Boardman’s almost 10,000 strong slide collection under one roof. Working with the Boardman family and the Chris Bonington Picture Library, the extensive slide collection was donated to the Trust in 2017, with Pete’s papers and personal material following in 2018. All this is now stored in our archive at the Blencathra Field Studies Centre.

Two of our volunteers, Sue and Sheila, began cataloguing the slides in February 2018 and discovered just how extensive the collection is. Beginning in 1965 until Pete’s death on Everest in 1982, the slides document many of his high profile expeditions to the greater ranges; Hindu Kush in 1972, the South West Face of Everest in 1975, Changabang in 1976, K2 in 1978, Kangchenjunga in 1979, Kongur in 1981 and Everest in 1982. The slides are a unique insight in to one of the most significant periods in British mountaineering history, at a time when new lightweight approaches to the Greater Ranges were being pioneered. Yet as well as these international expeditions, the images are a unique snapshot of 1970s climbing life, with UK crags such as the Wye Valley and Alpine trips in 1974 and 1977; as well as the Caucaus, Tatras, Corsica and Australia all pictured. Access to the collection can be requested by getting in touch through the website.

The Mountain Heritage Trust would like to extend their sincere thanks to both the Boardman family and our volunteers for ensuring that this valuable archive is preserved for the years ahead. With the slides organised, work is now beginning on re-boxing the slides in specialist archive boxes and our thanks go to the Boardman Tasker Charitable Trust who have paid for these.

It seems the over dramatisation of climbing events struck a chord with the 1953 Everest expedition deputy leader, Sir Charles Evans.  In his “Eye on Everest” sketchbook, published in 1955, Evans features a sketch of the film director, shooting footage in and around Helyg, the Climbers Club Hut, wanting to cut the rope to make the film more interesting! I’ve just shared this with Simon Yates who found it rather poignant given the retelling of filming sequences for Touching the Void in his latest book The Wild Within, published March 2012.

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