First in the Himalaya RGS London

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.

Kurt Diemberger, the legendary Austrian climber now in his eighth decade, headlines an exceptional line up of Himalayan pioneers at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, London on Wednesday 20th November telling of  triumphs and tragedies in their quests to be the  first on the summits of the world’s highest mountains.

Diemberger is the only person alive today to have made first ascents of two of the world’s 8000m mountains. This special event is a rare  opportunity to hear from one of the pioneers in the golden age in mountaineering.

In 1957 he climbed Broad Peak (8047m) with Herman Buhl and in 1960 Dhaulagiri (8172m) with a Swiss team, both without using bottled oxygen. Uniquely, Diemberger is joined by his daughter Hildegard Diemberger, a Tibetanologist at Cambridge University, who will be exploring the spiritual and sacred significance of the Himalaya.

The event organiser Doug Scott commented “I am delighted that Kurt will be speaking at this year’s event. Now in his 80s, his passion for the mountains still burns bright and the opportunity to hear from one of the Himalaya’s great pioneers is a rare treat”.

Supporting Diemberger are Robert Schauer whose celebrated route on the West Face (Shining Wall) of Gasherbrum IV in 1985 has still not been repeated and Doug Scott who made the first ascent of Shishapangma South West Face in 1984. Bringing the history of Himalayan first ascents right up to date are Sandy Allan who in 2012 made the epic 18 day  first traverse of the unclimbed 13km Mazeno Ridge of Nanga Parbat and Mick Fowler awarded a Piolet d’Or for his first ascent of the Prow of Shiva in 2013.

Doug Scott added “The thrill of the uncertainty as to the outcome of a climb is something all true adventurers relish and is common to all the speakers at this celebration whether their climb was 50 years ago or this year.”

Supporting guests are long distance trekker Gerda Maria Pauler speaking of  her 1700km journey across the Great Himalaya Trail and host John Porter.

The event will raise funds for the charity Community Action Nepal and  features a charity auction of mountain prints signed by Reinhold Messner, Sir Chris Bonington, Tom Hornbein, Walter Bonatti and other legendary  mountaineers.

Community Action Nepal (CAN) was set up by Doug Scott CBE, the first Briton to climb Everest, as a way “for climbers to give something back to the country in which they lived their mountain dreams”. It seeks to improve education, extend health and dental care, reverse the depopulation of remote villages, strengthen  community based culture and improve the welfare of mountain porters. Doug Scott commented “By supporting ‘First in the Himalaya’ you will help to make a real difference to the lives of the Himalaya mountain people”.

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