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LONDON: MOUNTAIN ESCAPES - accounts of rescue from the brink of death

  • Royal Geographical Society 1 Kensington Gore London SW7 2AR United Kingdom (map)

‘The quest for adventure and experience only found in high places and wide spaces lurks in our genes and it has been so since man first ventured from the security of his cave’. So wrote the mountaineer - and mountain rescuer - Hamish McInnes, also acknowledging that the most safety conscious, organised and experienced mountaineer can suddenly find himself caught up in a rogue avalanche, rockfall or a blizzard.  

The twin peaks of Mount Kenya soar above the African savannah. Two young Austrian doctors, Oswald Oelz and Gert Judmaier felt ecstatic when they reached the main summit Batian [5,199m] by the hard North Face in 1970. Traversing along the summit ridge they came to Shipton's Notch, a point from which they could rappel down the face. Gerd was holding onto a big rock block as he peered down, whilst Oswald fixing an of their survival and Gerd's rescue is nothing short of extraordinary. 

In a rare public appearance, Clive Rowland will describe his part in the rescue of Doug Scott and Chris Bonington off the Ogre [Baintha Brakk 7,825m] in the Karakorum mountains of Pakistan in 1977. After making the first ascent, Doug and Chris began their descent from the summit in the dark. Doug then broke both his legs just above the ankles, losing his spectacles and ice axe in the process. Chris later broke his ribs shooting off the end of a rope and developed pneumonia. The mountain remained unclimbed for a further 24 years. This is a story of self-reliance and selfless team work. With Doug Scott and Paul Braithwaite. 

Simon Yates will talk about how he felt rescuing his climbing partner Joe Simpson on one of the highest unclimbed mountain walls of Peru, the West Face of the Siule Grande [6,360m] in 1985. Joe's own account of the adventure was told in his book Touching The Void and later turned into the acclaimed docu-drama film of the same name. 

The evening is in aid of Community Action Nepal www.canepal.org.uk. There will be a short update and video about the work of the charity before the talks. There will be a cash bar under the dinosaurs and sale of Nepalese goods and greetings cards before the talk and during the interval. CAN will also benefit from the traditional auction of signed framed mountaineering prints at the close of the interval. Doug will sign his books and posters. 

There will be a Q&A with the speakers at the close of the evening. 

Date: Thursday 21st November from 7.00 – 10.30 pm (doors open 6.00 pm).

Venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR

Tickets: £25 each. For further information contact: Susie Conning e. conningsusie@gmail.com / m. 07968 855448.

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